University of Maryland University College
Graduate School of Management and Technology

in cooperation with

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Center for Research in Distance Education

Educational Technologies for Distance Education in Developing Countries

OMDE 626

Thomas Hülsmann with Prof. Dr. Michael Moore as visiting expert

(The Syllabus is subject to change)


This course is explorative in character. It examines the range of educational technologies that assist institutions in reaching various off-campus audiences (from print, through broadcasting to satellite links and computer-based systems). The course will examine the use of computers in school for (a) information science and computer studies (b) application to the general curriculum (c) access to internet (d) school linking. It will give an assessment of current and planned ventures including emerging rich-country policies and institutions, the changing role of the private sector, the role of conventional universities in relation to e-learning and the new international players (e.g. African Virtual University).


Within the context of this course students will:



Central text books for this course is
-- Mansell, R., Wehn, U. (Ed.). (1998). Knowledge societies: information technology for sustainable development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Frequent reference will still be made to the textbook of OMDE 625
-- Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world. London: Routledge.

Further journal articles and papers referenced in this syllabus will generally be supplied online.

It is strongly recommended that students purchase the Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th Ed.). As noted below, the ability to write to APA standards is a Graduate School requirement.


This course is only offered in the online mode.


To the final grade of this course two items will contribute:

Both, annotated bibliography and an edited overview of the conducted conference, will be included in the final project. The annotated bibliography will be absorbed into the 70% which the project contributes to the final grade.


Module 1: Knowledge societies or informational capitalism?
(Week 1 and 2)

The first module begins with an introduction to the CDE Distance Education in Developing Countries. It will situate this course, Educational Technologies for Distance Education in Developing Countries (OMDE 626), within the certificate program as a whole and especially relates it to the course Policies for Distance Education in Developing Countries (OMDE 625). While OMDE 625 approaches distance education in developing countries by examining the its history and the organizational models it developed to relate to its various audiences and analyzing their cost-effectiveness, OMDE 626 is more explorative in character and looks more specifically at the impact of information and communication technologies have on distance education in developing countries. There is a certain overlap in both courses since the issue of technology cannot be excluded from looking at policies and the question of policies and organizational models continues to be an issue in OMDE 626. The redundancies ensure that both courses can be studied independently or in reverse order.

First, participants will introduce each other and will be introduced into the setup for this course. As in OMDE 625, essential for the setup of this course is the role of the project. The project has to be chosen within the first five weeks. Each student develops his/her own project in three steps:

  1. presenting an annotated bibliography;
  2. preparing a project conference in which the project is outlined (in form of main topics) and central issues are prepared for discussion peers and faculty;
  3. writing up the final paper based on the literature identified in the annotated bibliography and the feedback received during the project conference.

This module sets the scene for this course. It discusses central concepts which form the backdrop of the discussion about using ICT in developing countries. Informational capitalism combines informationalism (mode of development) with capitalist restructuring (mode of production). Informational capitalism (information society, knowledge society) has considerable global impact which affects the developing countries. This module discusses the central concepts and reports on the complex issue of profiling the knowledge society.

Required readings:
-- Mansell, R., Wehn, U. (Ed.). (1998). Knowledge societies: information technology for sustainable development. (Chapter 2) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
-- Held, D., McGrew, A., Perraton, J. (2000). Global transformations: politics, economics and culture (Introduction, pp. 1-31). Cambridge: Polity.
-- Castells, M. (2000). The information age: economy, society and culture (Vol. I: The rise of the network society; Prologue, pp. 1-27, The new economy, pp. 77-162). Oxford: Blackwell.

Additional sources:
-- Bedi, A. S. (1999). The role of information and communication technologies in economic development. ZEF (Center for Development Research, Universität Bonn). Retrieved 02/28, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Castells, M. (2000). The information age: economy, society and culture (Vol. III: End of the millenium, Chapter 2, pp. 69-168). Oxford: Blackwell.
-- Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P., Trow, M. (1994). The new production of knowledge. London: SAGE.
-- UNDP. (2001). Human Development Report 2001: making new technologies work for human development. New York, Oxford: UNDP, Oxford University Press.
-- Schiller, D. (1999). Digital capitalism networking the global market system (Chapter 2: Going global: the neoliberal project in transnational telecommunications, pp. 37-88). Cambrige Mass.: MIT Press.
-- World Bank:. (1999). World Development Report: knowledge for development. (Part I, pp. 16-56) New York: Oxford University Press.

Module 2: Technology primer and the cybergeography of the digital divide (two weeks)
(Week 3 and 4)

This module briefs about information communication technologies, i.e. satellite based systems, terrestrial wireless systems, or wireline systems. It discusses principle features of the new ICTs such as digitization and networking. The digitization of different media and common standards of communication lead to technological convergence and substantial synergies. However, the cybergeography of the emerging global information infrastructure clearly shows uneven integration and access. While the importance of knowledge for the economies allegedly increases the gap between countries (developed/developing) and within countries (rural /urban) increases. Still it is agued that the costs of investing in ICT may be lower than the opportunity costs of not doing so.

