ICASIT Newsletter Archive

E-Learning Instructor Demographics – ICASIT’s Research Project for 2017-2018
New funded research project ICASIT has initiated a new funded project involving Schar School’s Dr. Stephen Ruth and Dr. Dalton Daigle, aimed at developing several research papers in the literature of distance learning, similar to many authored by ICASIT associates during the past decade. This research project uses databases from George Mason University and Old Dominion University to examine the demographics of the instructors who are teaching distance-learning. While distance-learning methodologies and MOOC’s (massive open online courses) are widely covered in the online learning literature, there is very little attention to the issue of demographics of faculty who actually teach the courses. About 25% of all courses taught at institutions of postsecondary education in the United States are online and the number is increasing at a faster rate than for traditionally taught courses. Nevertheless, a stubbornly unchanging statistic over more than a decade is that only 30% of full-time college faculty approve of online learning. Very little is known about the demographics of these approving and disapproving instructors.

At GMU, every academic year about 1800 online courses are offered and taught, and the number at Old Dominion University is even higher. With the help of Dr. Stephen Nodine, GMU’s director of online instruction, and with the approval of Vice President Michelle Marks, we have obtained the GMU data for 2016 and 2017 and soon expect the ODU data for 2017. Two ICASIT interns are now developing an extensive spreadsheet summarizing the information.   What we expect to find is that relatively very few of the online courses are taught by tenure/tenure track faculty even though online courses receive about the same student evaluations as those taught in the traditional way. There may be surprises, though, since the literature clearly indicates that some institutions, like Arizona State University and Georgia Tech, have been able to involve full-time tenured faculty in active roles in their world-renowned online programs. Results should be available in a few months, and we expect to generate three or four journal articles, since the research topic is surprisingly underreported, in spite of its importance.

ICASIT’s new databases for 2016
ICASIT has two new databases which are being widely used by students interested into areas of ICASIT research. The first, developed by ICASIT intern and grad student Meizhou Song, features nearly 100 separate topics related to information and communication technology (ICT) , from 3-D printing to WIMAX, and including some of the latest technology issues like Bitcoin, Big Data and Cyberterrorism. The database is constantly being updated and has been used by several graduate classes at George Mason University in addition to considerable activity by outside groups. Each one of the items includes definitions, links to appropriate articles and videos, plus other related clickable URLs.

The second database, prepared by ICASIT intern Jenna Delgado and recently used in professor Ruth’s course called “ICT in higher education – the technology/tuition paradox”, consists of the same type of database, but dedicated to nearly two dozen topics related to the nexus of higher education and information technology. Examples are the Georgia Tech computer science master’s degree, the $10,000 college degree, the impact of MOOCs, advantages and disadvantages of hybrid courses, and many others.

ICASIT director Stephen Ruth feels that these databases are very useful to a broad community of potential users, in addition to the graduate students who use them in his courses. “For the researcher who is interested in a broad array of ICT applications, these databases are very helpful. We continue to hear from students all over the world, including some in high school, that the databases are relevant to their work.”

ICASIT to study MOOC’s in 2013
Professor Steve Ruth, ICASIT director, recently received a grant from GMU’s Distance Education Office to design an Information Technology course using the processes of Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCs).  Ruth will convert an SPP graduate elective course in globalization and technology to the MOOC format for the Fall 2013 semester. He has several recently published articles on the effects of MOOCs on the cost of higher education.  “Maybe MOOCs will help reduce tuition someday”, says Ruth, “ but it won’t happen soon”.

ICASIT becomes Telework Research  Center

During 2008 ICASIT added a significant new research agenda: the study of telework in the context of national security policy and productivity improvements in the public and private sectors. Professor Ruth presented a telework overview to Arlington County’s Committee of One Hundred in March of 2008 and the topic has become a major area of study for ICASIT ever since. Ruth and ICASIT associate Imran Choudhry published an article in IEEE Internet Computing in November 2008 “Telework–A Productivity Paradox?”, and there are plans in 2009 for examining research questions like the following (excerpted from a research proposal prepared by ICASIT in December 2008):

