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Instructor:   Leslie Chan

Office: MW304             Office Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 1-3 pm
Tel: 416-287-7511
email: chan@utsc.utoronto.ca


TA: Stian Håklev          Office Hours: By appointment
Email: shaklev@gmail.com

Class time:Tuesday, 11 am- 1pm MW110








AC 334







AC 332



Course sites: http://idsb10.pbworks.com, and the Blackboard site on the Portal.


Course description

It is often said that we now live in a “global knowledge society”, and that web sites such as Wikipedia is a quintessential representation of a global knowledge commons enabled by openly accessible information and communication technology (ICT) and citizen contributions. These new modes of knowledge production and dissemination are raising interesting questions about the nature of knowledge and the power dynamics that govern the emergence of new kinds of social practices, their organization, and their persistence.


Through an in-depth examination of the rise of Wikipedia as a global entity, we will explore closely related concepts such as commons based peer production, open source and open access, citizen participation, community formation, copyright and intellectual property, and the design and governance of social network. In particular, we will be asking questions about what all these mean for traditional discourse on development, including social justice and human rights, economic inequality, and health equity.

The objectives of this course are for students:

  • To gain knowledge of the history, structure, and development of networked communication in a global context
  • To learn about the connections between the core issues in international development with ICT, knowledge production, and communication
  • To obtain an overview of the Internet, including the regulation, policies, ethics and technology which surround and control its growth and development
  • To explore and understand the critical arguments about the impact of ICT and knowledge for development as well as the economic, social, cultural, and political consequences of selected emerging media practices in society.

Outcomes. Students will:

  • Develop online learning skills, including collaboration, peer learning, resource based learning and self-directed learning
  • Develop, through hands-on exercises, the skills and technical know-how for carrying out a wiki-based project.
  • Learn about the critical use and construction of online resources and publications in various forms for social change
  • Become active co-producers of knowledge by being active participants in the learning process
  • Gain skills and knowledge on how to participate in a network community and be able to think and act critically about the benefits and downsides of the widespread use of communication technologies.


Course format:

This course will be a partially flipped course. This means that we will not spend the two hours of the weekly lecture actually lecturing. Instead, we will be posting videos and other resources online which students need to watch/interact with each week. We expect students to come to class prepared to discuss and participate (and this is reflected in the 20% participation mark). During the class period, usually the first hour will be dedicated to summary, whole-class discussion and introduction of new material, including guests. The second hour will be used for small-group participation, creation of shared knowledge resources, and various interactive activities. Weekly tutorial will provide further opportunities for further discussions, debates, and collaborative exercises.


Methods of Assessment:  




Due date


Participation and Mini-exercises

Including class discussions, tutorial participation and online interactions



Concept note for an ICT4D project

Small group project



Final Exam

With a self-reflection paper

During Winter Exam Period




We are not using a textbook for this course. Each week, there will be a minimum of two required readings associated with the lecture topic and online activities. These readings are drawn from a number of sources, primarily peer-reviewed journal articles, supplemented by book chapters, and magazine or web publications. Optional readings and relevant web resources will also be recommended for each topic, and we also encourage students to submit and share relevant readings and resources. All required readings and related resources are available on the course site or via web links.

Administrative issues:
This course will use the Blackboard course management system (
http://portal.utoronto.ca) as an entry point to the various online tools for this course. In order to participate fully in the course you MUST register for a @utoronto.ca email address. If you have not activated your UTSC account yet, please visit the web site at: http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/iits/account-password and sign up online.

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or the AccessAbility Services Office as soon as possible. I will work with you and AccessAbility Services to ensure you can achieve your learning goals in this course. Enquiries are confidential. The UTSC AccessAbility Services staff (located in S302) are available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations (416) 287-7560 or ability@utsc.utoronto.ca.

Academic Integrity:
Academic integrity is essential to the pursuit of learning and scholarship in a university, and to ensuring that a degree from the University of Toronto is a strong signal of each student’s individual academic achievement. As a result, the University treats cases of cheating and plagiarism very seriously. The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (
http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/policies/behaveac.htm) outlines the behaviours that constitute academic dishonesty and the processes for addressing academic offences. Potential offences include, but are not limited to:

IN PAPERS AND ASSIGNMENTS: Using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate acknowledgement. Submitting your own work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor. Making up sources or facts. Obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment.

ON TESTS AND EXAMS: Using or possessing unauthorized aids. Looking at someone else’s answers during an exam or test. Misrepresenting your identity.

IN ACADEMIC WORK: Falsifying institutional documents or grades. Falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including (but not limited to) doctor’s notes.
All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have questions or concerns about what constitutes appropriate academic behaviour or appropriate research and citation methods, you are expected to seek out additional information on academic integrity from your instructor or from other institutional resources (see

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