By Joyojeet Pal
Working on a smartphone application to book train tickets for Mumbai local trains. Designing a language learning application for deaf students in India. Creating an online repository for consultation for human rights for a Bangalore lawyers collective.
These are just some of the projects U-M students will be able to work on, thanks to a $1.8 million fund from the U-M Provost’s Office to the Global Information Engagement Program at the School of Information. As part of the program, up to 18 students will spend eight weeks in India during summer 2014. Program costs will be covered by the school.
Project partners have already been identified and include organizations such as Alternative Law Forum, the National Institute of Speech and Hearing, Jaaga Trust, The Centre for Internet and Society, and Digital Green. Other organizations come from a wide range of industries, but all projects have high social impact outcomes. Projects submitted include the following:
- The development of an online forum to facilitate a legal network of human rights lawyers. The forum will serve as a platform for connecting lawyers, enabling the creation and exchange of resource materials.
- The creation of a platform for community knowledge workers to help develop skills required to deliver content effectively to rural farming communities and improve their self-knowledge of agricultural practices.
- Research and a written review of e-governance assessment frameworks with the purpose of identifying relevant indicators with a focus on grassroots service delivery unit and provider.
- The evaluation of market readiness and implementation of a health care performance measure product to help bring India up to global standards for health care delivery.
Students selected for the program will work in small multi-disciplinary groups. Most will come from the School of Information, but teams are encouraged to recruit graduate students from other U-M programs to round out skill sets. Teams will be assigned to the projects during the competitive selection process, with an emphasis on matching skill sets to project needs.
During the winter term, students will prepare for their time in India by studying cultural aspects of the county as well as the identified information challenges and developing frameworks for their projects. During their eight weeks in residence in summer 2014, they will develop and launch the project, ensuring that a useful and sustainable product has been created for the partner organization.
While in India, students will engage in practical experiences with global leaders and organizations and foster a sense of service through completing a project with high social impact. They will benefit through increased knowledge, aptitude and preparation for a career in this field, whether they seek to live and work domestically or internationally.