Jan 2008

Course Web Site: www.Design4Dev.com

News Coverage from: The Economic Times of India

Design for Development: Developing Technologies for Developing Economie

Design for Development: Developing Technologies for Developing Economies was an experimental UCSD course taught remotely from India, via Skype. 20 students from multiple disciplines explored the effects of technology on social change by generating numerous case studies and several prototypes. Guest Lecturers from India were organized to speak to the students; these included individuals from various organizations, from the World Bank to Microsoft Research.

This class sought to connect UCSD students to the problems and the potential found within the developing economies of the world. Through an innovative syllabus and class structure, “Design for Development” provided students the opportunity to prototype sophisticated technologies for social change. This class extended the interventionist design discourse of Social Architectures (Spring 2007) to the perceived needs of the developing world.

Remote Pedagogy:
This class was taught from India through a variety of contemporary web-technologies. While it might initially seem like an undesirable challenge teaching a class at UC San Diego from Mumbai, India, the pedagogical opportunities were substantial. While contemporary technology has only recently reached a point where classes could be taught remotely, rarely is there a reason why classes should be taught from afar. This subject material required students to develop a tightly knit understanding and empathy for the realities of the developing world. By conducting this class remotely, my role extended from a lecturer to a informational agent in the field. Secondly, distance education itself is a technology that is being widely considered for its potential to enhance the knowledge capital of developing economies. As students negotiated the technologically mediated educational experience, they had the opportunity to critique (and potentially improve) distance education. Finally, through the enactment of this class, we generated new institutional knowledge about distance education and tele-presence, hopefully facilitating future remote educational opportunities

This class sought to:
…to facilitate an interdisciplinary discourse on the relationship between design, technology and social change

…to generate design methodologies for successfully introducing beneficial new technologies within developing countries

…to cultivate an understanding of economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability

…to ensure that student assignments act as public resources through our class wiki

…to develop new strategies for remote teaching

…to promote peer learning and interdisciplinary collaboration

…to provide first-hand documentation of conditions within developing countries, in order to enhance the empathy and understanding held by students, during our remote design process