EC.S01 | Spring 2005 | Undergraduate

Internet Technology in Local and Global Communities


Spring 2005 Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Summer 2005 Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 5 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Labs: 5 sessions/ week, 2 hours / session

Entrepreneurship Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Course Overview

This course is based on the work of the MIT-African Internet Technology Initiative (MIT-AITI). MIT-AITI is an innovative approach by MIT students to integrate computers and internet technology into the education of students in African schools. MIT-AITI achieves this goal by sending MIT students to three African nations in order to teach both students and teachers through intensive classroom and lab sessions for six weeks.

This course Web site has two major components:

  1. Content from the spring 2005 preparatory seminar offered by the MIT-AITI leadership.
  2. A snapshot of the MIT-AITI summer 2005 program in Kenya.

Syllabi information for both the spring 2005 and summer 2005 sessions are detailed below.

Spring 2005

Course Description

SP.772 is a 6-unit seminar designed to help bring the vast benefits of information technology (IT) to both local and global communities. This work is performed in an effort to bridge the digital divide found in the United States, as well as abroad. This class is primarily designed for those MIT students participating in the MIT-Africa Internet Technology Initiative (MIT-AITI) program, a student-run organization that sponsors IT-related classes each summer in three African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya. The seminar focuses on preparing MIT-AITI students for their summer trips to Africa, introducing seminar students to current IT-related issues in the developing world through guest lectures and readings, and allowing the students to design, organize, and teach their own IT-related class on weekends to community college students from Roxbury, MA and Bunker Hill, MA.

Course Objectives

  1. To prepare the MIT-AITI Summer 2005 participants for their upcoming experiences in Africa. Through this class, the participants will resolve all logistical issues and other matters that arise when traveling abroad.
  2. To expose the participants to the contemporary African issues that relate to the AITI program. This includes presentations by guest lectures that will focus on topics ranging from cross-cultural communication to the needs for technology in Africa.
  3. To benefit the local community by allowing the participants to teach the AITI Java® curriculum to community college students through the MIT Service Learning program. The students attending the class will travel to MIT for three hours on Saturdays, and the seminar participants will run this course as preparation for teaching in Africa. The participants will teach, assign problem sets, and grade material if necessary.

Attendance Policy

This class is a seminar that primarily allows the MIT-AITI participants an opportunity to adequately prepare for their upcoming summer trips. Attendance is mandatory for this seminar! This class is for you, so we expect everyone to show up! An excused absence from a lecture or Saturday session must be approved by the instructor beforehand. If an absence is necessary, it can be recovered by meeting with the class organizer and TA and discussing the contents of the missed lecture or recitation, and any work that may be required.


This class is on a P/D/F system, and grading will primarily be based on the successful implementation of the Saturday class. Attendance will also play a factor in the determination of the grade for the seminar. The instructor will provide feedback approximately every two weeks regarding the status of each participant of the seminar.

Required Materials

Each seminar participant will be given a textbook on the first day of class. Also, the seminar organizers will provide necessary handouts throughout the semester to accompany the lectures.

For the teaching portion of the seminar, each participant will be given hard and electronic copies of the MIT-AITI curriculum used in Africa last summer. The students will have the freedom to alter and improve the curriculum for the Saturday classes.

An electronic copy of the MIT-AITI curriculum can be found throughout this course site.

Summer 2005

Course Overview and Topics

This course presents introductions to the Java® programming language, entrepreneurship, and Internet technologies. Course material will be taught through both lectures and lab assignments. Student performance will be assessed through short quizzes, exams, completion of labs, a final project, and a team business plan. Several students will participate in the course as self-learning teams through MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) program. Certificates will be awarded to students who successfully complete the course.

Java® Curriculum

This course presents an introduction to Java® programming syntax, data and control structures, methods, object oriented programming, error handling, I/O parsing, and GUI design. The course will also cover coding conventions and documentation, internationalization, security, or other topics if time permits. Students will learn Java® material through lectures and by completing labs.

Students will be graded on completion of the labs, on one or two three-hour exams, a final project, and possibly several small “pop” quizzes throughout the course. Students will also be graded on their classroom participation (discussed below). If time permits, the course may include optional programming contests, challenge problems, or case studies.

Entrepreneurship Curriculum

This course will cover an introduction to the basics of entrepreneurship. Topics include writing business plans, marketing, outsourcing, financing, and general entrepreneurship. Local entrepreneurs will present at least one or two guest lectures. Students will form teams and create business plans throughout the course. The end of the course will feature a business plan competition with a cash prize of approximately $300 going to the best plan.

Grading Policy

Labs 40%
Exams 30%
Final Project 15%
Team Business Plan 10%
Class Participation/Quizzes 5%

Participation and Expectations

We expect students to regularly attend lecture, to be on time, to promptly complete assigned labs, and to actively participate in class and on group projects. Lectures will be interactive: we will often ask the class questions and wait for students to answer. We encourage you to ask questions, make comments, and engage in discussion during lectures.

We will also solicit feedback from you about our performance as lecturers and about the course content. We welcome your ideas for making this a more rewarding and effective course. Do not hesitate to offer constructive criticism or suggestions to the staff. The course material is flexible and can be adjusted to better suit the class, but we can only do that if we hear from you.

Collaboration, Plagiarism, and Cheating

You are encouraged to work in groups and to discuss any course material with your classmates. However, you must write your own labs and assignments. Teams must produce all their own work for team projects. To prevent plagiarism, a staff member may inspect any assignment and question you about it before you receive credit. We may also rely on automated software to detecting plagiarized material.

We have a zero-tolerance policy toward cheating. If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero score, may receive a reduction in your final grade, or may be asked to leave the class and reported to your university’s student discipline office. Cheating will not help you pass this class. If you are having trouble with the material or have outside problems that affect your work, please do not hesitate to speak with a staff member.

Getting Extra Help

Before asking the staff for help, we encourage you to first speak with your classmates, read any printed materials we’ve provided, and search for information on the Internet. You can also check the OCW site (see below). Don’t get frustrated if the staff intentionally gives you an indirect or partial answer. To develop your self-learning skills, we may only give you enough to figure the answer out on your own.

References and Materials

  • MIT-AITI 2005 Lecture Notes Booklet
  • Hortsmann, Cay S., and Gary Cornell. Core Java 1.1. Volume 1: Fundamentals. 3rd revision. Mountain View, CA: SunSoft Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780135657553. (OCW students)
  • MIT-AITI Web site
  • Java® API

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2005