ICT4D course

Amsterdam ICT4D course

Join for the international Master Course ICT for Development in the Field: Artificial Intelligence in and for the Global South.

What: 6 EC Elective Master Course, jointly given by VU Amsterdam, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) & University for Development Studies (UDS, Ghana).
Theme: Artificial Intelligence in & for the Global South
When: June 2021
Where: Global: Ghana, Malaysia, Amsterdam, Aurora-wide

The course is part of the “Digital Society and Global Citizenship” international program pilot of the Aurora European University  Alliance.

The course is open for selected Master students with a bachelor-level background in one of the digital fields (IS, CS, AI, Digital Humanities, and Social sciences).

If you are interested in participating, please send a motivation letter with study background information to the course director Dr. Anna Bon (a.bon@vu.nl).

Community Service Learning, going Global
In June 2021, the international 6 EC master course ICT for Development In The Field takes place. ICT4D addresses problems of
and solutions for the “unconnected people in the world”. This is close to half of the world’s population, most of whom live in poor, remote, often rural regions of the world, often in so-called developing low/middle-income countries. The course is co-produced by VUA, UDS, UNIMAS and Aurora. It offers master students a unique international experience on learning
for societal impact. Based on active and collaborative online international learning principles, it aims to discover and design ICT applications, information systems, apps or services developed in conversation with and provably valuable for local communities.

AI 4 Social Good, in & for the Global South
This year’s theme is Artificial Intelligence in & for the Global South. AI is at the centre of attention as an innovative ICT technology with a claimed wide range of beneficial application opportunities, although others express doubts and concerns. Heavy investments to boost AI and Data Science take place in the Global North.
What is (or seems to be) the case for the Global North may not be valid for the Global South. The course ‘ICT4D in the Field’ undertakes to critically investigate these matters in and for the Global South, giving due attention to the
specific contexts of people’s needs as well as different geographic, economic, cultural and socio-political contexts.

Course setup
Students work in groups focused on different geographies (countries or regions) in the South seeking to answer a number of key research questions:
a) What is the state-of-play regarding AI applications for Social Good relevant to people in the Global South? Points of reference are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ensuring food & nutrition security, reducing inequalities, health and well-being, etc.
b) What are foreseeable adverse consequences, risks and social impacts related to innovation through AIs, and how may they be mitigated?
c) In consequence, what are the implications for the application of AI specifically in the context of the respective Global South countries or regions, in terms of policies, regulation, investment, social entrepreneurship, education, civil/civic debate?
Early in the course, an open international Webinar “What is AI and what can it be used for?” is organized. It provides technology
introductions to AI by guest speakers from academia and industry, highlighting current
real-world applications of AI.

Active 21st century collaborative learning
Students work in groups on essay assignments on the above research questions. This is open-ended and creative evidence-based work following an iterative “mixed-methods” approach to gathering empirical and design data. It includes reviewing relevant docs and literature, organizing and analyzing conversations with community stakeholders of potential “users” or “beneficiaries”, structured interviewing of experts and policymakers, and modelling and constructing a (prototype) design.
Produced essays are critically reviewed (also by students themselves). They can be iteratively improved and then serve as the baseline for the group’s final project report presented and discussed at a plenary conference at the end.

Entry requirements
This interdisciplinary course is open for selected master students of VUA, UDS, UNIMAS and Aurora universities, having bachelor-level knowledge or experience in a relevant digital field (e.g. IS, CS, AI, digital humanities, computational social sciences). For VUA students, knowledge equivalent to the ICT4D-1 course X_405101 is recommended.

A motivation letter and a follow-up personal
interview are required. Students interested in participating are requested to submit their letter to course director Dr. Anna Bon
(a.bon@vu.nl).

ICT4D course_

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