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Graduate Students Explore Digital Divide

Author: perkinsk

Western perspectives and Ghanian viewpoints on the impact of the global digital divide spurred conversations during an international online collaboration between Greenlee graduate students in Professor Daniela Dimitrova’s Communication Technology and Social Change course and students at the University of Ghana in Accra.

Dimitrova organized the event with her former student Etse Sikanku, a 2008 graduate of Greenlee’s master’s program and assistant professor at the University of Ghana.

“It was so rewarding to see one of my former students now teaching his own master’s class at the leading university in Ghana,” said Dimitrova. “It felt like deja vu having Etse’s class involved in this online collaboration since he helped me set up a similar international activity when he was here in Greenlee.”

A shared blog facilitated the students’ conversations around a series of discussion questions concerning the global digital divide, a social issue which refers to the disparities between access to information resources, such as the internet and computers, across the globe.

“It was a very unique experience for me because I could relate the digital divide that my people in Nepal face with that of the students from Ghana,” said Amir Joshi, a first-year Greenlee graduate student from Nepal. “Also, it was quite a shock to know that there is a technological barrier here in the U.S. as well.”

Greenlee students and Ghanian students discussed the impact of technology on developing countries, the importance of mobile money transfers and how nations can address the global digital divide.

“As professors, we always look for opportunities to apply what we learn in the classroom to a real-world setting,” said Dimitrova. “The topic of the digital divide provided such an opportunity for my class this semester. The students not only broadened their horizons to see the dimensions of the digital divide globally, but also heard first-hand how technology and region impact the personal and professional lives of their student counterparts.”