University of California School of Information 
i190 Spring 2014
Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICTD) in Practice
Graduate Level, 3 Credits

Course Overview

Time and Venue: Mon & Wed: 11am-12:30pm, UC Berkeley iSchool (School of Information) South Hall Room 202 
Class Website: i190Spring2014.sanng.com
Email List: see Announcements page to sign up for announcements
Facebook: Internal Class Discussion Group
Lecturer: San Ng (San's website and San's iSchool page )
Teaching Assistant: Ishita Ghosh
Contact: san at sanng dot com or see other ways to connect
Office: Room 6, UC Berkeley iSchool
Student Hours: By Appointment

Course Description

This course aims to provide students with an overview of the many dynamic and inter-disciplinary skills that are required for successful practice in the field of ICTD.

Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICTD or ICTD) is the broad study of information technology to alleviate poverty and stimulate development (economic, social and human) in developing and transitional countries. In the last 15 years, there has been a exponential expansion in the number of ICTD projects, but not sufficient human skills to design and manage them, leading to a 'forever-pilot' culture and a rather dismal failure rate. Successful oversight of these projects requires a combination of interdisciplinary and dynamic skills. This course serves to introduce students to these skills under three areas of competencies:

A. Contextual: Broader conceptual, policy-level frameworks of understanding the landscape of ICTD.

B. Technical: The different ways in which ICTs, through E-applications, can contribute to socio-economic development. While specific computer skills are important, this course given its broad reach will focus on applications.

C. Management: Methods and techniques of project/program planning and management including assessment, design, funding, implementation and evaluation.

Along with these areas, we will explore cross cutting themes such as politics, gender, culture and the reality of development work.

Students will be introduced to these skills through lectures, discussions (face-to face and web/blog), as well as application to cases (possibly live consulting cases). Expect to have a lot of fun while working hard, not unlike development work in real life!

Course Objectives

This course is intended for students pursuing an advanced degree in Development, Political Science, Economics or related fields. At the end of the course, participants will have been provided with an overview of:
  • conceptual frameworks to understand the process and key debates of international development and ICTD 
  • the technical applications of ICTs through E-applications to promote development; and 
  • management skills to help in the effective planning, development, implementation and management of ICTD projects 

Teaching Strategies

From the lectures and discussions (both face-to-face and online), you will glean an overview of the importance of the three areas of competencies. Case studies will allow you to apply these skills to real world practice. Specifics include:
  • Student blog posts and online discussions : Each student will produce two related blog posts through the semester, and all other students will discuss the post via ‘comments’ and ‘links’ to relevant resources. This also creates a public online sharing and learning environment. 
  • On-line learning: students will be able to interact privately through a virtual class discussion group (A Closed Facebook Group is the proposed platform)
  • Presentations and discussions with practitioners in specific IC4TD fields
  • Consulting projects: Students will form groups to tackle one consulting type case. Where possible, these cases will be live, with real clients. 

Course Outline and Readings

Please note that the course schedule and readings will be under AGILE development during the semester to be responsive. PLEASE REFER TO THIS CLASS WEBSITE EACH WEEK FOR WEEKLY CLASS PREPARATIONS. Typically, materials for use in class discussion will be made available at least one week prior to class. Readings will be posted to the course schedule. Other useful books, readings, videos and other resources will be periodically updated here
WEEK 1: (Conceptual) Introduction to Course
WEEK 2: (Conceptual) What is Development?
WEEK 3: (Conceptual) What is Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICTD)?
WEEK 4: (Conceptual) Who Does What in Practice? Mapping the ICTD Landscape 

WEEK 5: (Technical Application) Overarching Issues of Technical Applications
WEEK 6: (Technical Application) Infrastructure, Telecenters, Agriculture,
WEEK 7: (Technical Application) Health, Education, Microfinance
WEEK 8: (Technical Application) Governance and Law
WEEK 9: (Project Management) Introduction to Project Management
WEEK 11: (Project Management) Planning and Assessment
WEEK 12: (Project Management) Budgeting, Scheduling and Fundraising
WEEK 13: (Project Management) Implementation
WEEK 14: (Project Management) Monitoring and Evaluation
WEEK 15: Course Wrap Up
WEEK 16: Final Presentations and Reports

Please see the course schedule for details, readings by week and assignments due.

Grading and Evaluation

Grades will be determined primarily by a student’s performance on group projects, individual blog posts and class participation. Blog postings and discussions form half of the grading, while the project will be the other major deliverable of the class. The class will not be graded on a curve. General policies regarding the grading system as established by the University of Berkeley will be followed. Individual weights for the various components of the course are as follows:

Blog 1


Blog 2


Project Proposal and Monthly Consulting Invoices


Project Final Report and Presentation


Class Participation and blog discussions


The instructor reserves the right to adjust the final grade based on individual effort (or lack thereof).

Course Policies

This course will be conducted in a manner consistent with official policies of UC Berkeley.