TASCHA Research Seminar, Winter 2010

Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) research seminars offer students an opportunity to gain practical research experience with one of our many projects investigating the design, use, and impact of information and communication technologies in communities facing social and economic challenges.

The Winter 2010 section — course number INFX 571D — focuses on the Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies, a five-year, $7.2-million international research project sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries initiative and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The goal of the study is to generate evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access to information and communication technologies. Looking at libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés, the study investigates impact in a number of areas, including communication and leisure, culture and language, education, employment and income, governance, and health.

The seminars provide opportunities to participate in different aspects of the project.

Inventory Database

This seminar will bring students together to help with the development of a web application and database of an inventory of public access venues in Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Lithuania, and the Philippines. The inventory is an activity within the study and has collected location, classification, and other descriptive data associated with each venue. As a part of the study’s open research approach, TASCHA has developed an online database to publicly share the inventory data and to add power to the user viewing experience by providing mapping and data visualization tools. Students will work with a team to enhance web access to the Global Impact Study data. The seminar is co-taught by Chris Rothschild and Alex Tulinsky.

Benefit Cost Analysis

This seminar is designed to parallel the research process for scholars and practitioners interested in benefit-cost analysis (BCA). The BCA seminar will allow students to participate in three valuable research processes: research design, data analysis, and presentation of policy-relevant findings. The BCA course is an excellent choice for individuals seeking experience applying academic analysis tools to real-world case studies and individuals seeking experience presenting research findings to influence policy decisions. Interested students may join for one quarter, but are encouraged to view this project as an opportunity to work on a project for both winter and spring quarters.  The seminar is co-taught by Araba Sey and Tyler Davis.