  • Security challenges in telework (FIPS-certified virtual private networks, endpoint firewall, etc at home or telecenter)
  • Multiple Homeland Security challenges posed by telework implementation
  • Can telework eliminate our need for oil from the Middle East?
  • Might telework become the equivalent of the old domestic economy in Europe? What are the implications?
  • Does telework actually increase productivity in a $14 trillion white collar economy? What’s the evidence?
  • Is there a difference between public and private sector implementation of telework
  • Is telework an elitist activity-only for the privileged, the educated, the highly skilled?
  • What is the proper balance between telecenters and working at home?
  • What are the differences between public sector and private sector use of telework?
  • Is there a tipping point where security is so impaired that telework becomes dangerous?
  • Will “regional insourcing” solve the outsourcing problem in low wage jobs like call centers?
  • How is distance learning linked to telework?
  • What public policy measures are needed to assure the proliferation of telework?
  • Will concierge services and hoteling become routinely used?
  • Telework links to “green technology” and “cloud computing”
  • Rural “In-shoring” as a policy priority
  • Telework as an employment incentive (A recent study of more than 1,400 CFO’s by Robert Half International reported that a third found telework to be the top incentive for attracting the best employees, and nearly half of the rest thought it was the second best incentive — after money.
  • Management  challenges of telework
  • Productivity/benefits measurement
  • Telework tools needed (data conferencing, E-mail, phone, fax, instant messaging, presence technology/dashboard collaboration, etc.)

ICASIT’s new IT research site expanded

ICASIT manager Steve Ruth announced that the 2011 version of the popular IT research site is now available. The site, which has been produced and managed by SPP grad students for a decade, has a new group of topics for researchers.  The hallmark of the site is attention to the newest types of  IT topics, like cloud computing,  4G wireless, IT legislation, M banking, telematics etc.  Each of the ninety different topics has a large number of links to significant recent articles, reports, plus video and audio material. The latest version was developed by Najoua Benmlih and Iqbal Ahmed, and last year’s version by Audrey Olson.  Andrew Schappert, SPP webmaster, managed the implementation of the data base.

Ruth has been impressed at the versatility of the site. “I use it extensively in the tech policy courses so that students can more easily have access to some of the newest ideas and strategies, but I notice that many at GMU use it and quite a few schools around the world have found it too”  Ruth plans to employ the site starting for another purpose too. As a long-time teacher at GMU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute he will be  using the new site as a basis for a new course for retired persons.

Nepal Project Leader Receives Prestigious International Award
On August 31, 2007 at a ceremony in Manila, Mahabir Pun received the coveted Ramon Magsaysay Award for contributions to community development in Nepal. This prestigious award, named after the heroic president of the Philippines who was killed in a 1956 plane crash, selects honorees in a half dozen categories every year. Corazon Aquino, former Philippines president, is a past recipient. Mr. Pan, whose work has been financially supported by ICASIT and Humenchal Foundation, has established wireless connectivity for telemedicine and other services and set up new job opportunities in his home town of Nangi and over two dozen other villages in one of the most impoverished regions in Asia. Read Mahabir’s Story at the ICASIT web site and also his Special feature in SPP’s Currents a few months ago.

New ICASIT Project in Egypt
ICASIT Funds Help Interpreters Close Communication Gaps for Refugees. Language barriers pose one of the biggest obstacles for refugees trying to survive in a strange land. Unable to speak the language of their host countries, the displaced have no means to communicate their needs. Therefore, they often go without medical care, education and public assistance. They also have no way to obtain legal advice or to petition for resettlement to third countries.

Aware of this plight and presented with a hopeful solution, Dr. Steve Ruth, director of Mason’s International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT), earmarked $30,000 from a foundation grant to help the American University in Cairo train refugee interpreters through its Cairo Community Interpreters Program (CCIP). “ICASIT is interested in finding ways to use technology for good purposes,” said Ruth, adding that the Cairo program is helping to empower people who have lost everything.

Read the Full Story.

ICASIT Study on Knowledge Management Diffusion in University Curricula
ICASIT director Stephen Ruth and two colleagues recently completed a study of Knowledge Management diffusion in the context of university programs world-wide. The report, titled “Knowledge Management Education: An Overview of Programs of Instruction” was co-authored by Virgil Frizzel and Nancy Shaw and appeared in Handbook on Knowledge Management, edited by :Clyde W. Holsapple. (New York, Springer-Verlag, 2003) . Professor Ruth was surprised at the results, which indicated that most KM programs are not at universities. Says Ruth, “many colleges and universities have a course here and there, but the primary source of KM learning is through programs offered by businesses.” He added, “locally GMU is unique since the School of Public Policy offers both a MS program that features major KM components and an increasing number of PhD students who are interested in KM applications. George Washington and George Mason are probably the only two schools in the country with that level of KM breadth.”

