In keeping with the intoxicating open and democratic spirit in which Inge de Waard has crafted the MobiMOOC course this year (polling on topics, etc.), I have decided to try and make my week and topic of facilitation for MobiMOOC, ICT4D and M4D, as open and participatory as possible.

Inge and I are passionate about the transformative effects of technology for developing nations and developing regions within developed nations and hence the inclusion of a week of facilitation dedicated to ICT4D and particularly how mobile technology, being the most ubiquitous of all technology in the developed and developing world (by far), can facilitate development (and already has in some cases). So, we are building a week’s worth of discussion, presentations, activities, and collaboration around topics related to ICT4D. Being a participatory design process, we ask for your help in some of the following. To add your thoughts, please feel free to join the discussion on the Google Doc (and be sure to add your name so we can give you credit). Otherwise, feel free to add your comments to this post or contact me via email or contact us via Twitter or via the hashtag (#MobiMOOC). The following is broken down into these three sections:

  • Open Questions
  • Outline of Activities
  • Synchronous Presentations in Different Time Zones: Frontline SMS?

Open Questions

These are some questions that we have that have yet to be resolved, and with the fluid, dynamic nature of MOOC course creation, I doubt they ever fully will be. We are looking for an emerging agenda and curriculum as we progress towards September and the start of the course.

  • With one week of course activity, time is precious. What should we discuss?
  • What are the takeaways/goals from these activities?
  • What ICT4D projects would you like to see highlighted?
  • Are the proposed discussion prompts/activities useful? What would you add?
  • Would you find an overview/installation presentation for a particular tool, Frontline SMS, to be useful?
  • The Notes sections are dependent on whatever structure we decide upon but please feel free to add as you see fit.
  • What resources should we add?

Outline of Activities

So, here is what we are planning to do in Week 3 of MobiMOOC 2012 (running the week of September 24th). All of this is found in more detail on the Google Doc, but for the sake of brevity please find an abbreviated outline below.

  1. September 22th: Introduce facilitator(s), introductory materials, readings for the week, case studies.
  2. September 23rd: Introduce/schedule times for synchronous presentation
  3. September 24th: Discussions on past experiences with ICT4D and M4D within the group, introduction of case studies, split off into discussion groups for particular case study discussion. Introduce tools used in ICt4D, M4D for data collection and networking including Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, and others. Discuss strengths/weaknesses/group experiences with each.
  4. September 27th: synchronous presentation on using FrontlineSMS for development needs. Presentation will be available via Elluminate (or another less resource intensive webcasting tool), recorded, and made available as an OER. There will be three presentations across three swaths of time zone allowing for greater participation and, hopefully, highlighting the various regional applications of FrontlineSMS. This is tentative, but the time zones we are considering are a>Africa/Europe (based in West Africa), b>India, c>Southeast Asia and, if possible, d>Americas. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions during, or if time runs short, after the presentation on the Google Groups discussion board.
  5. September 27-30: Remainder of the week will be spent collaborations on participant projects, outlining a potential use of FrontlineSMS for particular mobile needs, and highlighting additional resources.

Does this sound reasonable in terms of delivery? Pedagogically sound? Useful on a pragmatic level? We are certainly open to any and all suggestions.

Synchronous Presentations in Different Time Zones: Frontline SMS?

As one of the touchstones of this week’s worth of MobiMOOC activities, we are planning on hosting a synchronous presentation outlining a particular tool, most likely FrontlineSMS. This presentation will be webcast, recorded, and made available as an OER. In this presentation, we are looking to do the following:

  • Introduce the tool: What it does, what it is intended to do
  • Outline the presenter’s experience with the tool
  • Regional applications of how the tool is being used
  • A quick outline of how to install it and get it up and running

We are attempting to account for different time zones by hosting at least three of these presentations for the following regions. The location of the proposed presenter is in parenthesis:

  • Africa/Europe (Mali)
  • India (Bangalore)
  • Asia (Vietnam)
  • Americas (*undecided)

If we were able to pull this off, we would record all the presentations and make them all available as they would all, ideally, highlight different regional applications of the tool. We would try to use webcasting technology that would allow for the broadest possible participation (ie, be the least bandwidth and resource intensive as possible). The videos will all be accessible as OER.

So this the outline of what we have to date. Anyone have thoughts, suggestions, or even words of caution towards any of what I have outlined to date?

And if you haven’t already done so, please sign up for MobiMOOC. Last year, we had 500+ participants and I am guessing quite a bit more than that this year. A dynamic, active bunch to say the least. In the meantime, help us design the course.

All my best!

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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