Report: Seminar: “Social Exclusion and information technologies. Challenges and opportunities”

This is the report on the Seminar: “Social Exclusion and information technologies. Challenges and opportunities”.

My presentation was entitled “Acción social en red y en la red” [Networked social action in the Net – I guess this translation is better than my previous “Social action in a network and in the Net” ;)]. The main subject was e-volunteering and here comes some kind of abstract of the whole thing:

I started explaining that the UOC was quite different from presencial universities as its students’ age range was 25-65 y.o. instead of 18-25 as usual. I also pointed that they had families and jobs they had to expend “some” time with. There was sometimes an added fact related to space: difficulties to commute to the university (often the main reason to attend distance learning).

So, if it was possible to study, work or have fun virtually, what about virtually cooperating for development?

The Campus for Peace was set up to offer cooperation for development organizations virtual communities and e-learning services and to foster e-volunteering within the university community.

I then explained what e-volunteers could do in an e-learning for development project:

  • Set up and manage the intranet of the project (virtual) office
  • Teach and ease the use of the intranet. Lead the communication channels.
  • Knowledge management: help the concurrent members of the project know themselves and their different realities, socioeconomic needs and assets, etc.
  • Define the pedagogical path to be run by the students to be trained and arise educational needs
  • Knowledge management (again): act as a backoffice in the definition of the project and later developing in a more technical point of view
  • Authoring of e-learning content and materials
  • E-teaching
  • Academic management and running of the learning management system

The project I presented was an e-learning project based on e-volunteers and using knowledge management as the main capital. This showed (at least for me) some interesting things:

There is a “new” organizational capital: knowledge:

  • we can diminish the loss of capital as e-volunteers remain in the project/organization
  • we can raise the use (“manage”) of this knowledge

There is a “new” actor: e-volunteer

  • with independence of time and space
  • who can manage the NGO and/or its projects
  • who can join other volunteers or NGO staff even if not being “there”

There is a “new” training project: e-learning

  • with decreasing scale costs
  • with high replicability

And that was all. See you next time.


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2003) “Report: Seminar: “Social Exclusion and information technologies. Challenges and opportunities”” In ICTlogy, #2, November 2003. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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