The University of California, Berkeley, working in partnership with the San Francisco and Oakland Unified School districts, San Francisco and Oakland local governments, community based organizations and industry, will develop the Interactive University (IU) Project. The project will be a model of how to use information infrastructure most effectively to support K-12 students, their families, and teachers in disadvantaged urban communities. The IU will connect to schools, libraries, and community service organizations in previously designated enterprise zones in the two cities. The IU project will identify and compare Internet-based outreach methods and partnerships to enable the University to help underserved students succeed in school and prepare for college, careers, citizenship, and lifelong learning. The project will explore the critical question of how Internet tools, such as e-mail and desktop videoconferencing, can best be used to reach out to the community and meet the needs of K-12 students and their families.
The focus of this TIIAP funded project will be on two communities: South East Corridor, San Francisco, and West Oakland, Oakland. In these areas, approximately 60-90 percent of the students come from AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) families. Additionally, only 40 percent of the students graduate from high school, and there are virtually no students with access to computers in the home. The University has already proven that outreach and intervention programs can make a difference in whether students from these areas will attend college, since 75 percent of the current minority students at the University were participants in outreach efforts.
The Interactive University Project will bring together the extensive resources of the University of California, Berkeley with numerous community partners. San Francisco and Oakland School Districts will contribute equipment and human resources to this effort. Pacific Bell and IBM are contributing telecommunications and equipment for connecting schools and community organizations to the system.