Information Technology for Development

Course Syllabus

Spring Semester, 2010.


Classroom: PKI 270; Meeting Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 12-1:15

Prerequisites:Basic knowledge of Information Technology applications

Professor: Dr. Sajda Qureshi; Office: PKI 173E. Phone/Voice: (402) 554-2837.
Consultation Hours: Anytime. Pass by if I am in my office or make an appointment.


Course URL: Blackboard

Course Description

Information Technology for Development (ITD) is the implementation and evaluation of information technology infrastructures to stimulate economic, social and human development. In this service-learning course, students will learn and apply ITD concepts for developing and adding value through IT by working with small business entrepreneurs in Omaha or rural Nebraska. Students will evaluate micro-business technology needs, prepare business technology plans, provide training, and implement appropriate solutions, to the extent possible within a semester class.

One of the main objectives of this course is to train student to apply their IT skills in ways that enable micro-enterprises to adopt IT in innovative ways. In doing so, the students learn to appreciate the challenges of entrepreneurship and develop technical training and trust building skills to address IT needs.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

This course is intended for students pursuing an advanced graduate degree who have had experience with working with micro-enterprises and/or want to conduct research intro how Information technology can enable development outcomes to be achieved. In particular, this course is designed for graduate students in Information Systems, Computer Science, Business Administration, Public Administration, and other areas who wish to learn the challenges, concepts, and skills associated with stimulating developing using information technology.

The learning objectives of the course are to:

  1. Learn about the theories, concepts and practices of using information technology to bring about economic, human, and social development.
  2. Explain the complexity of the role of ICT in development and identify and appraise the key debates in the area
  3. Compare and appraise the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin the study of ICT in Development
  4. Gain insight into the history, culture, and economy of underserved communities such as North Omaha, South Omaha, or rural Nebraska
  5. Understand the challenges and opportunities facing micro-enterprises in North, South Omaha, or rural Nebraska.
  6. Conduct through a process of IT therapy, conduct training and technology interventions with micro-enterprises.
  7. Research the information and technology needs of a micro-enterprise, evaluate the outcomes.Analyse the IT interventions in terms of IT for Development outcomes.

These learning objectives enable students to develop a strong theoretical foundation while giving them hands on experiences with applying IT for Development.

Course Pedagogy and Requirements

This is a service learning course. A great deal of the course involves interaction with micro-enterprise owners in the community. A critical aspect of IT for Development and this course in particular is learning to build relationships and communicate clearly in a cross-cultural setting. Students are likely to work with entrepreneurs who have different life experiences, beliefs, values, expectations, and technical expertise. Students will need to learn to appreciate these differences and use this understanding to develop productive relationships and contextually appropriate solutions.

Course Outline

Session / Topic / Required
Reading / Due
11, 13 Jan / What is Information Technology for Development? / Qureshi (2005)
18, 20 Jan / Applications of IT for Development / World Bank (2003)
25, 27 Jan / The global ITD landscape / Duncombe, Heeks,(2002), Qureshi, Kamal, Keen (2009)
1, 3 Feb / Microenterprises and entrepreneurship / Grosh, Somolekae, (1996), Honig, (1998).
8, 10 Feb / Information systems in microenterprises / Qureshi, S., Kamal, Wolcott. (2009),
15,17 Feb / Native American Perceptions / Qureshi and Lamsam
22, 24 Feb / Technology assimilation and adoption / Wolcott, Kamal, Qureshi (2008).
1, 3 March
8, 10 March
March 14-21 Spring Break
22, 24 March
29, 31 March
5, 7 April
12, 14 April
19, 21 April
26, 28 April / Final Presentations

The syllabus is subject to change as announced in class. Please note that the course schedule will be under development during the semester. Typically, supplemental readings for use in class discussion will be made available at least two weeks prior to discussion date.

