Welcome to the Technology for International Development (T4ID) Wiki!

  • Course Number: 94-812
  • Fall 2017 Mini 2
  • Units: 6
  • Prerequisites: None

This course will look at meaningful ways that information and communication technologies, especially the Internet and mobile phones, are being used to support development in the world’s poorest communities. How can technology be used to address the challenges of healthcare, education, good governance, environmental sustainability, disaster management, and economic development? And how is technology misapplied? Technology for development has received increased interest in academia, industry (emerging markets), government (a shortcut to development), social enterprise (enabler of micro-credit, micro-finance, micro-insurance), and beyond. This has created a rich literature and interesting debates that draw on insights from a large number of fields. This course intends to bring together technology and policy students to investigate jointly how technology can play a positive role in international development.


  • Joe Mertz
  • HBH 3038
  • joemertz@cmu.edu
  • T4ID Office hours: Mondays 4:45pm - 6:00pm
  • General Office hours (potentially busier): Wednesdays 4:00pm - 6:00pm, Thursdays 1:30pm - 3:30pm


Course learning objectives

Learning objective

Measured via

Be aware of the history of using technology in international development
Class participation
Articulate how technology impacts development in terms of agriculture, communication, education, economics, health, government, and gender.
Class participation
Final Exam
Articulate a basic understanding of how technologies used in development work, including mobile, social media, broadband Internet, web applications, cloud computing, and new devices.
Class participation
Final Exam
Understand best practices in development and be able to analyze and discuss ICTD projects in light of these practices
Final Exam
Research current literature, synthesize material, make a presentation, and lead discussion on topics in technology for development
Class Presentation Assignment
Perform original work in the use of technology for development, for example by analysis, defining requirements, designing, prototyping, capacity building, or assessment.
Final project

Course Requirements & Grading policy

Note regarding Pass/Fail: Because the Class Presentation and the Final Project are done with classmates, and because these items constitute 60% of their final grade, it is important that all students are fully invested in the course. Consequently this course must be taken for a grade and not Pass/Fail.

Reading Materials

All reading materials will be made available via this wiki.

Class attendance

This is an exciting and rapidly growing field. But as in most things, you get out as much as you put in. You are expected to prepare for each class and participate in discussions in class. The class participation grade will be based on your active involvement in discussions.

Use of laptops in class

A discussion class works best if all are engaged in the topic, and not distracted by other activities. Therefore please leave your laptops closed and your phone away and on silent.


Canvas will be used as the class gradebook and may be used to do the peer assessments of in-class presentations. All course materials will be distributed via this wiki.

Acknowledgements and References

Always make sure you acknowledge your collaborators and others who help you in any written or oral assignment. In general, you should be generous in acknowledging contributions of others. Also make sure you include adequate references to publications, communications, and websites that you use to support different claims in your written and oral assignments. Most arguments are made stronger by supporting citations. There is a strict policy prohibiting plagiarism in this class.

Missed Attendance and Deadlines:

Communicate professionally. Discuss with the instructor any needs to miss class or a work deadline at least 24 hours before class starts or the work is due. Make up opportunities will not be given for unexcused absences. Very rarely will an excuse be accepted at the last moment. If you are feeling poorly the night before class, write then. Email sent 20 minutes before class will be treated as very suspect. Late assignments will lose 20% of their value if they miss the deadline, and another 20% each additional day.


If you have a disability and have an accommodations letter from the Disability Resources office, we encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with either instructor as early in the semester as possible. We will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, we encourage you to contact them at access@andrew.cmu.edu

Take care of yourself:

Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding recreational drugs and excessive alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Ask for support sooner rather than waiting.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is available to help: visit their website or call 412-268-2922. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or in danger of self-harm, call someone immediately, day or night:

CaPS: 412-268-2922
Re:solve Crisis Network: 888-796-8226
If the situation is life threatening, call the police:
On campus: CMU Police: 412-268-2323
Off campus: 911