Required readings:
-- Vanbuel, M.Improving access to education via satellites in Africa: a primer. Retrieved 02/28, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Mulder, R., Vonk, T. (February, 2002). Wireless communication: Overview of possibilities for wireless connections between computers (ADVISORY NOTE): International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD).
-- Hegener, M. (2002, January). Internet via satellite in Africa: An overview of the options available (ADVISORY NOTE, No. 6): International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD).
-- Jensen, M. (1999). The wireless toolbox: a guide to using low-cost radio communication systems for telecommunication in developing countries - an African perspective. International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Retrieved 12/02, 2001, from the World Wide Web: and
-- IDRC/ Acacia The Internet: Out of Africa. (1999). International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
-- Dodge, M. (2002). An atlas of cyberspaces: Historical maps of computernetworks. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Rodríguez, F., Wilson, E.J. (2000, May). Are Poor Countries Loosing the Information Revolution? World Bank. Retrieved September 23, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
Additional sources:
-- Wade, R. (2001). Development Assistance in the Digital Age. Paper presented at the Joint OECD/UN/UNDP/World Bank Global Forum at the OECD: Exploiting the Digital Opportunities for Poverty Reduction, Paris
-- Castells, M. (2000). The information age: economy, society and culture (Vol. III: End of the millenium, Chapter 2: The rise of the Fourth World: informational capitalism, poverty and social exclusion. pp. 68-168). Oxford: Blackwell.
World_Bank. (2000). The networking revolution: opportunities and challenges for developing countries. Retrieved 10/16, 2001, from the World Wide Web:
-- Grace, J., Kenny, C., Qiang, C., Liu, J., Reynolds, T. (2001). Information and communication technologies and broad-based development: a partial review of the evidence. GICT World Bank. Retrieved 09/17/2001, from the World Wide Web:
-- Loader, B. D. (Ed.). (1998). Cyberspace divide: equality, agency and policy in the information society. London: Routledge.
Holderness, M. (1998). Who are the world's information poor? In B. D. Loader (Ed.), Cyberspace divide: equality, agency and policy in the information society (pp. 35 - 56). London: Routledge.
-- Haywood, T. (1998). Global networks and the myth of equality: tricke down or trickle away? In B. D. Loader (Ed.), Cyberspace divide: equality, agency and policy in the information society (pp. 19 - 34). London: Routledge.
-- Castells, M. (2001). Chapter 8: The geography of the internet: networked places. In M. Castells (Ed.), The internet galaxy (pp. 207-246). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Module 3: ICT, poverty and sustainable development (two weeks)
(Week 5 and 6)

The fight against poverty is a declared aim of the development agenda. This module examines the evidence if, how or to which extent ICT can help. Besides discussing low cost options (simputers, Internet simulations, portable radios) the question of relevance of content, 'ownership' of users and software adaptation is discussed.

Required readings:
-- Heeks, R. (1999). Information and communication technologies, poverty and development [Development Informatics Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 5]. Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester. Retrieved October, 27, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Mansell, R., Millar, J. (1999). Software applications and poverty reduction: a review of experience. Department for International Development. Retrieved 09 21, 2001, from the World Wide Web:
-- Perraton, H., Creed, C. (2000). Applying new technologies and cost-effective delivery systems in basic education. IRFOL. Retrieved 04/10, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
Additional sources:
-- Ngoc. (2002, February). InternetSim: The simulation software for an Internet environment from CD-ROM. Paper presented at the LearnTec, Karlsruhe.

Module 4: Reaching the unreached: the digital radio option (two weeks)
(Week 7 and 8)

Digital radio is seen as the interface between the analog world of the radio, the low cost ubiquitous mass medium, and the digital world of the computer. Using WoldSpace as an example the techology configuration and the reach of its satellite footprints is described. It is analyzed how digital radio relate to computers and can be embedded into communication networks. Various ways of applications (e.g. Canal EF, CLASS, ADVICE) and the cost projectes are examined.

Required readings:
-- Rangarajan, S., Kiptoon, J.C. (2002). Satellite-based supplement to school education: pilot study in Kenya. Paper presented at the LearnTec/Unesco Global Forum, Karlsruhe.
-- Rangarajan, S., Soumagne, J., Samir, M. (2002). Reaching the unreached worldwide using WorldSpace radio. Paper presented at the LearnTec/Unesco Global Forum, Karlsruhe.
-- Rangarajan, S., Venugopal, D. (2002). Evolution of ADVICE, Auxiliary Data and Voice Integrated Channel for Education: the Indian field trials. Paper presented at the LearnTec/Unesco Global Forum, Karlsruhe.
Additional sources:
-- Sreedher, R. (2001). Feasibility study based on using WorldSpace radio technology for distance learning. Maidan Garhi, New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Open University. Retrieved July 14, 2002, from e.