ICASIT Develops Two New Research Aids
Two ICASIT colleagues have significantly enhanced the popular ICASIT World Data Base. PhD students Lindsey Poulin and Soo Gwon Do have updated and extended ICASIT DB 2007 to include over 200 countries and 250 separate variables that should be extremely helpful to public policy researchers. The first version ICASIT DB 2003 was developed in 2002 with 90 variables and 100 countries but each year the scope has been increased. ICASIT team members who have contributed to earlier versions of the data base are Jiwan Giri, Ming Li, Min Shi, Mohammad Sonis, George Bennett and Patrick Hummel.

ICASIT director Steve Ruth thinks that the data base opens up new opportunities for students: “I did a quick check comparing the technology indicators for Middle East countries and found out that United Arab Emirates and Israel, with about three percent of the population, lead in many technology variables”, says Ruth, “and that kind of result is easy to obtain from this new resource.” Ruth added, “ICASIT DB 2007 has many user-friendly features like binary codes for oil-producing, predominantly Muslim, MENA and others which assist in spread-sheet use. Many of our grad students are attracted to the data base because it’s easy to use, very comprehensive and up-to-date.” Inquiries about the data base can be directed to ICASIT.

Contact ICASIT for further information on these data bases.

New Course: Islam and the Internet
Professor Steve Ruth presented a new graduate course in the School of Public Policy,” ITRN 710.9 Islam and the Internet: Telecommunications and Technology in the Muslim World” The course was open to grad students from many disciplines. “It’s a very interesting body of knowledge”, says Ruth, who assembled a broad range of materials plus guest speakers with regional and technical competence. There are over fifty countries where Islam is the predominant religion and the course examined the diffusion of Internet and other information technologies. Ruth’s courses use a blend of of audio, visual, web-based and traditional lecture approaches. More information is available at http://icp.gmu.edu/course/syllabi/02fa/02fa-s.htm

Russian Student Completes On-Line Course
Dr. Kingsley Haynes, dean of GMU’s School of Public Policy, recently presented a certificate of completion for a course in International Electronic Commerce to Dmitry Skripichnikof, a graduate student in engineering, at Moscow State University. The course, managed by ICASIT and taught by Professor Steve Ruth, was done completely online with assignments and exercises submitted and reviewed through Internet-based resources. Lectures in streaming video are available on line, along with many classroom audio seminars, with accompanying slides. In sending the certificate to Dmitri, Dean Haynes said, “I hope it will be possible to extend the reach of our courses to many of your colleagues at Moscow State University.” The course site can be viewed at http://www.icasit.org/classes/itrn701002summer2002/

ICASIT Site Receives Five Star Rating
The web site of the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT) recently received high praise from Emerald Management Reviews, an organization based in the United Kingdom that scans management and technology resources on a global scale.

“ICASIT has a broadly focused effort on the more effective use of corporate knowledge and wisdom to improve collaboration, operations, and performance,” claims the citation describing the ICASIT web site.

Emerald Management Reviews judges sites based on style, structure, ease of use, quality of information, and usefulness to the practitioner. Every site receives a quality rating between one and five stars and is categorized with all the major aspects of management covered. “What’s especially nice about this is that many of these sites we are compared with have full-time staffs to manage the content,” says Stephen Ruth, director of ICASIT. “We have always done it with a combination of skilled students like David Melia and Jiwan Giri, and updates to the databases are made by School of Public Policy graduate students.”

