Syllabus Spring 2010
TechShop Madison TechShop people


Syllabus Spring 2010

Welcome to TechShop Madison!

We are pleased to have you enrolled in the TechShop program this semester. We began in January 2007 with a small Learn and Serve America grant, administered through Princeton University's National Community-Based Research Networking Initiative, to establish a program to engage UW-Madison students in providing information technology assistance to nonprofit organizations.

During the summer of 2007, we convened a work group to plan the process for determining what nonprofits want and need from technology assistance provided by students. The group created an initial survey asking nonprofits in Dane County how they use their technology, what information technology obstacles they face, and other basic demographic information.

In December 2007, we sent out the survey to about 450 people and received 65 responses. Based on the responses, the planning group decided to direct efforts towards assisting small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations.

In spring semester 2008, a group of UW-Madison students conducted community-based research to follow up on the survey results. They conducted in-depth interviews with 27 of the 65 survey respondents, and found that specialized educational topics and one-to-one, on-site assistance offer the most appeal to nonprofit organizations.

The students presented their findings at a community event in May 2008. Attendees, including members of the university and nonprofit communities, responded to the data and provided input and suggestions for the structure and implementation of a student-based technology assistance program for nonprofits. Our work group reconvened in the summer of 2008 and designed the final implementation plan.

In August 2008, we sent a needs survey to nonprofit organizations to identify the specific project on which they wanted to work with a student partner. There were many needs identified, but the needs of the organizations and the skills of the students enrolled converged around increasing the functionality of the organizations' Web sites. Four students were matched with four nonprofit organizations to provide information technology assistance.

In the Spring 2009 semester, the needs of the organizations and our student skill base led us to select Web 2.0 technologies as our IT focus, and we had 11 students working with 11 nonprofits, including one student from MATC and one nonprofit as far as Black Earth. Students consulted with nonprofits on social networking technologies and similar projects. We are continuing with this theme for the Spring 2010 semester.

TechShop Philosophy

The purpose of the TechShop Madison program is to build the capacity of small and medium-size organizations to use information technology to pursue their missions. We work with—not for or on behalf of—nonprofit organizations to ensure that we engage in partnerships that recognize the resources and expertise that each partner contributes to the project. Together, student and nonprofit partners evaluate the goals, resources and limitations that shape decision-making around IT issues. Students equip their nonprofit partners to develop, implement, manage and sustain technologies within the scope of the TechShop projects.

As a student partner, your role is to work with organizations to clarify their needs, evaluate the options available to them, learn and teach the appropriate technologies, and ensure that organizations have the knowledge, skills and resources to sustain the gains you make together over the course of the semester.

Your partnership with nonprofit organizations offers you an opportunity to apply in the community the skills and knowledge you've gained in the classroom. The experiential nature of your TechShop participation allows you to engage in "real world" problem solving directly with nonprofit partners in the complex, demanding and rapidly changing environments in which they function. You will develop skills in the technologies with which you work, but you will also be exposed to opportunities that will help you grow as professionals, teachers and leaders.

TechShop Madison is a learning community. Students work cooperatively and engage in peer consultation and training. Students are expected to take primary responsibility for their learning and for satisfying the needs of their nonprofit partners.

Who We Are

The TechShop Madison team members share a commitment to provide capacity-building information technology services to nonprofit organizations.

Andy Giesler is a graduate student in Library and Information Studies with a work background in computer science, education, writing and management. He has done web programming since the mid 90's and is providing technical and other logistical support for TechShop participants this semester.

Eric Howland is the executive director of DANEnet, a local nonprofit providing information technology assistance to other nonprofits in Dane County. Eric collaborated with Randy in 2006 on the IT assessment pilot project. From 2003-2006, he worked with the e-Projects in Community Service (ePICS) course at UW-Madison to guide interdisciplinary teams of students providing business and information technology services to local nonprofit organizations.

Katherine Loving is the civic engagement coordinator at University Health Services. She works on building UW-Madison's capacity to offer high-quality opportunities for students to develop and apply the attitudes and aptitudes necessary for effective, engaged citizenship. Katherine also worked with the ePICS course for 3 years managing the participation of nonprofit partners and their interface with students and the course management team.

Jeanette Velazquez joins us this semester as a service-learning fellow from the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

Molly Reddy was hired in summer 2007 and served as a program manager and primary liaison with our nonprofit participants. She is a senior majoring in Community Leadership and Development.

Randy Stoecker, professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at UW-Madison, has a long history in the fields of community-based research and community informatics. He conducts research on the impact of service learning on community organizations and worked with those organizations to set community standards for service learning. In fall 2006, he worked with nonprofit organizations in Madison to pilot an assessment of information practices and information technology needs.

Student Goals, Roles, Expectations, and Grading

Student Learning Goals

• Develop technical, professional and interpersonal skills necessary to work effectively in a nonprofit environment.
• Apply knowledge and skills to develop "real-world" solutions.
• Learn new technologies appropriate to nonprofit environments.
• Understand the role nonprofit organizations play in the community, including their unique resources and challenges.
• Learn about the organization you serve, including its mission, culture, operations, and population(s) served.
• Learn strategies for teaching technology concepts and skills.

