Increasingly, vital information for the world's citizenry is being disseminated via the World Wide Web. Jobs are listed on job-seeking websites. Getting access to governmental services is often done through government websites. News organizations offer news of localities, nations, and the world online. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, educational websites--access to the world's knowledge is increasingly available with a few keystrokes. Yet many individuals, especially in low-income areas, do not have access to this important resource. In this assignment you will do a very short research project on the digital divide by comparing Internet access in two countries.
Select two countries of interest. You might consider selecting two countries that are close geographically yet with different governmental, economic, and social structures.
Consult the online resources mentioned below in the Resources section to get the overall picture of Internet access penetration in the two countries you have selected. The ITU-T site is an especially good source of information for this assignment. The World Information Society Report that you are reading for our discussions is a good source for measurements of access and national strategies for achieving better access to Information and Communication Technologies for all peoples of the world.
Consult the CIA World Factbook for information about the governments, terrains, and economies of the two nations.
Perform a quick search in an online database such as Academic Search Premier or Communication & Mass Media Complete, available through the UH Library website. To do this go to the UHM Library Electronic Resources site. Type in Academic Search Premier or Communication & Mass Media Complete and make sure that only Databases & Indexes is selected. Click on the Search button. Click on Academic Search Premier or Communication & Mass Media Complete (you will need to do so again). When requested enter your UH user id and password. Search for articles.
Note: In Communication & Mass Media Complete the search statement DE "DIGITAL divide" searches for DIGITAL divide in the subject (descriptor) field. However, not all articles about the topic may have been assigned that descriptor.
Examine the digital divide within each country and then compare the two countries. Consider the data from the CIA World Factbook and your articles in thinking about why these two countries are similar or different in terms of access to information telecommunication technologies. Write a two-page (double-spaced) summary of your findings and conclusions. This will be submitted to your instructor after you have shared your results with the class.
Verbally share your results with your colleagues in the class. A Powerpoint slide or two can be used to show the class statistics about the two countries. This will be an informal sharing process. After all students have shared we will discuss what we have learned from the presentations.
"The Digital Opportunity Index is an e-index based on internationally-agreed ICT indicators. This makes it a valuable tool for benchmarking the most important indicators for measuring the Information Society. The DOI is a standard tool that governments, operators, development agencies, researchers and others can use to measure the digital divide and compare ICT performance within and across countries."
This website gives global overviews of telecommunication penetration as well as detailed reports for individual countries.
Near the top of the page click on " Internet: users, total subscriptions, broadband subscriptions" to get a numerical comparison of Internet access penetration of countries around the world.
To access a country report, scroll down to the bottom of the Website to the Country reports section. Select the country of interest. Then click on the individual reports.