Grant Enables ICASIT to Facilitate JSTOR in Developing Countries
As part of a continuing grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, ICASIT has been working to link universities in developing nations to JSTOR, a major research tool that Mellon Foundation introduced in 1995 . JSTOR is widely used in developed nations, but only sparingly in developing countries. With an initial focus on core scholarly journals, the primary objectives of JSTOR are to:

  1. improve dramatically access to journal literature for faculty, students, and other scholars by linking bitmapped images of journal pages to a powerful search engine;
  2. to mitigate some of the vexing economic problems of libraries by easing storage problems (thereby saving prospective capital costs involved in building more shelf space), and also by reducing operating costs associated with retrieving back issues and reshelving them; and
  3. to address issues of conservation and preservation such as broken runs, mutilated pages, and long-term deterioration of paper copy. For more about JSTOR(For more about JSTOR link to JSTOR.org

ICASIT has helped to install JSTOR at Mahidol University, near Bangkok, Thailand and has worked with University of Costa Rica, University of Havana, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogata Columbia, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and several other sites where ICASIT has ongoing projects. (for other “projects” please link to ICASIT’s international map) Working with the assistant director of Mahidol University’s demography center, Dr. Varachai Thongtai, Professor Ruth and then ICASIT manager Kim Hanson completed initial JSTOR planning as part of Hanson’s Asia field trip. It required two more years for Mahidol’s Internet bandwidth to rise to a level where JSTOR could be implemented effectively. Now, after a year of JSTOR use, Thongtai reported that utilization was exceptionally high university-wide. In a recent report to ICASIT Thongtai sent detailed usage statistics for JSTOR, clearly showing the tool’s effectiveness as a long term asset to researchers.

ICASIT and George Washington University Partner on Two New Projects
On February 27th, 2005, at a luncheon at George Washington University’s faculty club, it was announced that GW’s School of Business and Public Management and School of Engineering Management and GMU’s ICASIT are partnering on two projects that can lead to significant results. The meeting celebrated the founding of the GW’s new Knowledge Management Institute. ICASIT director Professor Steve Ruth has been named to the Institute’s Board of Governors in recognition of GMU’s major role in Knowledge Management in the DC region. Plans have been made for KM seminars, shared research and international curriculum development so that GW and GMU students, especially at PhD level, can broaden research agendas. Dr. Michael Stankowski of GW’s Engineering Management program, and a co-founder of the Institute, said ” the GW-GMU relationship is a win-win opportunity for KM researchers, since the two universities are major KM resources in our region” . ICASIT’s KM Roundtables will be integrated into the Institute’s programs soon. Dr. Virgil Frizell, founder of the KMRT, has been responsible for their steady growth. Over 120 regional firms have participated.

At the same meeting Dr. Bill Halal of GW’s Business School described plans for the joint program between his school and GMU’s School of Public Policy for extended deployment of a technology forecast that uses experts’ assessments to judge the likelihood of significant events in science and technology. Previously called the GW Forecast, the service is being renamed “TechCast” and will be jointly managed by Halal and Ruth. GMU’s School of Public Policy Dean Kingsley Haynes and GW’s Business School Dean Susan Phillips have been enthusiastic supporters of this project. The two deans sponsored a seminar to launch the idea last year at GW’s Ashburn Campus. Ruth and Halal expect to launch Techcast in spring. ICASIT’s David Melia and Jiwan Giri have been providing technical support for the project.

More International Projects for ICASIT
ICASIT has recently set up programs for introducing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) assistance to demography centers in Cuba, Columbia and Nepal. Under a grant to ICASIT from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ICASIT has already initiated over thirty ICT projects in developing nations, improving connectivity to Mellon-supported US universities, like Princeton, Johns Hopkins, University of North Carolina, University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania and others. ICASIT’s director, Professor Steve Ruth, met recently with Drs. Jose Romero and Miriam Rodriguez, who manage demography centers at the University of Havana. “We developed a good understanding”, says Ruth, “and I’m sure that after I visit the sites in January, it will be possible to set up several connectivity projects linking Havana U. with Princeton’s demography center. Dr. Marta Tienda, manager of the Princeton center, has facilitated the interchange.

In Bogata, ICASIT arranged for ICT improvements at CCRP, a demography center associated with the University of the Andes with the help of center director Dr. Alcides Estrada. CCRP is also linked to the Princeton center.

The Nepal project aims to assist the Population Ecology Research Laboratory, located in Rampur, near the capital city of Katmandu. ICASIT’s Jiwan Giri, a PhD student in GMU’s School of Information Technology and Engineering is working with Nepalese specialists and Dr. William Axxin of the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center to establish a system that will ultimately permit Internet-based Distance Learning between US universities and the University of Nepal. Giri sees the project as having several possible outcomes. “First we can assist them in getting maximum advantage from their local Internet Service Provider in Katmandu. Longer term perhaps we can move to satellite-based transmission to allow the needed bandwidth for on-line learning.” Giri, who is from Nepal, is hopeful about the project. “There is definitely a cadre of skilled people and I’m sure this will eventually work.”

