MSc ICTs for Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:

Unit code MGDI60312
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module covers e-government-specific content not covered by other information systems (or public management) modules.  It is divided into three parts:


1. eGovernment-Specific Applications Delivering Public Reform Goals (Sessions 1-5)

Following an introductory session overviewing the nature and status of e-government globally, this part of the module proceeds in four sessions to cover the four main ways in which ICTs are being used to deliver various different parts of the public sector reform agenda:

  • eAdministration/G2G
  • eCitizens/eAccountability
  • eDemocracy/eParticipation
  • eServices/G2C & G2B

2. eGovernment-Specific Management Issues (Sessions 6-9)

This reviews various cross-cutting management issues that are of specific importance to application of ICTs in the public sector (i.e. which are either not found in the private sector and/or are quite different in the private sector).  These may include:

  • Open government: opening up government data to internal and external users
  • Digital divide; social exclusion; problems of access and need to run parallel multi-channel access to public sector information and services.
  • Integrating e-government data: big data management and crowdsourcing/harvesting across platforms, technologies and borders
  • Content development and citizen representation: e-government innovation as “voice”

3. Presentations (Session 10)

Evaluation of student group presentations on e-government topics (which are typically application or management issues not covered in-depth within the module).



The need for this course unit arises from the growing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the public sector, and from the growing exposure of students to this phenomenon, as managers, professionals, consultants or clients of the public sector.  The unit aims to explore different components of e-government, but places these within an organisational and environmental context that seeks particularly to take account of drivers to public sector reform, key stakeholders, and national differences.  It builds on GDI's research strengths in e-government.



Learning outcomes

Category of outcome

Students should/will (please delete as appropriate) be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·       describe the main components of e-government and place those components into a broader socio-political framework


Intellectual skills

·      examine the potential benefits of, and constraints faced by key e-government projects

·      apply critical frameworks to analyse both e-government case studies and their own experience of ICTs in the public sector

·      analyse the relationship between e-government and public sector reform

·      compare different country experiences of e-government


Practical skills

·      construct a critical presentation on an aspect of e-government


Transferable skills and personal qualities

·      critically review real-world case studies and relevant literature

·      work as a group to construct a presentation

·      construct a postgraduate-level assessment



Teaching and learning methods

Each face-to-face 3-hour workshop session includes lecturer presentation, case study material, student group activities and exercises, and group discussion.

Students are expected to engage with e-learning materials provided via Blackboard to support learning. These include session handouts including cases and exercises; question-and-answer quizzes to allow assessment of session learning; links to further case study and research materials; and online discussion, work and chat spaces

The course unit is highly participative, encouraging students to share knowledge and experience. It is also practical, encouraging students to apply models and theory to real-world case studies.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 70%
Oral assessment/presentation 30%

Feedback methods

Assessment pro-forma per group provided within 15 working days of presentation.

Recommended reading

·      Boughzala, I., Janssen, M. & Assar, S. (2015) Case Studies in e-Government 2.0, Springer, Cham

·      Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bastow, S. & Tinkler, J. (2006) Digital Era Governance, Oxford University Press, Oxford

·      Gauld, R. & Goldfinch, S. (2006) Dangerous Enthusiasms: E-Government, Computer Failure and Information System Development, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, New Zealand

·      Heeks, R.B. (ed) (2001) Reinventing Government in the Information Age, Routledge, London

·      Heeks, R.B. (2006) Implementing and Managing eGovernment: An International Text, Sage Publications, London

·      Henman, P. (2010) Governing Electronically, Palgrave, London

·      Meier, A. (2012) eDemocracy & eGovernment, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany

·      Tambouris, E. et al (eds) (2015) Electronic Government, Springer, Cham

·      UN (2016) United Nations E-Government Survey 2016, UN, New York, NY

·      Wirtz, B.W. & Daiser, P. (2015) E-Government: Strategy, Process, Instruments, German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer, Germany


Other materials available from:;;;

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Richard Heeks Unit coordinator

Additional notes

GDI Programmes on which course unit is offered:

10 x 3-hour workshops

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