Virtual School on Internet Governance: Instructing a New Generation of Internet Leaders

Virtual School on Internet Governance: Instructing a New Generation of Internet Leaders

2021 ARIN Community Grant Program Recipient Report

The Virtual School on Internet Governance (VSIG) is a free, online course dedicated to teaching the key pillars of Internet Governance to both novices and advanced learners. It began in 2020 as a necessity due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and, thanks to the support of ARIN Community Grants and ARIN staff participation, it has become an international success.

In this second year of the project, we have succeeded in meeting our goal of expanding the course offerings, exceeded our target number of participants, and delivered the online training course on time and under budget. Also of notable interest is our collection and free distribution of a series of lectures on the core tenets of Internet Governance on YouTube.

Learn about phase one of the VSIG project in its 2020 ARIN Community Grant report.

Maintaining Momentum: Phase Two Accomplishments

The entire VSIG course undergoes routine updates, corrections, and ongoing development to keep the content fresh and current. With the funding from our 2021 ARIN Community Grant, we have been able to:

  • Expand from our initial courses in English to include versions in Spanish and French, with the bonus of showcasing local expertise in the language of the learner’s choice.
  • Deliver seven English, three Spanish, and two French courses, all strictly online and absolutely free to participants. (We have removed the financial barrier to anyone interested in taking the course, and, if their Internet bandwidth is poor, they have the option of utilizing a text-based version of the content from the video/audio recordings.)
  • Make all course materials available for download and accessible at any time after the course.
  • Convert complimentary resources to Ebooks for easy reading on many platforms.
  • Configure the course for tablet and mobile use.
  • Provide 24/7 access to the course to accommodate learners’ busy schedules; if they miss any weekly live presentations, all recordings can be viewed on our YouTube playlists.
  • Focus on achieving a balance of gender, north-south distribution, variance in opinions, and interactive sessions in our live presentations.

Counting Up the Cohorts

Completed in 2022
A total of 609 students have completed the course so far this year:

  • English cohorts A, B, C, D, E, and F = 564 students
  • Spanish cohorts A, B = 45 students

Projected Numbers
These cohorts are currently in progress and expected to complete the course by the end of 2022:

  • English G (began 5 September 2022) = 50 students
  • French A (Pilot in May 2022), B (began 14 September 2022) = 90 students
  • Spanish C (began 14 August 2022) = 25 students Upon these cohorts’ completion, we project our total number of students in 2022 to reach 774.

How does VSIG benefit the ARIN community?

While providing a clear pathway for self-directed online learning about Internet governance, VSIG supports ARIN’s mission and community in the following ways:

  • Key ARIN staff speak at some live sessions to connect with students and share important information and updates about ARIN.
  • Session recordings are shared on the VSIG and PostDIGITAL Facebook pages to reach an even wider audience within the community.
  • ARIN Fellows are encouraged to continue their exploration of Internet Governance by taking the VSIG course. We also shared about the work of VSIG with participants in the inaugural Fellowship Program Virtual Summit held in summer 2022.
  • Throughout our courses’ sessions, ARIN’s role in the Internet Governance ecosystem is explained and promoted as a progressive and well-run operation.

Don’t Just Take It From Us

All students are asked to complete a survey upon completion of the course, and the responses have been positive! Here are some of the comments we’ve received:

  • “In my opinion, since NASIG in Puerto Rico to now, I noticed an interesting improvement. Because we are online and we have recorded the sessions, we can review the content. The quizzes were very important in order to make us do research about the topics delivered. So, this course was the most efficient one in terms of level of speakers.”
  • “Very friendly and knowledgeable.”
  • “They are very good and supportive.”
  • “Excellent and competent. Keep it up.”
  • “Great interaction with the instructors, Alfredo and Glenn.”

Watch the video presentation of the VSIG project update on YouTube.

What’s Next for the Project?

We are staying true to our objective of offering a free and multilingual course open to anyone. Our goal is to continue making the course more accessible through additional language translation in the future, including commencing translation of the course into Russian for a 2023 launch and raising funds to produce the course in Hindi, Chinese, and Bengali.

Ready to Enroll?

If you’re interested in joining an upcoming cohort, stay tuned to the VSIG website, Facebook page, and Twitter to learn when registration opens. Email registration@virtualsig.org or info@virtualsig.org if you have any questions.

Click here to learn more about all 2021 ARIN Community Grant Program Recipients.

About the ARIN Community Grant Program

ARIN provides financial grants in support of initiatives that improve the overall Internet industry and Internet user environment. Are you working on a project that advances ARIN’s mission and broadly benefits the Internet community within the ARIN region through informational outreach, research, Internet technical improvements, or Registry processes and technology improvements? Visit the ARIN Community Grant Program page for more information and to find out when and how your organization can apply in 2023. For application tips and support, read this post on our blog.

Post written by:

Alfredo Calderon
VSIG

Alfredo is one of the co-founders of the Virtual School of Internet Governance (VSIG). He is a chemist, with academic professor experience of over 20+ years. In the 90s, he got involved in initiatives integrating technology in teaching Organic Chemistry. At that time, he did some research on learning aided by computer-based modules and learning styles. Afterward, he did additional graduate work in Instructional Design, eLearning and Information Technology, and ICT. He managed to get involved in the Internet Society and the Puerto Rico Chapter, then ICANN, and subsequently, ARIN. Since then, he has been involved as an active member of various Working Groups in the At-Large and ICANN community. He has recently been on the ICANN Fellowship Selection Committee appointed by At-Large; Coach and now At-Large Mentor in the Fellowship Program.

Glenn McKnight
VSIG

Glenn is one of the co-founders of the Virtual School of Internet Governance (VSIG). He has been involved in international projects that include directorship with the Linux Professional Institute, BAYGEN Freeplay Radio and the INKmedia netbook project. These exploits have taken him to over 42 countries. He has been involved with the IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge and a volunteer with his local IEEE section as the chair for the Special Interest Group for Humanitarian Technologies and volunteer for the Canadian Humanitarian Technology Conference.

He is the founder of the Canadian ISOC Chapter and a former ISOC Trustee until August 2021. He has been a former NARALO chair, secretariat. ALAC and NOMCOM member with ICANN since 2009. He, too, attended a number of ARIN remote and face-to-face meetings and organized a large group of NARALO members to join up at the ARIN New Orleans meeting. Alfredo and Glenn commenced work on the VSIG project in the spring of 2020 and have been busy ever since!

Any views, positions, statements or opinions of a guest blog post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of ARIN. ARIN does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or validity of any claims or statements, nor shall ARIN be liable for any representations, omissions or errors contained in a guest blog post.

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