|A Local Partner with National Ties Delivers Much-Needed Tech Support |
Indianapolis, Indiana—When Heather Bischoff assumed the responsibilities of service coordinator and center director at the Knowledge Center at the Terrace, she quickly discovered that frustration levels among residents who use the center were running high. The slow speed at which the center’s three computers were operating was posing a challenge to the residents.
“Over time, settings and setup configurations had been changed by numerous people,” said Bischoff. “The computers were in dire need of maintenance and cleanup by people who knew how to get the most out of them.”
Realizing that the need was high, but resources were low, Bischoff took a creative approach to getting help. She contacted the local ITT Technical Institute (ITT Tech) and asked if they would be interested in forming a partnership. To Bischoff’s relief, they were very interested.
A Class of Its Own
With more than 75 institutes in 29 states, ITT Tech provides career-focused, technology-oriented degree programs to approximately 40,000 students. ITT Tech has been actively involved in the higher education community in the United States since 1969, and is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana—which is right in Bischoff’s own backyard.
After discussing the center’s needs with Bischoff, the team from ITT Tech requested that in return for maximizing the efficiency of the center’s computers, they wanted to use the center as a capstone project—a final project that all students must complete in order to graduate.
“I had no problem with their request,” said Bischoff. “They assigned an entire class of students to our center. The class created a contract of what they would do and how they would do it. One group focused on networking issues; another group concentrated on security issues; and the third group configured the server. All of the students worked on creating a manual.”
ITT Tech’s commitment to the partnership with the center did not end with providing hands-on technical expertise. When the team from ITT Tech learned that a computer had been stolen from the center that same week, they donated a new computer and server to the center.
Six Weeks to a Faster, More Secure Center
The capstone project took six weeks to complete. During that time, the ITT Tech students rebuilt the existing computers to improve their efficiency, and they set up the new computer and server. They also enhanced the security of the center’s computers.
“Every user must come to me to receive a user name and password,” said Bischoff. “Users can reset their assigned password once they log on so even I don’t have access to anyone’s information. If residents forget their password, I can reset it from the server. Now, the residents who use the center’s computers more or less have a personal PC. They don’t have to worry about someone getting into their files.”
In addition to managing the security of the network, the server enables Bischoff to run reports on the center’s activities. With the new server, Bischoff is able to gauge the activity of the center, which now includes three computers that are used by about 15 residents who call Green Park Terrace Apartments, a 53-unit senior complex, home.
“Our residents use the computers to e-mail friends and family and for entertainment,” said Bischoff. “They also use it to write and lay out the resident newsletter in Microsoft Word and PrintMaster. The monthly newsletter features a resident, offers recipes, and provides general information that the residents might find useful.”
Bischoff also works with local volunteers to bring computer programs and classes to the center. A volunteer comes to the center three times a month to conduct classes on computer crafts and coordinate card games. Another volunteer visits the center twice a month to teach classes on basic Internet skills.
It Comes Complete with Manual
Should Bischoff ever have a question about the operation of the computers and server, she can quickly refer to the comprehensive operating manual that the students from ITT Tech produced. The manual, which has been placed on display at the local institute because of its thoroughness, provides users with step-by-step instructions for logging in and out, changing a password, and other critical information.
“ITT Tech was a fantastic partner for us—and with schools located around the country, they’d probably be a good partner for other Neighborhood Networks centers, as well,” said Bischoff. “They accomplished what they set out to do—and then some.”
For more information on Neighborhood Networks Centers in Indianapolis, contact:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Indianapolis Office
151 North Delaware, Suite 1200
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2526
Phone: (317) 226–6303 ext. 7012
For more information about the Knowledge Center at the Terrace, contact:
Green Park Terrace Apartments
Indianapolis, IN 46227
Phone: (317) 807–0400
|Center(s) Highlighted or Profiled:||Green Park Apartments|
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Department of Housing and Urban
451 7th Street S.W.,
Washington, DC 20410
708-1112 TTY: (202)