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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Digital Global Development (PGSP11573)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on the role of digital technology in international development and humanitarian aid. Some of the most fundamental transformations in the aid sector have recently been driven by new technologies and the internet: international organisations use blockchain technology to track funding transmissions and ease transfers of migrant remittances, while new forms of communication, identification technologies, and digital payment solutions are redefining how aid is delivered and received. Moreover, aid programmes to support the livelihoods of people in crisis increasingly tap into new form of online and remote work. In the UK and elsewhere, government aid departments see the use of digital technology as an opportunity to get `better value for money` by modernizing aid bureaucracies and making aid delivery more effective. The course will critically examine these and other new trends in aid and give students a solid foundation to understand and analyse digital global development.
Course description This course will equip students with a sound understanding of the implications and applications of digital technology in development and humanitarianism. Students will build important knowledge about the current practice of digital global development, while also learning how to critically examine development practice from an independent researcher`s perspective, building on the multi-disciplinary research in this field.

Some of the themes that will be covered in the course include background on how inequality and digital technology are related, as well as key themes such as the digital economy, the use of ICTs in development and humanitarian aid, and digital solutions for refugees. Throughout the course, students will learn to critically analyse development practice with the help of published research on each theme. Each session therefore combines a practice-oriented perspective with critical research and analysis.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Mid-term essay: 30%
Final report: 70%
Feedback - Mid-term essays will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission. Additional general feedback will be provided in one of the workshop sessions with the aim to improve writing practice.
- Final reports will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission. Sufficient guidance about what is expected will be provided throughout the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Extensive and detailed knowledge of the practical applications and implications of digital technology in international development and humanitarianism.
  2. A critical awareness of major debates and developments in the scholarship of digital global development, and a capacity to engage them creatively and effectively in professional and scholarly discussion
  3. The ability to critically examine and synthesize major themes of digital global development by drawing on theories, concepts, and principles in the wider field of international development.
  4. The ability to independently plan and execute an original project of research on digital global development, and to communicate this research through effective writing and solid argumentation.
Reading List
Dey, Bidit, Sorour, Karim & Filieri, Raffaele, 2015. ICTs in Developing Countries, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Graham, Mark, Isis Hjorth, and Vili Lehdonvirta. 2017. `Digital Labour and Development: Impacts of Global Digital Labour Platforms and the Gig Economy on Worker Livelihoods.` Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 23, 2: 135-62.

Hackl, Andreas. 2021. Towards decent work for young refugees and host communities in the digital platform economy in Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Egypt. International Labour Organization, Geneva.

Jacobsen, K.L., 2015. The Politics of Humanitarian Technology 1st ed., London: Routledge.

Robinson, Laura, Jeremy Schulz, Hopeton S. Dunn, Antonio A. Casilli, Paola Tubaro, Rod Carveth, Wenhong Chen, et al. 2020 `Digital Inequalities 3.0: Emergent Inequalities in the Information Age.` First Monday 25, 7.

Zwitter, A., Boisse-Despiaux, M. 2018. `Blockchain for humanitarian action and development aid.` International Journal of Humanitarian Action 3, 16.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Synthesizing and analysing advanced empirical and theoretical materials from a variety of sources, with particular emphasis on lateral thinking.
2. Examining, using, and assessing complex forms of evidence in support of explanatory and normative claims that are grounded in research.
3. Developing and evaluating original arguments that account for different forms of social complexity.
4. Exercising informed independent thought and critical judgment.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Andreas Hackl
Tel: (0131 6)51 5357
Course secretaryMr Adam Petras
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