Public Access Questionnaire (public access computer projects)
A National Computers in Education Conference? reported by David Ahl During the 1975 National Computer Conference in Anaheim, a meeting took place which had as its innocent purpose to discuss the overlapping activities of various societies and organizations that have an interest in computers in education. The 30 some odd attendees represented eight societies having a major interest in educational computing and approximately 15 other societies who are on the periphery, but none-the-less have a real interest in the subject. The eight major societies represented were: ADCIS, AEDS, COED (IEEE), NAUCAL, SIGCAI (AERA), SIGCAS (ACM), SIGCUE (ACM), and SIGCSE (ACM). Following some preliminary descriptions of each major group represented, and some of the others too, the attendees got into discussion about some of their overlapping activities (and publications of which there are at least 20 that appear more-or-less regularly!). The dialogue was, to say the least, spirited, even heated and impassioned at times. It lasted well into the wee hours, was resumed at many breakfast counters the next day, and the day after that. Two concrete proposals emerged. The first proposal appeared to be endorsed by the overwhelming majority, that is: 1. To publish in one place an informal annotated guide to societies, groups, and publications involved with computers in education. The word 'informal" was put in because it seemed that people wanted a brief evaluation of each organization, Whole Earth Catalog style, in addition to or even in place of the organization objectives as stated in its constitution or bylaws. To my knowledge it was not decided who would publish this guide. l'd be glad to volunteer to publish the information in Creative Computing in the "Complete Computer Catalog" column or as a separate section or even a separate booklet. On the other hand I do not feel qualified to capsule descriptions of each organization and will depend upon reader submissions for this. The second proposal had a great deal of support, although hardly unanimous. It was: 2. To hold a National Computers in Education Conference. One large faction felt that it was certainly time that we got around to this. After all, if the IFIP can hold a World Computers in Education Conference (Marseilles, Sep 1975), the U.S. certainly should have a national one. Should this be done by AFIPS? Jointly with NEA, NCTM, AASA, etc.? Many questions -- few answers. Another faction felt strongly that small specialized conferences were more productive, promoted more meaningful dialogue, and were certainly more manageable. Organizations, understandably feel strongly about retaining their own individual identity, although one has to wonder whether this may be hampering the bringing about of broad changes and major innovation in the use of computers in education. Again, no answer. Creative Computing solicits comments from readers on these subjects. In future issues we will present a continuing forum on them. *** PUBLIC ACCESS QUESTIONNAIRE by Larry Press I am compiling and maintaining a survey of what people are doing in the way of public access computer projects. This would include projects for community service, education, and recreation. If readers are connected with or know of such projects, please answer the applicable questions below; augment with comments, brochures, or literature; and send to Larry Press, 128 Park Place, Venice, CA 90291. A later issue of Creative Computing will carry the results of this survey. 1. How many public terminals do you have? Are they owned, borrowed, leased, or donated? 2. What CPU do you use? Is your time owned, borrowed, leased, or donated? 3. Is your project supported by a grant, host institution, user payments, or no one? 4. How many hours per week do support public access? Are resource people available during these hours? 5. Do you teach classes in terminal operation, programming, etc.? 6. How many programs in your public access library? 7. Are users permitted to write programs or are they restricted to using library routines? 8. Which, if any, of the following applications do you support? A. Game playing programs for recreation and familiarization with terminal operation and functional characteristics of the system. B. Local data bases with information on, e.g. 1. where people work (car pools) 2. what skills and interests people have 3. consumer information on local stores-prices, complaints, etc. C. How to do it dialogs with reference to local sources of information, people, materials, etc. D. On-line opinion polls (with capability for questions and issues to be raised by citizens) on specific local issues such as a proposed zoning change. E. On-line suggestion and complaints "box". F. Dialogs to guide people in the preparation of forms required by various agencies. G. Para-legal/ombudsman dialogs, such as: 1. How to handle your divorce. 2. How to get building permits. 3. How to interpret warranties on retail goods and services. 4. How to do your own escrow. 5. What are tenants/landlords rights. 6. Detecting discrimination in the granting of credit. 7. Loan payment/interest/term computations. 8. Help locating sources of credit. 9. Income tax preparation. 10. Help in obtaining favorable utility rates. H. Consumer guidance dialogs, e.g., how to buy a used car or appliance, with information on local suppliers, consumer reports, etc. I. Local want ads. J. Dialog to route people to agencies, e.g., drug rehabilitation, family planning, welfare, etc. K. Calendar of community events. L. Field trips from local schools. M. Data Processing for community service organizations.