Online Education and Training

Local government webinar series from the University of Illinois Extension Local Government Information and Education Network

The University of Illinois Extension Local Government Information and Education Network hosted a webinar series in autumn 2015. The series, Local Government Strategies for Digital Government, was presented by Jon Gant, professor and director of the Center for Digital Inclusion, U of I School of Information Sciences.

The series was part of the Illinois Digital Innovation Leadership Program and funded through the Office of the Provost and the College of ACES Illinois Extension and Outreach Initiative. The webinars were recorded and are available for viewing on the University of Illinois Extension YouTube channel at

The webinars included:

Best Practices in eGovernment – Sept. 17

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This leadership seminar will help local government leaders examine the strategies, practices and technologies of digital government. Local governments in Illinois and around the United States are integrating computer-based technologies into the centerfold of public administrative reforms to augment the delivery of services, support public participation, and enhance governing and decision making. E-government relies on information technology (IT) to automate and transform the processes to serve citizens, businesses, governments, and other constituents.

The seminar focuses on understanding models of delivering services through IT-enabled processes, social media, and data analytics. Topics such as open government, security issues, the technology ecosystem, and social and economic evaluation will be covered.

Technology Planning – Oct. 15

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All governments face growth in demand for services while confronting a strained economy, coupled with the belief that it is appropriate to explore new opportunities where technology innovation is essential. These challenges and opportunities are fueled by heightened expectations from constituents and the business community to interact and conduct business with governmental entities utilizing modern technology and web-based capabilities that enhance information, communication, and transactions in a variety of formats, and enable further transparency in government. An environment of rapid change and the need for responsiveness, together with finite resources, highlights the importance of thoughtfully considered deployment of IT trends that embrace supportable standards and agile IT-enabled services.

As such, any governmental entity’s IT capabilities must be contemporary, flexible, scalable, secure, and environmentally conscious with the ability to respond to new goals and dynamically changing service and operational requirements by various agencies. An ideal environment builds on an enterprise architecture that includes industry standards, open systems, and tools that support a variety of needs and diverse portfolio of systems.

The supporting infrastructure foundation is designed to ensure the integrity of transactions, data, and optimum system performance. Strategic planning, governance, and program management ensures inclusion in decision making and implementation of solid products, and effective solution delivery at a fully leverage cost.

Using Data and Analytics to Drive Government Innovation – Nov.  19

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Local governments collect mountains of data from citizens and services. However, knowing how to best organize, manage, and extract insights from these large diverse data sets is a challenge. Enter data analytics. Illinois communities are leading the nation in recognizing the benefits of applying analytics. Government organizations are mobilizing to explain and report on their operations, performance, services and decision making – both for internal employees and external constituents – utilizing data, the most valuable natural resource of the 21st century. Our discussion will focus on the vital components of data-driven government, and learn from communities of practice that are emerging all around the country that are digitizing information, disseminating public data sets, and applying analytics to improve decision making.