Course Information

Course Description

The 6ect course ‘Information and Communication Technology in a different culture’ is intended as an international broadening course to explore levels, practice and opportunities & threats for Information and Communication Technology in a non-western context. Each year, some specific context is chosen, referred to as the country of interest. This context is further refined by specific research projects. In 2008/2009 students will focus their research on South Africa, of which different aspects of ICT will be evaluated. A part of this research will be in South Africa itself. A student trip to South Africa will be part of the course.



As a result of active participation in the student trip and a substantive study of literature, the student will be able for the specific situation in the country of interest:

  1. To describe the overall economic situation, and the governmental policy relating to it. Furthermore also the situation on micro economic level; trained and untrained people, employees of small businesses, unemployed and people living in rural and urban areas.
  2. To describe the educational level of the schools and universities, and the governmental policy towards it. Also the policy towards people without access or with difficult access to education, and its corresponding educational level. 
  3. Outline how the different levels described in B answer the demand of the market, and also how the levels compare to the Dutch educational levels. 
  4. To indicate the opportunities for Computing Science and Information Science research for both universities and industry. 
  5. To indicate current ICT utilisation in at the universities, government and industry both in the urban as well as in the rural areas. Hereby you will focus on the type of demand, and to what extent the current level of access can answer this demand.
  6. To describe the current status of the infrastructure in the country of interest with special emphasis on availability of hardware (distribution and communication channels, supply of parts), opportunities for maintenance and available knowledge and skills (at several levels including the Dutch vocational levels MBO and HBO).
  7. To be able to motivate to your own insight which types of development work have the desired effect, and how they correlate with governmental policies.

After successful completion of the course, students are capable to provide a motivated answer on questions regarding the role of ICT in the country of interest, focusing on the one hand on usefulness and sensibility issues and on the other hand on feasibility restrictions and opportunities in the context of

  • Industry (in what sectors and what problems can be expected?)
  • Government (idem)
  • University (idem)

This should also includes cultural and other societal aspects of relevance.



The course is organized around a number of small research projects that preferably are supplied by companies participating in this course. Companies are invited to participate in this course, and to contribute interesting research projects. The course consists of three phases:

  1. Initial phase. The students formulate their research question, and prepare the research to be done during the visit in the country of interest. Also they prepare themselves son the specific cultural background of that (part of the) country. During this phase, the organization of the concluding seminar is set up
  2. The actual research
  3. Rounding off phase. During this phase, the students will finish their research report. Furthermore, they will organize a seminar in which the results are presented. Some extra activities are also organized during this seminar, such as guest speakers and a forum discussion.

The student work in groups on their research projects. At regular moments they provide feedback on the performance of the other members in their group. This feedback will be used during the assignment of an individual mark for each participant. After the initial phase there will be an intermediate mark. A positive intermediate mark is required to participate in phase two. The students also organize themselves for organization tasks such as the organization of the seminar. This contribution will also be part of the mark of each student.