Student Roles and Expectations

• Demonstrated knowledge and skills in target technologies
• Understanding of how target technologies are successfully applied in the nonprofit environment
• Ability to communicate effectively with nonprofit partner
• Maintenance of mutually-beneficial, respectful partnership with nonprofit organization
• Complete required coursework
• Professional behavior in all TechShop settings
• Consult with TechShop staff as concerns arise and seek help as needed

Grading for the TechShop service learning project will be based on the following:

1. Nonprofit satisfaction that the student has met the agreed upon expectations for the project (or the revised expectations)
2. Evaluation of the student's ability to meet the following requirements:
a) Meetings with nonprofit: Students will attend all meetings as scheduled with the nonprofit partner and will be required to inform the nonprofit right away if they need to reschedule or if they will be late to a meeting. Students are expected to come fully prepared to every meeting with the nonprofit partner, which includes completing any necessary research and/or preparing materials for the meeting.
b) Trainings and other meetings with TechShop staff: Students will be required to attend the scheduled check-in meetings with a member of the TechShop staff, as well as the final evaluation meeting with nonprofits. At the final evaluation, students will be expected to share a brief presentation on their work and progress from the semester. Currently, those meetings are scheduled for Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22; March 1, 8, 15, and 22; April 12, and May 3.
c) Written updates: We will require short (1-2 paragraphs) written updates of your progress in preparation for some meetings.
d) Calendaring: Students will be required to list all meetings with nonprofits on the website prior to the actual meeting.
e) Evaluations: Students will be required to complete all evaluations on trainings and the overall program.
f) Quality of work: Students are expected to ask questions and research necessary topics in order to effectively meet the expectations of the project (as agreed upon with nonprofit partner). Effective consultation relies heavily on a support system of knowledgeable people, so students are expected to utilize the support offered by TechShop students and staff.
g) Project completion: Projects should be completed by Monday, May 3, 2010. Organizations should receive all the research, training, and deliverables from you by that date. Necessary extensions are allowed with mutual agreement from the nonprofit, student, and professor.

If students complete all of the requirements satisfactorily, they shouldn't have a problem getting an A. However, if you miss a meeting, an A will not be a guarantee.
If you miss two meetings, we will have to have a conversation, and you almost certainly will not get an A. If you forget to blog once, an A will not be a guarantee (but if you do very well with everything else, one forgotten blog probably won't drop you). If you forget to blog every other week, your grade will certainly suffer. Please understand that our primary concern is the successful completion of your project with your nonprofit partner, and all of the above requirements affect your ability to complete the project satisfactorily.


We wish to fully include persons with disabilities in this course. Please let one of the instructors know if you need any special accommodations in the curriculum, instruction, assignments, or assessments of this course to enable you to fully participate.

TechShop Madison Privacy Policy
Spring 2010

The UW-Madison students and staff of TechShop Madison value the privacy of our nonprofit partners and the people they serve. The following statements of principle apply to every interaction with every community partner.

Privacy Statement

During the course of our work with our community partners, we necessarily collect information about them, such as contact information, as well as technical information about their technology infrastructure. We will not release any of that information without permission, for any reason, to anyone, with the sole exception of lawful court orders presented by a law enforcement agency.

Non-Disclosure Statement

During the course of our work with our community partners, sensitive information is sometimes disclosed to working members of the TechShop, including but not limited to:
technical information: methods, processes, formulas, compositions, systems, techniques, inventions, machines, computer programs, research projects, and access control mechanisms; Operational and administrative information: customer and client lists and data, sources of supply, financial data, marketing information, production, operational, or merchandising systems or plans. All members, employees, and volunteers of TechShop Madison affirmatively agree not to disclose or divulge any sensitive information to anyone outside of the TechShop, and to disclose such information to other TechShop staff only in the necessary and ordinary course of work on community partner-related projects.

By my signature, I certify that I have read and understand the TechShop Madison statements of non-disclosure and privacy and understand my obligation to adhere to them.

TechShop Student Expectations Agreement Spring 2010

As a University of Wisconsin-Madison student receiving one credit hour equivalent for working with TechShop for the Spring 2010 Semester, I, ___________________________, understand that the following requirements are expected of me:

• Forming and creating respectful working relationships and interactions with nonprofit staff, with the understanding that my actions represent TechShop and the university.
• Completing the necessary trainings organized by TechShop.
• Attending the regular meetings with TechShop staff.
• Providing written updates in preparation for meetings with TechShop staff
• Asking questions and/or researching about specific technological issues or skills needed to successfully complete the nonprofit project training and tailoring it as much as possible to the specific needs of the nonprofit.
• Working directly with at least one member of the nonprofit staff in an experiential training environment on the requested project for up to 20 hours.
• Contributing to the development and future success of TechShop by providing extensive feedback on all aspects of the project throughout the semester.

By signing this agreement, I declare that I understand the above requirements and the commitment that I have made to the TechShop.
TechShop was funded by:

The Corporation for National and Community Service

The University of Wisconsin Division of Information Technology

University of Wisconsin University Health Services

University of Wisconsin Morgridge Center for Public Service

The taxpayers who support UW faculty and staff salaries and some student tuition


Our Partners

University Health Services


UWUW Division of Information Technology

UW Morgridge Center for Pubic Service