Required Reading

  1. Duncombe, R., & Heeks, R. (2002). Enterprise across the Digital Divide: Information Systems and Rural Microenterprise in Botswana. Journal of International Development, 14 (1), January, 61-74.
  2. Grosh, B., & Somolekae, G. (1996). Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns: Can Microenterprise Serve as the Seedbed of Industrialization? World Development, 24(12), 1879-1890.
  3. Heeks, R. (2008). “ ICT4D2.0: The Next Phase of Applying ICT for International Development”, Computer, vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 26-33, Jun., 2008
  4. Honig, B. (1998). What Determines Success? Examining the Human, Financial, and Social Capital of Jamaican Microentrepreneurs. Journal of Business Venturing, 13(5), 371-394.
  5. Qureshi, S. (2005). How Does Information Technology Effect Development? Integrating Theory and Practice into a Process Model. Proceedings of the Eleventh Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), Omaha, NE: Association for Information Systems.
  6. Qureshi, S., Kamal, M., & P. Wolcott. (2009). Information Technology Therapy for Competitiveness in Micro-Enterprises. International Journal of E-Business Research, 5(1), 117-140.
  7. Qureshi, S., Kamal, S., and P. Keen(2009) “Knowledge Networking to overcome the Digital Divide” in King, B. “Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning” Series on Annals of Information System Springer.
  8. Riemenschneider, C.K., Harrison, D.A., & Mykytyn, P.P. (2003). Understanding It Adoption Decisions in Small Business: Integrating Current Theories. Information & Management, 40(4), 269-285.
  9. Schreiner, M., & Woller, G. (2003). Microenterprise Development Programs in the United States and in the Developing World. World Development 31(9), 1567-1580.
  10. Steinberg, J. (2003). Information Technology & Development Beyond "Either/Or". The Brookings Review 21(2), 45.
  11. Vargas, C.M. (2000). Community Development and Micro-Enterprises: Fostering Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development 8(1), 11-26.
  12. Warschauer, M. (2003). Demystifying the Digital Divide. Scientific American 289(2), 42.
  13. Wolcott, P., Kamal, M. & S. Qureshi (2008).Meeting the Challenges of ICT Adoption by Micro-enterprises. Journal of Enterprise Information Management. 21(6).
  14. World Bank, (2003). ICT & Development: Enabling the Information Society The World Bank Group, Global Information & Communication Technologies Department, p. 83.
  15. Zheng, Y.(2009). "Different spaces for e-development: What can we learn from the capability approach\&quest," Information. Technology for Development. (15:2) pp 66-82.

Supplemental Readings:

  1. Arce, A. (2003). Re-approaching social development: a field of action between social life and policy process. Journal of International Development, 15(7), 845-861.
  2. Avgerou, C.(1998) How can IT enable economic growth in developing countries? Information Technology for Development, (8:1).
  3. Braa, J. Monteiro, E. & S. Sahay. (2004). Networks of Action: Sustainable Health Information Systems across Developing Countries. MIS Quarterly, 28(3), 337-363.
  4. Cecchini, S. & C. Scott, (2003). Can information and communications technology applications contribute to poverty reduction? Lessons from rural India. Information Technology for Development, 10(2), 73-85.
  5. Gonzalez, C. (2008). Nebraska’s poverty rate rises; Iowa’s falls. Omaha World Herald, 1-2.
  6. Lee, Y. C. (2003). The Role of ICT in Enhancing the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, UN Millennium Project Presentation to the World Trade Organization.
  7. Minges, M., Gray, V. & E. Magpantay. (2003). World Telecommunication Development Report 2003: Access Indicators for the Information Society. Geneva: International Telecommunications Union.
  8. Qiang, C., Pitt, A., & S. Ayers. (2003). Contribution of Information and Communication Technologies to Growth. (World Bank Working Paper No. 24). World Bank.
  9. Reinhard, N., & Macadar, M.A. (2006). Governance and management in the Sao Paulo Public Telecenter Network., Information Technology for Development, 12(3), 241-246.
  10. Salvador, T., Sherry, J., & A. Urrutia, (2005). Less Cyber, More Café Enhancing existing small businesses across the digital divide with ICTs. Information Technology for Development, 11(1).
  11. Schumpeter, J. A. (2002). The Theory of Economic Development. Industry and Innovation, 9(1/2) 93-145.
  12. Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford:Oxford University Press.
  13. Walsham, G. and S. Sahay. (2006). Research on information systems in developing countries: Current landscape and future prospects. Information Technology for Development, 12(1). 7-24.

