Call4Action: First Graduate Course Focused on Mobiles for Social Impact

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Feb 11, 2009

MIT is the first university to offer a graduate class exclusively focused on how mobile phones are used for social action.  Call4Action!, the brand-new seminar, asks: How can mobile networked devices be used for social change, politics, and expression?  From the course description:

Each week we will review existing tools for social change, cover techniques for mobile hacking, and piece together new experiments. International speakers ranging from Zimbabwean activists to telecommunication experts will discuss the problems with existing ICTs, and suggest parameters for new systems. We'll review protocols, systems, and packages like VOIP, GSM, SMS, and PBX to look at how they may be reused or reconfigured, and explore handset development and alternative communications systems.  We will learn to set up, develop for, and hack with systems and open source packages like Symbian Series 60, Android, Openmoko, Django, Asterisk.  Through hacking and technical exercises, we will demystify the field and build springboards for future work.  By the end of the class, we hope to collaboratively create new repertoires for social change and technical activism.

The semester-long course follows a four-day intensive session (complete with a 25-hour hackathon) where MobileActive and others presented.  We are thrilled to see this experiment turn into a full-fledged course.  More information (including a provisional syllabus) is available here. We hope that this will be taken up in other parts of the world -- Markere University comes to mind, for examples. If you are aware of other courses in this area around the world, please post them in the comments!


Hi Rema,

It is true, this isn't a distance learning course. If there is a school or institution near you that would host a connection, please let us know.

You can find the blog posts by students on the CFA site, and we will open the source code of class projects after the class is over.

Chris Csikszentmihályi.

course details

Thanks for sharing this... but could not figure out how a non-mitian could join the course..

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