Research Model

The Blacksburg Electronic Village ( was developed and has evolved in response to the needs of the community it serves. This project in selected rural communities of Virginia loosely followed the same model, only without the need for the communities to develop the technology themselves. The basic idea was to let residents determine the challenges facing their communities and decide how to address them. Then, appropriate information and communications technologies already available through the BEV would be used to pursue community goals by facilitating exchanges of information and streamlining transactions among government and citizens, businesses and their customers, community organizations and their members, and among citizens themselves.

Virginia Cooperative Extension agents, having served and built their reputations in these communities, knew many of the issues first hand. They were therefore well positioned to bring all interested parties to the table. The Blacksburg Electronic Village, one of the oldest and most widely known community networks, would provide systems, training, and expertise in matters of deployment.

The model called for the following:

  1. recruiting interested residents from each county
  2. facilitating a community planning process (Take Charge )
  3. creating an Electronic Village in each county
  4. performing technology assessments in each county
  5. developing a technology master plan for each county

The hope was that these electronic villages, like the BEV, would add enough value that their communities would elect to sustain them locally beyond the term of the grant.

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