Description

The “Curriculum Development at African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)” builds on research findings and scientific collaborations established and maintained within the DFG Special Priority Program “Adaptation and Creativity in Africa. Technologies and Significations in the Making of Order and Disorder” (SPP 1448) since 2010. We work on the transfer of knowledge generated by the SPP, focusing in particular on knowledge about the social and cultural dimensions of science and technology developed and/or deployed in African contexts. We believe that this knowledge is valuable and needed not only in the field of the humanities and the social sciences but also in the field of engineering and medicine. Our practical task is to develop a syllabus for a course that draws from the Science and Technology Studies (STS) but is fully adapted to the needs of particular curricula at the five partner universities in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chad, Uganda, and South Africa.

We start from the observation that university capacity building constitutes a travelling technology. The concept of travelling technologies has been intensively studied by various projects of the SPP. Drawing on this empirical research, we stress the creativity that emerges from the translation of a circulating model—in this case models for scientific capacity building—into a localized context. In doing so the project introduces a critical and reflexive understanding of the production, institutionalization, and transformation of higher education at African HEIs. This understanding is systematically being elaborated and used in the development of new applied conceptual as well as digital tools and devices.

With our guiding question “When is (the internet) a resource?” we aim to capture some of the effects of broadband internet and access to digital products in African HEIs. Starting with the Computer Science department at Gulu University (Uganda), the project explores the learning infrastructures and the (digital) opportunities for students, graduates as well as lecturers. In a first intervention, the project maps and improves the on-campus knowledge and learning infrastructures. In order to enrich teaching and learning experiences we introduce an offline digital archive that provides access to massive open online courses (MOOCs) on relevant topics. In addition, the project critically explores employment opportunities of graduates and analyzes the impact of the ‘gig economy’ (e.g. crowdsourcing platforms & digital factories) in the region.

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