ICT4D: Information and communication technology for Development

Course code:
Period 5
Language of tuition:
Faculteit der Exacte Wetenschappen
dr. K.S. Schlobach
dr. K.S. Schlobach
dr. K.S. Schlobach
dr. V. de Boer
Teaching method(s):
Lecture, Seminar

Course objective

In the developed world Computers are ubiquitous, and ICT has rapidly
grown into a critical asset for economic, technological, scientific and
societal progress. The main objectives of this course are:
1) to make the next generation of Computer Scientists aware of:
a) The importance of ICTs for the developing world and the
unexpected way developing countries are leapfrogging into the
information age
b) The opportunities and challenges that exist for an information
scientist in the area of 'development4development'
c) The influence of context in a typical ICT4D project
d) The complexity of deploying an ICT project within a development
context, and how to tackle this.
2) to equip the students with some initial project management,
technological and programming skills specific to an ICT deployment in a
developing country.
Positioned at the heart of the VU's vision of social relevance as one of
the guiding principles, the core aim of the course is to raise the
awareness that we as Computer Scientists can make a significant
difference by sharing our expertise according to well established
principles of international development.

Course content

This course gives an introduction to the relatively new field of ICT4D
and will be given jointly by experts from the Department of Computer
Science (CS) and the Center for International Cooperation (CIS) with
lecturers from both backgrounds who will focus on their areas of

In the course we will give an overview over methodology, technology and
the social dimension of the usage of Information Technology in the
context of Development. We will introduce a general framework for
ICT4Development. Subsequently, lecturers from CIS will teach you how to
analyse a development problem and introduce the analytical methods
required for an indepth understanding of a potential development support
project. Lecturers from CS will provide some initial technological
knowledge required for running an ICT project in a developing country,
such as Voice technology or database technology on small, inexpensive,
hardware. It will give an overview over technology already applied, such
as specific networks, connection types, hardware as well as specific
software environments, but also introduce basic concepts in project
management for ICT projects.

In lectures, you will first be introduced to a number of tools,
techniques and programming languages that can be used for ICT4D
projects. We will introduce case studies, highlight real-world ICT4D
projects, both from inside and outside academia. We will discuss
requirements and strategies used in the projects. We will present a
number of initiatives in which the VU is involved in. To prepare for the
lectures, you will read related literature provided by the lecturers.

In the tutorial lectures, students will first get familiar with the
tools and techniques introduced in the practical lectures. We will
assess your skills in assignments.

Form of tuition

The course will be a combination of lectures and project work.

Type of assessment

Practical assignment

Course reading

Collection of papers.

Target audience

mAI, mCS, mIS

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