Evaluation Guidelines: Grades conform to the degree to which each of the requirements stressed in class is met in the various assignments and projects. To be eligible for a passing grade in the class, a student must complete all course requirements including, in-class assignments, essays, cases and projects by their deadlines and to the satisfaction of the instructor. Students are fully responsible for learning the content of this course and for material disseminated in the class. You are not released from this responsibility because of absences. The instructor may lower a student's final grade because of excessive absences. Please adhere to deadlines.


General policies regarding the grading system as established in the UNO catalogue will be followed. Individual weights for the various components of the course are as follows.

Research and Conceptual Development / 30%;
Conduct data collection / 40%;
Report or Submission of paper to conference / 25%;
Presentation / 10%;
Class Participation / 5%.

Your final grade is based on the percentage of points that you receive out of the total possible points for the course. A curve may be used to scale the entire class higher, if necessary, but scaling down will not be done.The total number of points divided by the total number of available points will determine your earned letter grade as follows:

98% - 100%: A+ (4.00) / 92% - 98%: A (4.00) / 92% - 90%: A- (3.67)
89% - 86%: B+ (3.33) / 86% - 82%: B (3.00) / 82% - 80%: B- (2,67)
79% - 76%: C+ (2.33) / 76% - 72%: C (2.00) / 72% - 70%: C- (1.67)
69% - 66%: D+ (1.33) / 62% - 66%: D (1.00) / 60% - 62%: D- (0.67)
0% - 59%: F.

Class Participation:This is compulsory. Grades for class participation will reflect the Instructor's perception of student quality and quantity of inputs to class learning. For example, this mayinclude activities such as: overall attendance, answer end-of-chapter exercises, read/discuss supplemental readings, participate in graded and other in-class tasks and case discussions, and engage and actively participate in group discussion sessions and activities.

Course Policies

This course will be conducted in a manner consistent with official policies of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and in a spirit of professionalism and integrity. Please read and follow the Student Code of Conduct at In addition, the following points deserve special emphasis.

Academic Integrity

The web has made it all too easy to copy material from all over the world and include it in your own reports and writing. Be aware that you must cite your web sources just as you would sources from printed material. To copy another’s ideas or writing and pass them off as your own is plagiarism. It is unethical and illegal. Dishonest students suffer the risk of failing this course and being expelled from the university. Remember, if you copy material verbatim from any source, including web sources, you must put quotation marks around the verbatim material and provide a citation to its source. Merely changing a word or two, so that the material is no longer verbatim, still is not enough to make those ideas your own. You must always cite the source. Citations should be made using APA or MLA citation guidelines in writing reports and assignments. A summary of the APA citation guidelines is available at and that for the MLA citation guidelines is available at

Late Assignments, Make-ups, and Incompletes

You are expected to turn in all assignments on time. Late assignments suffer a penalty of one letter grade per day. There are no make-ups for quizzes. Make-ups for exams are given only in extreme circumstances. Incomplete grades will not be given unless there are extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the instructor.

Score/Grade Appeals

Any grade you receive on an assignment or exam is subject to appeal. You must make the appeal in writing. However, score changes are at the discretion of the instructor and may be up or down based upon a complete review of the work. Final letter grades are assigned by the instructor, based on total score distribution at semester’s end. A grade reflects another’s judgment of your work. In this sense, all grading is subjective. Appealing scores on assignments is discouraged, since a few points rarely makes a difference in the final grade. Time is much better spent discussing/clarifying the information content presented in the course. Ask for work to be re-graded only in cases of real inequity.