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Mentor Guidelines – D-Lab, Information Technology University - Punjab Spring 2013

pk/developmentlab Mentor Guidelines for D-Lab What is D-Lab? D-Lab is a course offered at ITU-Punjab with a special focus on the developing world problems and the use of ICTs to bridge the digital divide, and using ICTs for Development also termed as ICT4D. The course is designed with aim to allow students to work on projects of local relevance that will have an impact on the local community. The course is designed such that there will be extensive fieldwork – where the students come up with local problems, their solutions, and work on creation and implementation of their ideas into sustainable solutions. The course is stretched over two semesters as the first semester would introduce them to the basics of developing world problems, current practices, ongoing projects, ICTD – its successes and failures, and the basics of solution design needed to convert any idea into a practical solution. In parallel to such activities students will also select local relevant problems, select multiple solutions, and then analyze their usage and practicality and implement the most feasible solution. At the end of the first part of the course, we expect the students to have a detailed knowledge of digital divide, ICTD, its importance and role in development, a perspective into research, paper reading, knowledge about all the applications of ICT4D e.g. in Agriculture, Health, Education, Climate, Energy problems of the developing world, the entire cycle of Solving Problems from coming up with problems to testing the final prototypes in the fields along with all the current practices and recent research results. The second part of the course will largely comprise of the design, implementation and testing of the solutions, and iterations of the solution design. This will give students an entire semester to compare and improve upon their designs, give peer review to other teams and work in the field with the international and local community development organizations. What are the Mentors required to do? D-Lab’s Mentors are there to advise, mentor and give feedback to the teams. The mentors ar e requested to guide as many teams as is possible by them. Mentors will provide the teams with the overall progress, and the direction of the project. They will offer advice, connect team with contacts, identify helpful resources, and can provide directions, suggest ideas to the teams, using their own expertise in the field of ICTD. What does D-Lab Mentorship entail? Mentors are requested to have weekly or fortnightly in person meeting sessions with their teams, where they check the progress of the teams, their accomplishments so far, the bottlenecks, the project timeline, directions etc. Besides that Mentors can write to*, video conference, or contact the teams as per their or the teams’ requirement and/or depending upon the phase of the project. *The frequency of emails can increase if the students are not clear about the certain working or near deadlines. All the teams will be under direct supervision of the Course Instructor & Design Instructor, however, an individual mentor can provide that focused attention to team(s) that is required in a class of 65.
Author: Samia Razaq Khan

How can I be a Mentor? Everyone can be a mentor.” Kindly copy samia. You should specially join us if you can help our students in terms of:  Sharing your knowledge working in the developing world  Helping our students critically think. Keep constant communication with your teams.Mentor Guidelines – and have an idea or experience of what are the current problems faced by the underserved communities (especially in Pakistan)  Researcher or have worked in the fields of ICTs.razaq@itu. MIT 2 Adapted from MIT Professor David Wallace Author: Samia Razaq Khan .razaq@itu. especially if you have the willingness to help solve the developing world problems. you should be critical. Be sure to distinguish between facts. In doing so. but constructive. ask them about their ideas and the options they are presented with after their early research work. Information Technology University . you will be serving as a consultant to critique team actions and ideas with constructive feedback. experiences.Punjab Spring 2013 http://www. Consider using the following phrases [2] to keep things friendly:  Proposing (“How about…”)  Information seeking (“Could you describe…?”)  Disagreeing (“This may be a problem because…”)  Standard Setting (“Maybe you should decide by…”) Finally.  Guiding them both in practice and as mentors And if you are  a part of an NGOs and Social venture. and in all emails so that I can know the overall status of teams and can ensure their progress as I would meet them in class/lectures often.itu.  Have some experience with Social Entrepreneurship or solving other social issues (especially with a local IT solution and relevance) Contact at samia. Stay on topic and respect others by not talking over _______________________________ 1 Amy Smith – Director D-Lab. what Amy adds for her D-Lab [1] design mentors: “As How do I start if I am a Mentor? You should first connect with your team. and do so in a positive way. Finally I would You want to challenge ideas and not people. Mentor Reviews are intended to be conversational. Avoid using “my” and “your” to abstract away from the person. HCI. but professional. and ICT4D.  Urging them to design new solutions.