Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Anthropology

Undergraduate Course: Digital Global Development (SCAN10092)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) 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 organizations 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; aid programmes to support the livelihoods of people in crisis increasingly frame access to online work and remote learning as a humanitarian response mechanism. 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 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
Pre-requisitesVisiting students are welcome to take this course. Some background in the field of international development will be beneficial, but is no prerequisite.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Mid-term essay of max. 1000 words: 30%
Final report of max. 3000 words: 70%
Feedback Mid-term essays will be returned with feedback before submission of the final essay.
Final reports will be returned with feedback within the general timeframe set out by the School.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of some of the key areas of international development as they relate to digital technology and ICTs, as well as knowledge of the practical applications and implications of digital technology in international development and humanitarianism.
  2. Demonstrate 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. Develop an 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. Demonstrate 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 By the end of the course, students will be equipped with new skills in:
1. Synthesizing and analyzing empirical and theoretical materials from a variety of sources, with particular emphasis on critical evaluation and thinking.
2. Examining, using, and assessing evidence from international development research and practice in support of explanatory and normative claims.
3. Developing and evaluating arguments that take different kinds of social complexity into account.
4. Exercising informed independent thought and critical judgment on a range of themes in international development.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Andreas Hackl
Tel: (0131 6)51 5357
Course secretaryMiss Karen Leung
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information