September 1996

Root Page of Article: Barriers to Getting Educators Online, by Denise Ethier and Jennifer Gold

NCIPnet: A Telecommunications Network for Educators

NCIPnet was first designed as a dial-in BBS that users accessed with FirstClass (registered trademark of SoftArc, Inc.) software. Since its beginning in 1993, NCIPnet registered 500 users. Each member received an 800 number so they could log on without charge. NCIPnet developed into a vital online community that is comprised primarily of educators who share a common goal of improving the use of technology in special education. As the number of participants on NCIPnet grew, however, so did the cost of operating a free dial-in service. In March of 1996, NCIPnet moved its online community to the Internet, creating links to a news server from its World Wide Web (WWW) site.

After a three-year evaluation of NCIPnet, administrators saw the emergence of a number of barriers that prevented educators from using telecommunications. These barriers fall into two distinguishable groups:

  1. barriers to building an online community:

  2. barriers to sustaining an online community:

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