Posts Tagged ‘on-line education’

Last summer I had the chance to meet with War Child in Holland to talk about our shared excitement and common challenges in using social media and ICTs in program work (eg., to further program goals and as enablers in community level work with children and youth). I met Ernst Suur there, and over the past several months we’ve been trying to find an on-line Masters Degree in ICT4D. There are a couple places that are considering this type of course in the future, but we were not able to lay our fingers on anything concrete at this point.  As Ernst says: Isn’t it funny that you can learn online how to knit, but ICT4D isn’t taught much online yet?

The constraints that both Ernst and I have are that we work full-time (and then some) at jobs that require a lot of travel so it’s impossible to attend a normal schedule of university classes. We also live on salaries that don’t leave extra for furthering our education and we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives in debt. We would like a program that is not completely focused on the technology, but that instead really goes into depth on how ICTs can enable better processes, results and outcomes in development work. We are both working on program initiatives that would benefit from focused ICT4D research and deeper thinking that a guided process of shared learning and discussion could provide. We work with colleagues across our organizations who, like us, are interested in and would benefit from more systematic learning and focused ICT4D capacity strengthening but who are also not in a position to attend traditional university courses (or these courses are simply not offered where we live).

We are assuming that there are others out there from other organizations in similar conditions with similar interests. For example, at the October 2010 International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM) in Boston there was mention of the need for further education opportunities on ICTs in Crisis Situations.

After doing some on-line research to find options and contacting some individuals, Ernst and I thought a next step would be to do a bit of crowd sourcing to find out if there is something that already exists that we are missing. As Ernst said: Better well stolen than badly invented.

If anyone has any thoughts, please share them in the comments section or contact me at lindaraftree at gmail.

For example:

  • Are there existing on-line masters level courses that we have missed out on in our desktop research?
  • If you could design an on-line ICT4D masters program that would fit your needs, what would it look like – eg, would there be face-to-face meetings? How often and for how long? Where?
  • What are the key topics/areas/disciplines that would be covered in an on-line ICT4D course?
  • What would some of the required courses be and who could teach us?
  • What would a reasonable cost be?
  • Who might be willing to offer scholarships for this type of study course? Eg., in whose interest is it to strengthen these capacities?

Please share your thoughts and ideas so we can build a strong case, because we believe that ICT4D should walk the talk and talk the walk and make online higher education and distance learning available for everyone.

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