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New Website on the Virtual Agora Project

Peter Shane, former director of the Institute for the Study of Information Technology and Society (InSITeS) at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, and PI of the NSF funded Virtual Agora Project (2002-2006) has compiled a web site at http://virtualagora.org that provides brief summaries of the project’s methods and some of its key findings, as well as a discussion of its software development component and a bibliography of relevant writings. As the site explains: “The Virtual Agora Project was launched in Fall, 2002 at Carnegie Mellon University with a three-year National Science Foundation grant (since extended for a fourth year) to develop and test video, audio, and text-based tools to support collaborative information sharing and structured public discussion about civic issues. Central to the project is an extensive multidisciplinary program of research to help identify the factors that contribute to effective community engagement and individual empowerment through computer-mediated communication.” The new site provides links to important additional resources, including the independent web site maintained by Peter Muhlberger, the political scientist and Co-PI who primarily designed and conducted the Virtual Agora Project’s social science program. The full project results, more complex than could be described in any short summary, are available at the Muhlberger site (with more papers under development), along with additional papers Peter Muhlberger has authored on political deliberation and agency theory. His website may be accessed directly at http://www.geocities.com/pmuhl78.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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