Section One - Introduction
Using this guide, youll learn to access specific information within seconds of having the need. Youll learn to create online learning experiences for others, to collaborate in many new and powerful ways, and to self-publish your own ideas using multimedia web pages.
As we first empower ourselves, and then our families, communities, and cultures, it will become overwhelmingly clear that there exists no upward limit to the number of people one individual can impact positively. By sharing what we each learn, we will all have access to all our joint knowledge. In an ideal world, we would all save each other great amounts of time by broadly sharing the best of what we learn.
The specific goal of this guide is to allow you to leapfrog ahead to the best the Internet has to offer with the least amount of time and effort. This guide presents hands-on exercises ranging from general overviews to in-depth exploration. As new, more powerful web tools evolve, this "online" guide will add them as simply and efficiently as possible.
Best Use of This Multi-Purpose Guide
For individuals - this guide presents a thorough self-directed learning pathway of Ecommerce overview perspectives, strategies, skills, and resources. For communities - the ideal use of this guide would be to stimulate widespread interest in your community identifying the realizable benefits the Internet offers. This guide - in addition to important resources, skills, and strategies, also provides a complete community Ecommerce awareness mentoring certification program. The certification program includes a paid mentorship component to provide a local incentive for sharing skills and knowledge. This certification program has the potential for growing a cottage industry in your community mentoring citizens outside the community. Grant templates are provided with a wide variety of community event models ranging from single afternoon events to extended community learning programs, initiatives, and competitions.
Owning Up to Our Own Potential
It would be wonderful if we could install high speed Internet in our homes and communities and know our successful futures were assured. But it is not that easy. Based on declining demographics, many rural communities today are dying.
Three big questions of our day are (given local Internet access at any speed) as follows:
1. As individuals, what commitment do we acknowledge regarding our role in building communities?
2. How important is the challenge of getting everyone involved creating an inspired,
self-motivated learning community able to fully benefit from the capabilities the
Internet puts at their fingertips?
3. What's the best a rural community might do for itself using the Internet if it were fully informed?
The fact that there are so few outstanding community success stories and models, even from communities who have installed high speed Internet, suggests the benefits may depend more on what people have learned to do with the Internet than the speed of available Internet access. Stories of successful individuals and businesses are far more common. In many rural communities are individuals who have quietly proven this potential for themselves and are now running their own successful Ecommerce businesses. Yet, there are many people and communities who appear to believe that through their own inaction they have disproved the promised potential of the Internet.
Together - we need to identify how to bring together education, economic development, community-building and Ecommerce in ways that make sense. This guide integrates these four essential pillars of sustainable communities. To create sustainable communities - we need to combine caring, commerce, and connectivity with common sense.
The potential for what citizens can do by working together far outweighs the benefits of simply helping individual entrepreneurs. However, in the minds of many citizens the idea of working together to build community capacity remains an abstraction.
The sustainability of our communities and society depends on creating motivated lifelong learners, proactive citizens, innovative entrepreneurs, skilled collaborators (both offline and online) and citizens who are both consumers and producers - both learners and teachers - all the time.
Imagine the multiplier effect: if we all share what we know, then we'll all have access to all our knowledge. Sharing what you know in return for benefiting from what others know helps everyone learn faster. The potential of a knowledge economy is that there can be enough knowledge and prosperity for everyone, worldwide.
Once you learn to be a self-sufficient learner, you'll soon recognize your potential to help people worldwide. While you might consider them potential competitors, you might also consider them potential customers and partners. The better you understand their needs, the better you'll understand the global market.
With the ease using of online collaborative tools such as email, listservs, etc., it will become easier and easier to engage in international trade. Knowing that the doors are opening, you're advised to learn about existing international trade opportunities and to create a personal strategy for keeping current as new doors open. You'll want to become self-sufficient staying current on Ecommerce trends, opportunities, and emerging skills and capabilities.
As hundreds of rural communities gain Internet access, many will eagerly embrace the potential to engage in Ecommerce. They will soon become your competition. Your advantage is to be first-to-market and establish your global niche now.