Melia Named to Board of Visitors
David Melia, Manager of ICASIT, has been selected by the George Mason University Board of Visitors to serve as the Student Representative for the 2001-2002 term. The 16 member Board of Visitors (BOV) is composed of community and business leaders appointed by the Governor of Virginia and is responsible for setting the goals and objectives of George Mason University. Each year, the BOV selects a Student Representative and a Student Alternate to serve as nonvoting members and bring student perspective, feedback and concerns to the Board.

“I look forward to serving the student body and the entire George Mason University community” states Melia, “being selected was quite an honor.” Among issues Melia hopes to address during his term are the development of new facilities and resources to accommodate the growth of GMU and improving student services such as parking and customer service. In addition to serving as ICASIT Manager, Melia is a second-year graduate student pursing a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, graduating in May 2002.

ICASIT Team Members Co-author Publications
During the past five months three articles coauthored by ICASIT staff members have been accepted for publication. Bhaskar Choudhury’s paper,”Assessing the Yield of IT Projects in Developing Nations: Aggregated Models Are Not Sufficient” (requires Acrobat Reader) has been accepted as a main presentation theme selection for the PICMET conference in Portland in late July. Min Shi’s co authored paper is “Distance Learning in Developing Countries: Is Anyone Measuring Cost-Benefits?“, TechKnowLogia, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2001, pp 35-38. Jiwan Giri’s paper “The Distance Learning Playing Field: Do We Need Different Hashmarks?” has been published in the Fall 2001 issue of Technology Source, an on-line refereed journal. Jiwan’s paper “Digital Divide: Exploring National and International Approaches to Bridge the Digital Divide and Formulating a Strategic Model That Can Be Implemented in Developing Countries” has been presented at a discussion session: ICT and Development for Computer Association of Nepal IT Conference, January 26-27, 2002 in Kathmandu. The paper will be included in Information and Communication Technology Review (ISSN 1680-8274), IT Journal, Computer Association of Nepal.

Ruth Presents Seminars in Vienna
Stephen Ruth, ICASIT director, and Dr. Ted Tschudy, a Human Behavior consultant, delivered a series of seminars on management of dispersed teams at the World Conference on Systemic Management, held May 1-6 in Vienna. Ruth also presented a paper, called “Teamwork in Cyberspace” at the conference. Ruth and Tschudy coauthored a paper on this subject, “Exploring the Middle Ground: A Course on Teaming in Cyberspace“.

ICASIT Partners with GW University on Technology Forecast
ICASIT manager Professor Steve Ruth, and George Washington University Professor William Halal recently announced a partnership whereby ICASIT and GW Business School will jointly enhance GW’s widely known technology forecast. The current version, called “The GW Forecast“, will be changed, says Halal, “to something that reflects the joint effort that we are sharing. I favor G2, for the two Georges involved, as the new name, but that will be decided later.” ICASIT personnel working on the project are manager David Melia and Jiwan Giri.

ICASIT Provides Funds for Yarmouk University
April 17, 2001
By Elena Barbre
(courtesy The Daily Mason Gazette)
Thanks to more than $15,000 in support from the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT), funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Refugees, Displaced Persons, and Forced Migration Studies Center at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, now has a state-of-the-art Internet lab.

The lab, which includes six computers, two laser printers, and a full-time staff administrator, is open at no cost to Yarmouk University students as well as researchers interested in refugees, displaced people, or forced migration studies. The funding also made it possible for the center’s UNESCO Unitwin Network on Forced Migration to have sorely needed Internet connectivity, says Stephen Ruth, director of ICASIT and professor in the School of Public Policy.

“Without ICASIT’s sincere efforts and financial support, neither the Internet lab nor the electronic connectivity would have been possible,” says Ali Zaghal, director of the Refugees, Displaced Persons, and Forced Migration Studies Center. “I would like to express my gratitude to George Mason University and the Mellon Foundation for their generous contributions.”

