INTRODUCING AN INNOVATION: A FACULTY HANDBOOK FOR SERVICE-LEARNING IN AN ICTS AND DEVELOPMENT COURSE

R. Colle

Cornell University (UNITED STATES)
First, we take a look at the results of an innovation that appeared in Vietnam in 2004. It is one of the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) success stories related to communication and development. Initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2004, the project is called eLangViet (eVietnameseVillage). It involves the creation of an intranet system for bringing easy-to-understand Vietnamese-language information and guidance to the grassroots of Vietnam through community-based rural telecentres with a focus is on health, education, agricultural production crafts, and trade. Ultimately the goal is to strengthen Viet Nam's domestic market, contribute to the improvement of the general welfare and reduce poverty.

Second, we look at important development news on the international level. In September 2015, the member states of the United Nations met in New York to adopt the post-2015 "sustainable development goals" (SDG), These SDGs are a new set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their development agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. A visual from a web page that discusses those goals is what drives this paper.

The picture clearly suggests a role for information and communication technologies in the new development goals. Although the teaching of communication and development has been going on in universities for decades, the teaching of information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) is relatively new. In 2012, the UN created the Asia and Pacific Training Center for Information and Communication Technologies for Development (APCICT). One part of its program has been to introduce the teaching of ICT for development in university programs in the Asia-Pacific region and thereby to train future leaders in the constructive uses of ICTs. A recent innovation by APCICT is to add the service-learning strategy to the teaching of ICTD courses. Service-learning can be defined as "a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities [through a credit-bearing university course.]" There is specific emphasis on the need to accompany the benefits to student learning with meaningful benefits to the community that are identified by the community.

A major step in this innovation is the preparation of a Faculty Handbook that introduces and guides faculty members in the teaching and management of a credit-bearing service-learning course specifically related to communication, ICTs and development. APCICT and Cornell University developed the Handbook and its review by a panel of international experts in the field. It specifically emphasizes student engagement in community development. The Handbook includes ideas for learning activities during the pre-engagement, engagement, and post engagement parts of an ICTD service-learning course – as well as suggestions on readings and references for students to use during the course.

Our paper describes the Handbook and especially the steps in getting it reviewed by an international panel of experts in the field and getting it adopted and used by universities' faculty and staff.