Dr Kutoma Wakunuma created this new module to contribute towards DMU’s goals surrounding Social Good. It allows students to research the ICT issues of a chosen country, in the context of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What was the programme or module?
The module is called Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development (IMAT3112). It is an undergraduate module under the Business Computing Programme and has about 60 final year undergraduate students.
The module explores ICT use and implementation in such areas such as education, health, e-government and environmental sustainability within the context of the UNs SDGs. Students critically appraise the range of ICT issues within a developing country, chosen by themselves from the OECD ODA list. They research into issues that affect successful implementation of ICTs and give recommendations on the effective implementation of ICTs and how certain SDGs can be achieved through use of ICTs.
‘I found the module interesting especially as we were able to learn about different countries and their different needs. If I had to do it again, I would choose the same module’ – Student
Overview: This module allowed students to research the SDGs in relation to ICT issues within a chosen country. Students are enjoying this new module, and there are plans to add field trips to the module in the future, which would further enhance the students’ understanding of sustainability issues with ICT.
Context: The module came about as a way of contributing to DMU’s stand on achieving social good through, for example, the UNs SDGs, #DMUGlobal and DMU Square mile. ICTs play a crucial role in development, so, the idea was to develop a module with a specific focus on ICT for development in order to help students understand the role of ICTs for international development and how they can be used to achieve SDGs.
Description: The key practice is in allowing the students the opportunity to explore development issues of a country of their choice and contextualise the issues they explore within the prism of ICTs. In order to realise this aspect in practice, the module incorporates different activities by exploring and incorporating different ways of learning which have included a combination of discussion papers, case study evaluations, a mapping exercise on achieving SDGs and debates.
Evaluation: As this is a new module which has only started in this term, there is no current data to evaluate its success. However, signs are that students have enjoyed the module.
Next Steps: The plan is to continue to develop the module, not only based on student feedback but on possible field trips associated with ICT for Development such as conferences and visits. I had the opportunity to accompany some DMU students on a #DMUGlobal trip that was exploring the SDGs in Ahmedabad in India. For most students, this was an eye opening experience where they were able to understand the practicalities of development issues through visiting different projects. These included projects aimed at empowering underprivileged women and children, or on understanding how e-waste management was being managed. The students were therefore contributing to a sustainable environment as well as visiting an ICT organisation in the heart of the city to understand the development of ICT applications. This is something the module could incorporate on a regular basis in order to give students real life practical experiences.
‘I really enjoy the module because I can relate to the issues of my home country and how ICT can help it improve’ – Student
Why are the SDGs important to this subject?
It is important because it provides students an opportunity to contribute towards helping solve some of society’s challenges. In addition, it is quite fulfilling for students to be able to have the opportunity to assess a specific country they feel passionate about and provide recommendations for how that country might use ICTs for development. Doing this in an education set-up through the prism of goals set out by an international body such as the UN enables students to have the opportunity to contribute to a global agenda in their own way, however small or big that might be.
Although all the 17 Goals are relevant particularly within the discourse of ICTs, the following are most pertinent as the themes are particularly important when looking at development:
- SDG 1. No Poverty
- SDG 3. Health and Well Being
- SDG 4. Quality Education
- SDG5. Gender Equality
- SDG 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- SDG 13. Climate Change
- SDG 17. Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development
I believe one cannot talk about development without addressing the above. That said, students are encouraged to look at other goals they are passionate about as they embark on their country selection.
‘I liked the SDG selector because it has helped us understand the pressing SDGs associated with a country. I also like the layout of the report template because it has made the whole report writing a lot easier’ – Student‘
What would you recommend to colleagues considering adopting a similar approach?
Making the module democratic which makes everyone feel valued. For example in this module, students are encouraged to select a developing country of their choice from the OECD ODA list that they find interesting to appraise and their own domain areas within which to discuss the ICT issues and implementation recommendations they see as fitting to achieve specific SDGs they are passionate about.
What doesn’t work?
As this is a new module, we are yet to evaluation what doesn’t work and consequently work towards making the necessary improvements
‘The case studies are helpful and interesting. They give us a real-life perspectives to how digitalisation can help developing countries’ – Student
Contact: Module Leader, Dr Kutoma Wakunuma, email@example.com, 0116 207 8993
This post is one of a series of case studies describing teaching and learning activities linked to the SDGs at DMU.