While many American rural communities have not yet recognized their advantage of being first in the world to have local Internet access, many will soon acknowledge their short-term opportunities and will begin to take action. Once the Internet is connected, whole countries will be dealing directly with the social challenges of creating an inspired and motivated citizenry for competitiveness at all levels. Your best strategy is to inform yourself early on about inevitable changes to strategically position yourself and your community to survive economically.
This guide puts equal emphasis on both social value and economic benefits. Both must be balanced for sustainable rural communities.
Unprecedented Self-Empowerment Potential
This guide is a fast-track learning tool to help you use the Internet to learn on an ongoing basis. Expectations of what you are capable of will increase through direct hands-on learning by following those topics of greatest interest to you. Throughout history, weve struggled with many barriers to learning and sharing information. Today, suddenly, we have unprecedented power and access for learning - which weve yet to recognize fully.
Over the next fifteen years, many of the six billion people on the planet, represented by over 15,000 cultures, will receive the opportunity to access the Internet through new satellite and wireless technologies. What they will find, and whether its supportive of their families and cultures, may ultimately be, in part, up to you.
As each of us learns to become a Lone Eagle - a self-directed learner - well be better able to join with other Lone Eagles to build learning communities in very powerful ways. However, there is a real responsibility that comes with this new power youll find at your fingertips. You alone must decide what you believe about your responsibility to help others.
For any community, culture, or country to reach its full potential, the full potential of each citizen must be realized. This guide is to be used as a resource to help individuals become self-directed learners and then work with others to build learning communities.
This Guide Presents Four Successive Levels of
Level One: Searching and Browsing Skills (Becoming a Self-Directed Learner)
The reality of our fast-changing world requires that we all acquire "just-in-time" self-directed learning skills such that we can learn what we need, independently, whenever necessary.
Level Two: Creating Web Pages
If we all share what we learn, well all have access to all our joint knowledge.
Level Three: Communicating and Working Together (Building Learning Communities)
Community is the sum of what we give to each other, and we now can teach anything to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Level Four: Learning-to-Earn for Sustainable Communities
(Building Online Communities) Learning-to-earn, public problem-solving, and electronic democracy hold our greatest individual and community benefits!
This entire guide can be found on the web at http://lone-eagles.com/eguide.htm
The Organization of This Guide
The key advantages of having the entire guide online are the convenience of being able to easily click through the web tours and to be able to reference any of the guide's resources from other web pages.
Section One: IntroductionThis section briefly presents the over-riding vision and suggested best uses for this multipurpose guide. A short essay, "Homesteading the Ecommerce Frontier," sets the context for this guide.
Section Two: Essential Internet Readiness Skills
This section contains hands-on skill-building lessons and self-directed activities such as skills checklists, web tools, and web tours for the four most important skills related to self-empowerment, Ecommerce, and community-building.
Section Three: Essential Ecommerce and Telework Strategies
This section contains the full course materials for the online course, "Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies." This course includes a certificate of completion and the opportunity to become a paid mentor helping others earn their certificate. Online resumes will be created by all those receiving the certificate.
The purpose of this course is to offer a robust overview perspective of Ecommerce possibilities specifically for rural citizens and communities. The course presents high quality resources to allow for unlimited continued self-study as well as the skills and strategies to become a self-directed Internet learner.
Section Four: Ecommerce and Community-Building Resources
This section contains a collection of articles and web tours for Ecommerce start-up training and community networking resources representing many examples of the very best resources available. Lessons learned from ten years of community Internet projects are included with recommendations for future programs based on this invaluable experience.
Section Five: Implementing Empowered Communities
(Grant-Writing and Community Project Resources)
Community grant templates present specific methods for creating Internet awareness programs and action plans to help your community become aware of its own potential for Ecommerce and self-empowerment. Diverse grant-writing tutorials, templates, and funding sources for rural communities are included.
Section Six AppendicesMany extensive self-directed learning resources are included.