ICASIT Assists In Developing IT Curriculum In United Arab Emirates
January 22, 2001
Dr. Peter Denning of GMU’s Computer Science Department managed a project funded by the United Arab Emirates to design a state-of-the-art curriculum for the new UAE University technology program. Over the summer and fall of 2000 Denning and a group of IT specialists developed a complete program that will be used by the university. Professor Steve Ruth, ICASIT director, provided business-oriented curriculum recommendations and David Melia, ICASIT manager, set up a web site making it possible for researchers to examine the committee’s results. “It’s the first project for ICASIT in that region and we learned a lot”, says Ruth. “It was possible to start with a clean slate; there were no initial curriculum design constraints–I particularly enjoyed working with CS professors and examining how they approach advanced delivery methods for some very complicated material.” Melia’s web site for the project is at http://cne.gmu.edu/pjd/UAE/.

ICASIT Delivers New Cost Model For Evaluating Results Of University-Based Distance Learning
January 11, 2001
Dr. Steve Ruth, ICASIT director, announced the completion of a two year effort aimed at developing a replicable model that can be used at any US university to deliver an accurate assessment of the costs of distance learning. Developed under a $400,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the “GMU Model” uses data available in a university’s normal accounting system to compare DL with traditional delivery approaches. To validate the model, Ruth and his team set up seven college courses offered in the Commonwealth of Virginia and evaluated the results in DL and traditional settings. Dr. John Milam, of the University of Virginia, who was responsible for the model’s design and integration, and Dr. Ruth presented the results at a meeting of the Mellon Foundation’s board on November 8th, 2000, at Columbia University.

Ruth feels that the GMU model is a milestone, since it combines the best attributes of two important cost assessment schemes: microcosting and activity based costing, in the same model. “John Milam has presented the GMU model at many meetings around the country, and to GMU senior administrators–all very serious audiences–and they agree that this is an important methodology”, says Ruth. The GMU model is now included in the Flashlight Cost Handbook, used at most US universities, so Ruth and Milam are hoping to extend their results to regional clusters of universities, possibly in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Read the Full Story.

ICASIT Unveils Revised Website
October 30, 2000
ICASIT is pleased to announce several enhancements to the ICASIT website at www.icasit.org. The enhancements, part of ICASIT’s ongoing campaign to utilize the best technology available, will enable visitors to find information more easily and to enjoy an easier to read website. Among the improvements are easier access to ICASIT news and a site-wide search engine. We hope that you find these changes helpful and welcome your comments as we strive to make additional improvements.

ICASIT Joins European Commission’s BRICKS Project
ICASIT was recently invited to join BRICKS (Building Resources for Integrated Cultural Knowledge Services), an open source, international project funded by the EC, which aims to provide open source software solutions for the sharing and the exploitation of digital cultural resources. ICASIT has joined this global network of international research centers, individuals, organizations, and universities as the first American organization to be incorporated into this project. In joining, ICASIT is looking forward to potential opportunities with the organization itself and its members. The BRICKS site can be reached at http://www.brickscommunity.org

ICASIT Announces Job Openings
October 2, 2000
ICASIT is seeking to add new members to the ICASIT team. ICASIT is recruiting highly qualified students to assist in the planning and execution of a diverse array of projects and tasks. Applicants should have a strong comfort level with information technology and/or web development and a willingness to learn new and emerging technologies. Students with an MIS background are particularly encouraged to apply, although applicants from all disciplines will be considered. Interested students should send an email to David Melia at dmelia@gmu.edu.

ICASIT Receives Another Mellon Grant
September 20, 2000
By Elena Barbre (courtesy The Daily Mason Gazette)
The International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT) has done it again. The center’s latest grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for $600,000 over the next three and a half years, brings ICASIT’s total funding from the foundation to more than $2.6 million, according to Stephen Ruth, director of the center and a professor in the School of Public Policy.

With this grant, ICASIT adds five new countries–Jordan, Vietnam, Guatemala, Cuba, and Ethiopia–to its roster of more than 20 developing nations across the world that benefit from its international connectivity projects. The new funding extends ICASIT’s efforts to spread Internet connectivity to organizations that are central to the Mellon Foundation’s programs in population and forced migration. Other Mellon-funded efforts include solution-based studies of Internet linkages for technology centers in developing nations; return-on-investment studies of university-based distance learning; and international connectivity studies and implementation for centers in Africa, South America, and Asia.

“The human and technology-related variables surrounding Internet deployment in developing nations are a rich source of research opportunities,” says Ruth. A study ICASIT recently completed in Romania showed significant differences in outcomes, differentiated by gender, academic orientation, age, and other variables. A similar study is underway in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda. “This is vital information in planning for the diffusion of Internet technology in a developing nation,” says Ruth.

