CDI Seeking Students for Independent Study and Virtual Internship

Independent Study and Virtual Internship: NTIA Study of Broadband Adoption

The Center for Digital Inclusion at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) is collaborating with the National Telecommunication and Information Administration of the United States Department of Commerce (NTIA) and Arizona State University (ASU) to study broadband adoption in the US.

Congress authorized NTIA in 2009 to administer the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) with $4.7 billion in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NTIA completed the program successfully on September 30, 2014. BTOP improved access to high-speed broadband services throughout the US through three program areas:

  • Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) projects designed to build new broadband networks;
  • Public Computer Centers (PCC) projects provide access in public computer centers, particularly in community anchor institutions;
  • Sustainable Broadband Adoption projects that provide digital literacy training to sustain broadband adoption among individuals.

NTIA is offering an opportunity for a team of GSLIS and UIUC students to participate in a virtual internship starting January 16, 2015 to August 15, 2015. Students will also be able to earn credit through an Independent Study. Professor Jon Gant, Director of the Center for Digital Inclusion, will be the faculty supervisor for this opportunity. We will partner with Professor Karen Mossberger, Dean and Professor at the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. Students may elect to participate in a virtual internship with the Department of Commerce, an independent study with GSLIS, or both. Students may make a minimum commitment to participate for the Winter 2015 semester through May 15, 2015 or continue up to August 15, 2015. The virtual internship is unpaid. The project may include a trip to Washington DC for presentations and meetings during Spring Break. The project is open to all MS students including LEEP students, as well as PhD students. We anticipate that we can offer additional opportunities for students for the Summer 2015 and/or Fall 2015 semester as well.

The there is a great need to examine the approaches for organizing and managing the partnerships that the grantees used to carryout the grant activities. There is a range of various forms of public-private partnerships in use among all of the grants that we can learn from.

We are interested in the examining what worked well, what did not, barriers, enablers and other issues. We will use the data from the BTOP funded projects as possible to determine what made the partnerships productive to improve the adoption and use of broadband and digital technologies. The team will use the BTOP grantee data (and any other publicly available data) and the evaluation report library that NTIA has collected. The research will be mixed methods. The qualitative work in particular will help us to understand the underlying processes.

  • We would like to divide the research to look at specific types of BTOP projects.
    • The ASU team is interested in looking at the partnerships for the CCI projects.
    • The GSLIS team is interested in looking at partnerships in SBA and PCC projects focused on providing digital literacy for youth.
  • We would coordinate our research projects to facilitate learning across the studies.
    • We would hold team meetings with the ASU students and GSLIS students virtually on regular basis
    • Coordinate data for data sharing and cross case comparison
    • Share research frameworks
  • Build a database of the partnerships. The GSLIS team and possibly the ASU team will develop a taxonomy and database to capture attributes and characteristics of the various types of partnerships for all of grants. These descriptions would provide some context for the specific cases used by each team.
  • We looked at the administrative mechanisms to offer this opportunity for our students. We anticipate forming student teams with 2-3 Master students and a possible PhD student as a project manager/supervisor.
  • Another goal that we would like to achieve to connect the team to the NTIA team:
    • We will have bi-weekly meetings with NTIA virtually
    • Karen has invited the NTIA BTOP leadership team to attend the Digital Government conference in Phoenix in May. GSLIS students may also participate in this event.

To learn more about BTOP, please visit .  If you are interested in participating in this project, please send an email to:

 Jon Gant, CDI Director, at and Cc: LaEisha Meaderds, CDI Project Coordinator, at by January 20, 2015. Please include:

  • A short statement describing your interest
  • A resume or CV

If you have further questions, please contact Jon Gant or LaEisha Meaderds at the above email addresses.



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