1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
This website would not be possible without the use of a myriad of technological tools. Computers, printers, routers, digital cameras, scanners, video cameras, word processing softwares, web design and graphics softwares, e-mail, instant messaging, FTP, internet security, online discussion forum, and IP telephony softwares were used daily to create the website. The computers along with the instant messaging and telephony softwares were used for weekly online conferences – which was essential not only to establish roles and responsibilities but also to discuss progress.
The online forum was the most critical element for our successful completion of the project. As the team members lived in different time zones, this medium was essential to post and retrieve messages at the individual’s convenience.
The team also had to use a variety of resources : books, internet, newspaper and interviews during the research stage to get an accurate understanding of the issue in order to create an authentic website.
This website has turned out to be a perfect example of today’s technology-supported education. It makes it possible to provide quality information to a global audience at times and places most convenient to them. In an effort to make the site ideal for telelearning, the website is offered in two languages and different bandwidth versions.
Once completed, the project was evaluated for quality of educational content, choice of audience and topic, originality, depth of content, citations, website design and appearance, sequence of content, writing, use of multimedia, technical performance, cross-cultural perspective, team work and timely completion. Both self and peer review were used to provide feedback on the project. The team successfully met all their objectives.
The final product is the team's original creation.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
The project was born out of very little and has been online for a short period of time, but has several enthusiastic users worldwide. The project enables users from around the world to express their feelings, share their opinions and voice their concerns. There are several personal stories, opinions and articles being submitted for publication on this website. Feedbacks we have received show that the information offered has been used in some schools. By using information and communication technology (ICT) to bring together people from various places and backgrounds, patentbattles.com has confirmed that it is possible to get the reality of patent wars on AIDS drugs to everyone. The website is also published at Oracle’s ThinkQuest library (http://library.thinkquest.org/04apr/00460/) and gets several hundred hits a day. The website is increasing awareness of the issue by allowing users to open their hearts and speak their minds.
Our hope is to successfully bring together users from several different countries, giving them a voice and place of their own in cyberspace.
Feedback received from users for additional services to be offered indicate the enthusiasm with which the project has been received.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Please see answer above.
The following plans/wish list is based on feedback we have received from our users.
Petition Tool: We would like to add a tool where users can create, sign, and share petitions (regarding HIV/AIDS and patent wars) within their community to take action and make a difference with issues they care about.
Polls: Add surveys/polls to improve the website based on user responses.
Projects Tool: We would like to create a tool whereby our members from around the world can register the HIV/AIDS related projects they are involved with. The intent of this tool will be to provide an opportunity for members to highlight their project initiatives, objectives and the goals they are trying to accomplish. The intent is also to provide a unique space for each project where they can post their progress and short/long term goals. This will also provide an opportunity for users across countries to collaborate online to help each other accomplish their goal and also to achieve global visibility.
Newsletters: Include monthly newsletters.
Showcase: The showcase will serve as a web-based platform and resource to showcase local opportunities, expressions and perspectives that truly reflect the diversity of our network.
Member/Group Search: Ability to create a random member(group) search or search based on similar interests, language or location.
Promote AIDS-awareness and issues with patent battles: 1) Allowing users to compete on educational opportunities relating to the issue.
2) Allow users an opportunity to create wallpapers/banners or the like by making something related to aids-awareness and sending it to us by e-mail.
3) AA Messenger: Our version of AOL Messenger
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
This site would not be possible without the support and encouragement of many! We would like to thank them for their support!
Our families: Thanks to all our families for putting up with late nights and long hours, for being so supportive, and for being candid when it was most important.
Deborah O’Connor & Nagi Mahalingam (coaches): Mrs. O’Connor and Nagi worked hard by giving us guidance, instruction, feedback and also offering psychological support when needed. We would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. They kept us motivated and offered insightful comments throughout the course of the project.
Bruno Rijsman and Teru Sato (photographs): Our team extends its thanks to Bruno Rijsman, whose wonderful photographs from his travels were extraordinarily helpful in the site's design. Deepali Jain: Many thanks to Deepali Jain for her role, in an unofficial manner, as a mentor, guiding us whenever we hit a web design stumbling block.
WHO and Oxfam: Our team would like to thank the WHO and Oxfam for allowing us the use of many of their lovely photos, some of which were used in the flash introduction, and others in the gallery.
Kaisernetwork.org: Many thanks to kaisernetwork.org for allowing us to syndicate the daily HIV/AIDS headlines, as well as for the interviews that they provided to us.
ThinkQuest and Doors to Diplomacy: Our team would like to thank Doors to Diplomacy/ThinkQuest for the amazing opportunity they have provided for students around the world to connect and to discover the world of modern methods of education. This program truly encourages people from different cultures, religious backgrounds, and countries to develop a greater understanding and tolerance of what's different from our own daily lifestyles. It has been a truly great experience.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
There are several resources available online for HIV/AIDS. However, patentbattles.com is the only website (as far as we are aware) that explores the basics of AIDS, the patent issues relating to AIDS pharmaceuticals, simultaneously facilitating daily exchange of information by providing users a voice and space of their own. Although the newspapers and other forms of media had basically beaten the subject to death, the message was not coming through to the audience in the intended manner, nor was it catering to the various age groups. Our team realized that lifeless facts are simply a waste of time and effort: people need to see that AIDS and patent issues are real before any substantial changes are made.
While the primary mission of this website is to provide an avenue for people throughout the world to share their concerns and voice their opinions on the issue, it has been, to our surprise being used as a source of educational information in India and some African nations. We have received several feedbacks on how the website has helped users. We have also received requests for additional features.
This project has proved the power of the Internet and the power of telelearning. It was truly an amazing and rare experience. It is a great example of how a virtual community can unite and help each other.
This project recently won 2nd place (for 19 and under) in Oracle’s ThinkQuest April 2004 competition [http://library.thinkquest.org/04apr/00460/] and is receiving several hits/day.