Community knowledge sharing : an Internet application to support communications across literacy levels
Author(s)Shakeel, Hani Umar, 1973-
Internet application to support communications across literacy levels
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
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This thesis presents Community Knowledge Sharing (CKS), an Internet-enabled asynchronous messaging system designed for use in the developing world. The system is motivated by a desire to expand the benefits of network connectivity deeply into rural areas, breaking down barriers within and between communities. Recognizing that large segments of the population in rural communities have low levels of literacy, CKS implements a multi-literate design in which the system can be customized based on the abilities and preferences of the user. Three research areas are explored. The primary research area is to understand whether multi-literate interfaces can expand access to technology. Second, the study explores concerns that users of the system hire around security and trust. Third, the study identifies the types of information used and demanded by a sample user group. An evaluation of CKS has been conducted in Bohechio, an agricultural town in the Dominican Republic. Participants were drawn to cover a range of ages, educational backgrounds and literacy skill levels. With regards to multi-literacy and access, it is found that low literate users prefer iconic interfaces, speech synthesis is not effective, and literate users are willing to create text and audio content. On security and trust, the study finds that in the context of networked message systems rural people have different security requirements, and need to trust both the communications channel and content. Lastly, in discussions on information it is found that health, news, commercial and family information is in the greatest use and greatest demand in the community. CKS is a modest first step at developing an appropriate messaging environment for the developing world. Policy recommendations are drawn to inform future technology design and evaluation efforts. Developers of information technologies for use in the developing world should design iconic interfaces for low literate users, not rely on speech synthesis technologies, collaborate with communities, and balance cost, security and accessibility in their technology design. Evaluation of these technologies should take a longer-term approach in order to ensure that participants understand the application being tested.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology and Policy Program, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (p. 94-98).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Technology and Policy Program.