Information and Communications Technology for Development is a growing area of research and community of scholars studying the role of technology in international development.
Students in this course will study contemporary debates, issues and field projects that engage with information and communication technologies [ICTs] in the service of socio-economic progress and human development. This means a range of things: it could refer to the scope of technology in alleviating poverty, in impacting low-resource settings, in designing and engineering relevant technologies to close digital literacy gaps in specific populations.
Studying development is essentially a multidisciplinary exercise rooted in a range of technical and social-science research. By combining a variety of subject areas the course will engage deeply with some of the complex problems associated with developing economies especially unstable infrastructures, scarce resources and social disadvantages.
The course will introduce a variety of social environments with different resource and economic constraints that are targets for socio-economic development either through deploying ICTs or achieve technology ownership and use through more market driven and organic social processes. These can range from building low-cost technologies to studying user-driven innovations of ICTs to fit contexts of use.
The thrust of the course will be the following:
1. A sociological understanding of development in specific social contexts and the role of specific technologies in aiding it. The question we ask is how technology seeks to address the needs and aspirations of people who are increasingly consuming technologies and services despite inadequate infrastructures and resources.
2. Highlight with case-studies from India, Africa, Latin America, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. These will provide a ground-view of processes aiding deployment and adoption of ICTs
3. Offer a critical lens to evaluate the processes and impacts ICT for D field deployments. This would provide a well-rounded and practical perspective on issues of assessment and successes of development projects
This course will cover certain domain areas, using relevant theoretical models and practical outcomes, within ICTs and Development, like, education, healthcare, livelihoods, entertainment and governance, to examine the role of building technology tools applied towards development issues. In the course of this module we hope to constantly examine the idea of technology for development. Through readings, discussions, and projects, students will acquire a critical understating of technology and development issues.
This class has no pre-requisite requirements and open to students from any background.
Students can expect to read accessible works from social theory, technology design and emerging markets in the course of this class.
Students will be continuously evaluated with periodic quizzes/short tests and a final project that will be based on course learnings to conduct and present a short field based case-study
C. K Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, Prentice Hall, New Jersey
Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, Penguin Books: New York, 2006
J. Timmons Roberts and Amy Bellone Hite, Eds. The Globalization and Development Reader: Perspectives on Development and Global Change, Blackwell: London, 2007
Escobar, A. “Encountering Development: The making and unmaking of the third world” Princeton University Press 1995
Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, Anchor Books: New York, 1999