ICT4D in the Field 2019 – Community Service Learning by VU & UNIMAS


The annual project-based field course “ICT for Development In The Field” will be given this year for the second time, coordinated by VU together with UNIMAS, the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

This course offers master students Information Science, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence a unique experience, as it involves close collaboration with local rural and often poor communities in Sarawak Malaysia, and aims for a full cycle of design, development and deployment/roll-out in the fieldof an ICT project, information system or service that is demonstrably valuable for local communities. (Download the brochure).

ICT4D addresses problems of and solutions for the “unconnected people in the world”. Currently, this is about 47 % of the world’s population, of whom the majority lives in poor, remote, often rural, regions of the world. The course has a Community Service Learning character, and gives students the opportunity to carry out and learn from a field-based ICT development, implementation and deployment project in and with a local rural community.
The main body of this course consists of 2-3 weeks of field work in a local “kampung” community in Sarawak, Malaysia, related to an ICT development project on a specific use case, and aiming for a real-world implementation, roll-out and test.As a preparation to the field work, there is a first week of introductory lectures and assignments, including (i) context, use case and requirements elicitation and analysis; (ii) conceptual modelling of information systems; (iii) selected technical aspects of ICT4D projects; (iv) value modelling and economic sustainability analysis; (v) guidelines and protocols for working with local communities.
In the last week, a final plenary conference is held, in which all course participants present, share and discuss their ICT4D project results and experiences.
The course is taught and supervised jointly by academic staff from the VU Informatics Department and academic staff from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology of UNIMAS.

It is a follow-on course related to the (classroom -based) course ICT4D at VU (X_405101). The latter will (a.o.) include various possibilities for studying the community use cases and their implementation in Malaysia, so that students are well prepared for the field work to be done.
The course takes place in June 2019 in Malaysia (period 6). Students will be accommodated near the university campus in Kuching, Sarawak for a period of 4 weeks in June 2019. The course will be affordable for participating students, although an own contribution (of about 500 EUR) is to be expected. VU strongly encourages engagement in societally important research and education, and therefore awards (a limited number of) VU student grants for participation in this course.