TASCHA Research Seminar offers students an opportunity to get involved


We are often asked how students can get involved with the work that we do at TASCHA. During Winter Quarter 2017, TASCHA is leading a Research Seminar in the Information School (INFX 571), offering students a chance to get real world ICTD and research experience.

INFX 571: TASCHA Research Seminar

How can information and communication technologies (ICTs) improve the lives of people living in resource constrained environments? The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) is an applied research center at the Information School dedicated to generating insights and innovations around this question. With experience in over 50 countries, TASCHA’s research programs have driven change in several sectors, especially public libraries, and influenced global policy discourses. The TASCHA Research Seminar offers students the opportunity to gain experience working on the center’s current research. The type of activity varies quarter by quarter. Typically, there are multiple research opportunities and students will split into teams to match student interests with center priorities.

Options for Winter Quarter 2017

Mobile Information Literacy

For billions of people coming online around the world, the mobile phone (and increasingly a smartphone) is their point of entry to the internet. This has potentially profound implications for how people interact with information, including one’s conceptualization of the internet itself. The different affordances and limitations of the PC and the mobile phone influence how people search, how much and what types of information people produce, uses of social media, safety and security considerations, and other information behaviors. TASCHA’s work in this area aims to (1) identify and better understand the information behavior differences between PC and mobile phone uses, (2) create a digital and information literacy framework outlining the different competencies and skills needed for mobile-first and mobile-centric populations, (3) develop digital and information literacy curricula targeting the specific needs of mobile-first and mobile-centric users, and (4) work with other organizations and public libraries to adapt these curricula for different contexts.

TASCHA’s work in Myanmar produced an initial set of learning modules, and the priority for Winter 2017 is to adapt and extend this curriculum for Kenya. There are several planned activities for Winter 2017. The type of work students will engage in will depend on their skill sets and interests, but could include:

  • Conducting literature reviews and reports on topics related to: information and digital literacy (with a focus on device differences between PCs and mobiles), country comparisons of mobile phone environments), and others.
  • Creating curriculum content and training materials for a project in Kenya
  • Contributing to the development of a mobile information literacy framework
  • Building tools (e.g. instructional videos, applications, webinars, web platforms) to effectively deliver Mobile Information Literacy curriculum and training
  • Developing monitoring and evaluation protocols and carrying out activities to measure the efficacy and impact of the Mobile Information Literacy curriculum, trainings, and other activities

Future of Libraries: What are the big questions?

Advances in communication technologies have expanded possibilities for economic and social development around the globe. One critical, yet often overlooked, community-based asset is the world’s 300,000 public libraries. While many libraries have developed innovative programs and services to help individuals and communities thrive in the knowledge society, much work remains to be done. TASCHA, in collaboration with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the Public Library Association, is embarking on a long-term effort in support of a vision where every public library is a driver of community development. In achieving this vision, what advances, breakthroughs, innovations, or other changes need to occur? To guide our work in this area, TASCHA will be developing a collection of priority questions in cooperation with leading thinkers inside and outside the library field (one model is the World Bank’s 2005 ICTs in education challenges and research questions). For Winter 2017, students will work with TASCHA researchers to develop a public report that synthesizes current knowledge and emergent ideas about the future of libraries. This report will form the basis of a dialogue to surface and prioritize the big questions facing the field. Seminar activities will include:

  • Conducting reviews of academic and grey literatures
  • Monitoring conversations on listservs, social media, and other media
  • Analyzing collected materials for trends and gaps
  • Writing report sections

Details

  • Time & location: To be arranged
  • Open to all graduate students
  • Students with any level or type of technology and research ability are welcome in this course.
  • The course will be 3-credits and graded CR/NC.
  • Go here to register. For more information, please email tascha (at) uw (dot) edu.

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