ICASIT’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year the Center for Forced Migration Studies, an African organization supported by Oxford University, named ICASIT assistance as the most important factor in the improvement of its ability to do refugee studies. “Several members of the UNESCO Forced Migration Network have benefited from Stephen Ruth’s help with electronic connectivity,” says David Turton, director of the center. “The centers in question have clearly gained enormously from this help–in fact, I would say that it’s probably the best thing that has happened to them…since this network was formed!”

“Our mission is to deliver the power of the Internet to businesses, underserved markets, and countries of the developing world,” says Ruth. “ICASIT helps organizations worldwide leverage their investments in information technology by proposing and delivering specific projects on everything from connectivity in developing countries to teaching organizations knowledge management processes.”

New Office and School for ICASIT
August 21, 2000
ICASIT has become one of the affiliated centers in George Mason ‘s School of Public Policy (SPP) with offices on the second floor of the Finley Building. Steve Ruth, ICASIT director, who is also a professor in SPP, and ICASIT staff have completed the move from spaces in the Enterprise Center, just off campus. “We are really enjoying the opportunities that SPP makes possible”, says Ruth. “With a distinguished faculty, projects all over the world, and the excitement of one hundred fifty PhD students, SPP is an ideal spot for us to learn and contribute to existing GMU initiatives. New contact information for ICASIT is as follows:

Finley Building, Room 202
4400 University Drive
MS 3C6
Fairfax, VA 22030
Fax: (703) 993-2284

ICASIT Celebrates 10th Anniversary
May 9, 2000
The International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT) celebrates its 10th anniversary at a luncheon today. Housed in The Institute of Public Policy, ICASIT has received more than $5 million in grants and contracts–primarily for helping organizations leverage information technology applications. ICASIT has worked with more than 70 organizations from around the world. Although the center has projects in more than 20 countries, its local presence is also very active. Recalling a recent note from Henry Azclar, president of Internet startup company artisannet.com, ICASIT director Steve Ruth says, “[Azclar] told us that the web evaluations we did for his company were worth $100,000 to his bottom line–that kind of payoff is what ICASIT has always stood for.” President Alan Merten; Provost Peter Stearns; Ann Armstrong, president of the Center for Innovative Technology; and other ICASIT colleagues from the academy and industry are expected to attend the celebration.

Distance Learning-Kampala to Bucharest?
Professor Ruth recently completed a project with Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health as part of a grant to ICASIT and JHSPH from the Mellon Foundation. The theme of the project is to establish predictors for success in the deployment of Distance Learning in developing nations. The focus of the research is the use of JHSPH’s on line masters program in Public Health in a health center at Kampala, Uganda. JHSPH professors have designed the modules and Dr. Ruth and ICASIT staff have been developing evaluation methodologies that make it possible to assess specific results of the learning events.

To prepare for the study Ruth and ICASIT team members Kim Hansen, David Melia and Bhaskar Choudhury, examined the results of a similar project in Romania in 1997, where ICASIT sent questionnaires to over four hundred professors who had taken an Internet course in Bucharest developed in cooperation between George Mason University and the Romanian Academy of Science. The model data will be directly applicable in Uganda. Ruth estimates that there are at least fifty developing nations that can use the same approach. “Most of the time researchers don’t even do this kind of analysis beforehand”, says Ruth. “Our model will be helpful and should save a lot of false starts in distance learning overseas, and probably has some application in developed nations.” Anyone interested in these results can contact Professor Ruth.

Dr. Barbara Fillip Joins ICASIT
Dr. Barbara Fillip has joined ICASIT as a researcher in international knowledge management. With a background is in the field of international development assistance, Dr. Fillip has worked with organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and AED (Academy for Educational Development). Her research in the past three years has been focused on issues related to the effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and knowledge networking in the context of developing countries. Dr. Fillip works primarily as an independent researcher, consultant and occasional instructor. She is a native French speaker with regional expertise in Africa.

ICASIT Newsletter Archive

Please Note: The following newsletters require Acrobat Reader.

Spring 2003
Fall 2002
Spring 2002
Fall 2001
Spring 2001
Fall 2000
Spring 1999
Fall 1998
Summer 1998
Spring 1998