Module 5: Computers in schools: certain costs and uncertain benefits (two weeks)
(Week 9 and 10)

Increasingly computers find their way into the classroom of developing countries. The rationales for using computers in schools are examined, costs including opportunity costs (forgone alternative investments) are examined and various ways of using computers in schools are described.

Required readings:
-- Alvarez, M. I., Roman, F., Dobles, M. C., Umafia, J., & Zunfiga, M., Garcia, J., Means, B., Potashnik, M., Rawlings, R. ( 1998,
March). Computers in Schools: A Qualitative Study of Chile and Costa Rica. Education and Technology Series.
-- Cawthera, A.CComputers in secondary schools in developing countries: costs and other issues. (Including original data from South
Africa and Zimbabwe). DFIF, WorLD, The Human Development Network of the World Bank. Retrieved 28/92, 2002, from the World
Wide Web:
-- Rusten, E. (2002). Configurations of school technology: Strategies and options. TechknowLogia: International Journal for the
Advancement of Knowledge and Learning, 4(1).
Additional sources:
-- Bakia, M. (2000). The costs of computers in classrooms: Data from developing countries. Washington: The World Bank.
--Osin, L. (1998). Computers in education in developing countries: Why and how? Education and Technology Technical Notes Series, 3(1).

Module 6: Telecenters: connectivity and access (two weeks)
(Week 11 and 12)

The reach of satellite technology and the shared mode of community access are at the basis of the mushrooming telecenter model. Different types of telecenters are described and costing issues are discussed. Special attention is given to the role of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOUs) for establishing and supporting telecenters. In addition, the model of Community Internet Radio prjects (e.g. Kothmale in Sri lanka) are discussed which links Internet access with community radio.e.

Required readings:
-- Benjamin, P. (No date). Literature Review for the Telecentre 2000 study. Development Research Africa (DRA), LINK Centre, P&DM, Wits University. Retrieved November, 4, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Proenza, F. J. (2001). Telecenter sustainability - Myths and opportunities. In D. Wattenbach (Ed.), Bridging the rural knowledge gap: Information systems for improved livelihood. Rome: FAO.
-- Jensen, M., Esterhuysen, A. (2002). The Community Telecenter Cookbook for Africa: Recipes for self-sustainability. UNESCO. Retrieved October 30, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Roman, R., Colle, R. D. (2002, January). Themes and Issues in Telecentre Sustainability. IDPM Manchaster University. Retrieved October, 27, 2002, from the World Wide Web: or
Additional sources:
-- Kothmale Community Radio Internet Project. Retrieved November, 18, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Oestmann, S., Dymond, A.C. (2001). Telecenters - experiences, lessons and trends. In C. Latchem, Walker, D. (Ed.), Telecentres: case studies and key issues.: COL.
-- Fontaine, M. (2002). Community Telecenters: Enabling lifelong learning. In W. D. Haddad, Draxler, A. (Ed.), Technologies for education: Potential, parameters and prospects (pp. 158-162). Paris, Washington: UNESCO and Academy for Educational Development (AED).
-- Buckley, S (No date).Community radio - the new tree of speech. Retrieved 04/01, 2002, from the World Wide Web:

Module 7: Internationalization of education: networking the higher learning industry (two weeks)
(Week 13 and 14)

The reach of the global information infrastructure increases the reach of educational institutions. The possibility of cross-border enrolments increases competition but also facilitates new forms of alliances and cooperations. Especially, the role of new globally operating commercial providers is examined.

Required readings:
-- Cunningham, S., Ryan, Y., Stedman, L., Tapsall, S., Bagdon, K., Flew, T., & Coaldrake, P. (2000). The business of borderless education (extract). Canberra: Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs.Retrieved 12.12., 2001, from the World Wide Web:
-- Schiller, D. (1999). Digital capitalism networking the global market system (Chapter 4: Networking the higher learning industry, pp. 143-202). Cambrige Mass.: MIT Press.
Additional sources:

-- Moran, L., & Mugridge, I. (1993). Trends in inter-institutional cooperation. In L. Moran & I. Mugridge (Eds.), Collaboration in distance education. London: Routledge.
-- Daniel, J. S., Mugridge, I., Snowden, B. L., & Smith, W. A. S. (1986). Cooperation in distance education and open learning (mimeo) - Paper prepared for Commonwealth Standing Committee on Student Mobility. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Module 8: Project (one week)

Participants complete the last step of their project starting with an annotated bibliography and a project conference they conducted earlier. Project conferences are scheduled to fit into the overall course schedule according to their themes.