Digital Citizen Project, Illinois State University

Plans, Programs, & Status


The project is overseen by Illinois State through the Dean of University Libraries, Cheryl Asper Elzy, and the Associate Vice President for Academic Information Technology, Mark Walbert, with the support of a full-time project director and other representatives of the Illinois State administration. 

Although we believe the goal of this project will take significantly longer to achieve than this initial grant allows, we see this as a start toward achieving the goal. The grant timeframe is divided into three phases each six months long or in academic terms three semesters: spring 2007, fall 2007, and spring 2008. The following outline describes the work to be completed during each of those phases.

The project also has two simultaneous parts: (1) a Media Monitoring Research (MMR) study and (2) an Educational Community Research (ECR) study. Funding has been secured for the MMR study from a consortium of media companies led by MovieLabs. Funding for the ECR study is in-progress from other sources.

Part 1 – Media Monitoring Research (MMR)Study

  • Data Gathering and Analysis — Establish a clear baseline on current digital media usage on the network. Meter and monitor ongoing use and determine the impact of technologies on behavior and network utilization.
  • Internet Attitudes and Behaviors — Survey a random sample of ISUNet users to determine their knowledge of and attitudes toward entertainment and media use on the Internet.
  • Institutional Automated Monitoring & Enforcement — Utilize monitoring software that tracks and stops suspected copyright infringement while educating the user, coupled with institutional policies that reinforce penalties for illegal behaviors while rewarding appropriate use.
  • Legal Digital Media Services — Provide a menu of legal downloading services – known on campus as “birdtrax” — offering music, movies, and other media covering the spectrum of MP3 device options rather than supporting just one make, model, or manufacturer. Promote the availability of legal digital media services to the university community.
  • Best Practices Model University — Develop the best practices that other universities can adopt.
  • Rewards — Offer possible incentives such as reduced subscriptions and pricing, movie tickets, free concerts, major movie premieres, and more to encourage legal services and respect for digital copyrights.

Part 2 – Educational Community Research Project

  • Education & Awareness — Create point-of-use software with educational modules on the ethics of Internet behavior, training for new-student orientation, a public relations campaign, and public service spots.
  • K-12 Education — Using the University’s elementary and secondary laboratory schools on campus, develop an elementary/secondary curriculum with “teachable moments” or learning modules at point of use that start the educational process as early as 3rd or 4th grade.
  • Educational Copyright Use — Develop copyright use definitions for media similar to print that make it easier to secure legal permissions for classroom use, thereby using faculty to model appropriate behavior for students. 
  • As funding becomes available for the Educational Community Research Project, detailed plans will be put in place that could include one or more of the following research aspects:
    • Review of K-12 curriculum options, including development and testing of a K-12 suite of teachable moments on appropriate digital usage in partnership with ISU’s lab schools and professional development schools
    • Researching and establishing clear guidelines and procedures for acquiring copyright permissions for media usage, including (a) tracking processes, success rate, length of time, and limits on copyright permission for test group, (b) documenting costs of performance rights for media in actual use on campus (impact on materials budgets, etc.)
    • Testing a variety of educational and public relations efforts to inform users about appropriate use of digital media
    • Clear copyright management program that defines fair use in practice and provides a concise path for acquiring copyright permissions