A bunch of ideas and information came in via the comments section that helped us to figure out what is happening in the space, including info about ICT4D advanced degrees options, short courses, related courses, etc.
In addition to following up with a couple established universities to see if (and when) they might be offering Masters level ICT4D programs, Ernst and I had a skype meeting with Mark Weingarten and Nick Martin, the folks over at TechChange (the Institute for Technology and Social Change).
TechChange is a new organization dedicated to training practitioners and students to effectively leverage emerging technologies for social change. They are building tools and courses for ICT4D and have already partnered with a number of universities — eg., American University, George Washington University, the UN University for Peace — to deliver face-to-face courses in topics like ‘technology for crisis response’ and ‘social media for social change.’ They also have upcoming projects planned with U4Ushahidi, Souktel, and FrontlineSMS. In addition to in-person trainings, TechChange is designing learning tools for use in online courses and degree programs.
As Mark commented, ‘We are developing curricula for practitioners (including those working in the field), and recognizing that needs and schedules vary. Some people and organizations might want to quickly learn how to use specific ICT tools, but others may want a more in-depth understanding of the entire ICT4D ecosystem, its successes, its failures, and where things are headed in the future. We want to better understand this range of needs and tailor our courses. We’re also interested in knowing more about what else is being done in this space and what other examples we can learn from.’
In order to get some wider input, we invite you to join us for a twitter chat on ICT4D Distance Learning on Friday, January 14th at 11 am EST. The hashtag will be #ICT4DDL.
We will cover 5 questions:
- Topics: What sorts of courses would interest you most? What topics are most relevant?
- Timing: What timeframe for distance learning courses would best suit your schedule and needs? Short-term courses on specific topics (or tools) vs. more in-depth courses? 3 hr modules or ten week facilitated trainings?
- Credit: How important are things like credit or degree programs? Are certifications enough?
- Skills: What skills would you like to gain as a participant – considering 1) university students just entering the field and 2) practitioners taking professional development courses.
- Delivery: How does connectivity affect your ability to take courses? What about in the case of others who might be interested in this type of training but are not on Twitter/online as often? Is a mobile option a good idea?
Tips for a good Twitter Chat:
- Login 5 mins ahead of time and be ready with a short introduction (eg, Cathy here, I manage maternal health pgms at XYZ in Malawi, we’re just getting started with ICT4D).
- Tools like TweetChat which automatically add the hashtag and refresh often are helpful to keep up with the conversation.
We look forward to chatting on Friday, January 14th at 11 am EST and welcome any questions or comments before then!
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