In this course, you will learn:
1. The importance of ICTs for the developing world and the unexpected
way developing countries are leapfrogging into the information age. More
specifically, the students will be able to describe and discuss
examples, their connections and larger trends in ICT4D.
2. The opportunities and challenges that exist for an information
scientist in the area of 'ICT4development'. Students will be able to
connect existing development problems to information science solutions.
They will be able to perform basic requirements engineering based on
problem descriptions and critically assess their proposed solutions with
respect to the
3. The influence of context in a typical ICT4D project. Students will be
able to properly describe contextual factors and how it influences ICT
requirements engineering, design and evaluation.
a. Students will also be able to abstract this knowledge and apply it in
a new (non-development) context .
4. The complexity of deploying an ICT project within a development
context, and how to tackle this. Students can describe an ICT problem
and project from user-, technical, cultural and contextual perspective
and discuss dependencies.
5. The benefits and pitfalls of “Open Data for Development”. Students
can connect current developments in the Open Data movement to
development issues. Students are able to describe potential benefits of
the sharing of specific datasets and are able to describe the usage of
this data in their solutions.
Additionally, you will gain the following skills specific to an ICT
deployment in a developing country.:
6. Some initial project management. This includes the skill of writing a
project plan, a context description and a deployment plan – in
collaboration with their peers.
7. Some technological skills including hardware analysis (Voice
8. Programming skills (VOICEXML). Specifically, students are able to
program small prototype applications. Students are also able to discuss
design considerations specifically with respect to these programming
9. Students are able to abstract away from the development context and
transfer the learned skills to other application contexts. This includes
the ability to reflect in writing on the learned skills and their
applicability for ICT projects in- and outside of International
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:
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 and d) the benefits
and pitfalls of “Open Data for Development”
To equip the students with some initial project management,
technological and programming skills specific to an ICT deployment in a
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. Furthermore, this course will
give Computer Science students an opportunity to apply previously
acquired knowledge and skills in a specific application environment and
be able to transfer these skills to new application domains.
This course gives an introduction to the relatively new field of ICT4D
and will be given jointly by 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 expertise.
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, 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 various
backgrounds will provide some initial technological knowledge required
for running an ICT project in a developing country. 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. We will specifically focus on voice-based applications.
In lectures, you will 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. The knowledge and insight
gaine in these lectures are assessed using an individual portfolio and
an ICT4D essay.
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 three iterative assignments.
Form of tuition
The course will be a combination of lectures (including guest lectures)
and project work.
Type of assessment
Practical assignment (Group assignment)
ICT4D Essay (Individual)
Collection of papers (to be provided during the course)
mAI, mCS, mIS