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Tech for Good: The Role of ICT in Achieving the SDGs

What opportunities and challenges do digital technologies present for the development of our society?

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Estimated 10 weeks
3–5 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
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About this course

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Tech for Good was developed by UNESCO and Cetic.br/NIC.br, the Brazilian Network Information Center’s Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society. It brings together thought leaders and changemakers in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT) and sustainable development to show how digital technologies are empowering billions of people around the world by providing access to education, healthcare, banking, and government services; and how “big data” is being used to inform smarter, evidence-based policies to improve people’s lives in fundamental ways.

It also addresses the new challenges that technology can introduce , such as privacy, data management, risks to cybersecurity, e-waste, and the widening of social divides. Ultimately, Tech for Good looks at the ways in which stakeholders are coming together to answer big questions about what our future will look like in a hyper-digitized world.

This course is for:

Technology specialists who want to understand more about how ICT is being used to improve people’s lives around the world.
Sustainable development practitioners who need to understand the opportunities and limitations of technology in a development context.
Advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in the key concepts and practices of this exciting and ever-changing field.

Please note that the course is free to audit, but there is a fee if you choose to pursue a Verified Certificate. Financial assistance is available through edX.

At a glance

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

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  • ICT can improve access to knowledge and services, promote transparency, and encourage collaboration
  • Responsible collection and use of data requires governance, security, and trust
  • ICT projects should be contextualized and inclusive
  • Technology is not neutral! Be aware of bias in design and implementation

Module 1: Welcome to the Digital Age

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Bridging the Digital Divide
  • Three Approaches to ICT for the SDGs

Module 2: Technology for Governmentsand Citizens

  • Equity and Access to Services
  • User-Driven Public Administration
  • It's All About the Data
  • TheOpen Government Approach
  • Case Study: Aadhaar in India
  • The Challenges of Digital Government

Module 3: ICT Infrastructure

  • Enabling ICT: The Role of Infrastructure
  • Promoting Digital Inclusivity
  • Innovations in Infrastructure
  • Building Smart Sustainable Cities
  • ICT as Infrastructure: A Look at Societal Platforms

Module 4: ICT Innovations in Health

  • Achieving Universal Health Coverage
  • Improving Healthcare Delivery
  • Involving the Community
  • Evidence in Action: Success Stories of ICT and Health
  • Emerging Challengesand Opportunities

Module 5: Learning in Knowledge Societies

  • The Ecosystem of ICT for Education
  • Education for a Connected World
  • Sharing Knowledge: ICT, Openness, and Inclusion
  • Measuring ICT and Education: Frameworks
  • Measuring ICT and Education: Dataand Indicators
  • Rethinking ICT for Education Policies

Module 6: Promoting Financial Inclusion

  • An Introduction to Financial Services
  • The Potential of Digital Platforms
  • Mobile Payments for Marginalized Communities
  • ICT for Enabling Access to Credit
  • Replacing the Cash Economy
  • The Challenges of ICT-enabled Financial Inclusion

Module 7: Measurement and Metrics

  • Managing Data for the SDGs
  • ICT Innovation for Statistical Development
  • Engaging with Data: Communications and Citizen Empowerment
  • Case Study: Brazil’s Cetic.br
  • Measuring ICT
  • ICT for Monitoring the SDGs
  • Limitationsof ICT for Monitoring the SDGs

Module 8: Artificial Intelligence

  • An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • Who Drives the Agenda on “AI for Good”?
  • Implications for Discrimination and Exclusion
  • The Human Side of AI: Risks and Ethics

Module 9: Concerns for our Digital Future

  • Privacyandthe Importance of Trust
  • Knowing your Data Rights
  • Cybersecurity
  • Combatting Disinformation
  • The Downsides of Digital

Module 10: The Way Forward

  • The New Workforce:Six Points about the Future of Work
  • The Meaning of Work in the Digital Era
  • The Open Movement
  • Closing Thoughts on ICT for the SDGs

About the instructors

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