Internet Technology and Policy: Challenges and Solutions online course

Internet Technology and Policy: Challenges and Solutions online course

Start date: 22 July 2024

The critical internet infrastructure is no longer a dry tech-geek topic.

It has drawn attention from the wider internet community through discussions on internet names and numbers (domain names such as .amazon, .wine), the internet of things (self-driving cars, drones affecting air traffic safety) and other current issues. DiploFoundation offers an interactive online course focusing on technology and core infrastructure issues in the context of public policy.

This course will be of interest to technical experts who are keen to learn more about digital policy, and to policy people who wish to learn more about internet technology. The interplay between these two communities will add value to the course interaction.

Prominent internet experts and leading policymakers will contribute to the review and development of course materials and/or join course discussions.

This course can be taken as part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance.

What will you learn?

  • To analyse and discuss the interplay between underlying internet technology concepts and related internet policy issues
  • To define and explain the overarching ICT infrastructure development issues, including wired and wireless infrastructure, and issues that account for ICT infrastructure development
  • How to apply the basic concepts and importance of internet connection costs, and issues that account for differences in costs, including regulatory frameworks, discrepancies in international bandwidth costs, and costs of deployment
  • How to explain the function of IP protocols, the reasons why upgrading to IPv6 is necessary, and the opportunities and challenges that accompany the new version
  • How to describe and participate in the current debates on the regulatory framework and its importance to the internet infrastructure to promote a more efficient ICT sector while promoting development and innovation
  • To discuss the concept of network neutrality, its importance for the internet, and the current controversies surrounding the issue
  • How to explain the DNS and the associated policy development systems, including the function of ICANN, the delegation of top-level domains (TLDs), and their management by TLD Registries
  • To identify and compare the roles of IANA and other main actors in IP address allocation, domain name root-servers, the delegation/re-delegation process, and the complexities of some recent developments in the domain name industry

How will you learn?

In this course you will interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world. You will receive guidance and personalised feedback on your classwork from the course team.

How long will you learn?

The course lasts for 10 weeks:

  • 1 week of course introduction and orientation to online learning
  • 8 weeks of addressing the course topics one by one (see below for more details)
  • 1 week for the final assignment and completing pending tasks

Who should apply

This course will be of interest to technical experts who are keen to learn more about digital policy, and to policy people who wish to learn more about internet technology. The interplay between these two communities will add value to the course interaction.

Diplo seeks applications from the following, from both developed and developing countries:

  • Officials in government ministries, departments, or institutions dealing with Information Society, internet and ICT-related policy issues (e.g., telecommunications, education, foreign affairs, justice)
  • Postgraduate students, academics and researchers in the IG field (e.g., in telecommunications, electrical engineering, law, economics, development studies)
  • Civil society activists in the IG and Information Society fields
  • Journalists covering IG issues
  • Individuals in internet business-related fields (e.g., ISPs, software developers)

This course may also be of interest to:

  • Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations who want to refresh or expand their knowledge of more technical issues, under the guidance of experienced practitioners and academics.
  • Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies and to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats.


Excerpt from course materials:

Technology has been the main driver of societal changes throughout history (fire, the wheel, tools, agriculture, the printing press, the telegraph) with particular acceleration over the last 200 years. Technology influences changes in the fabric, economy, and core values of our society.

Every phase in history has had a ‘defining technology’ (Bolter, 1984). Some of them, such as writing, are so integrated in our daily routines that we no longer recognise them as technologies. Other defining technologies have included, for example, the clock, the steam engine, and, more recently, electrical devices. Digital technology is the defining technology of our own era. Each new technology has reopened the question of the impact of technology on society, and this question is as relevant in the Internet era as it has been throughout the centuries. Thus, before zooming in on the digital era, let’s make a short overview of the evolution of thinking about the impact of technology on society.

Bolter JD (1984) Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

The course consists of 8 modules:

  • Historical and conceptual foundations of connectivityThe historical evolution of technology and its profound impact on society. The concept of layered architecture, a fundamental framework that underpins the interconnected world we live in today. We aim to anchor the discussion on technology in the broader social context.
  • Telecommunications infrastructure: Understanding the basis for core infrastructures fosters better policy shaping, leading to the development of policies and principles that are compatible with underlying internet architecture. Infrastructure and policy must be analysed together to enhance their functionality.
  • Internet protocols: This module focuses on the protocols that allow computers to communicate among themselves: the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and other related protocols known together as the ‘IP suite’. We look at the relationships between technology and policy and analyse how the internet protocols contribute to the achievement of the core internet principles.
  • Applications and content: The applications layer, also called the content layer, is the interface where end users directly engage with digital services, applications, and content. This dynamic layer encompasses a diverse range of applications, including web browsers, email clients, video streaming platforms, and mobile apps, and builds on the foundation of the infrastructure and transport layers. This module explores Cloud Computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Net Neutrality.
  • Security and encryption technology: This module examines encryption technology within the framework of internet connectivity, including implications for privacy and other rights and government responses and actions in this area.
  • Standards: Standards describe rules, requirements, and guidelines for how technology, products, and services are developed and function. This module explores the role of standards across the spectrum of infrastructure, protocols, and applications, the organisations responsible for setting standards, and ongoing policy discussions involving standards.
  • AI technology: This module examines how AI operates across the three critical layers of the internet ecosystem – the infrastructure layer, protocols layer, and content layer – and how it impacts security and standardisation, as well as the policy implications across each sector.
  • Emerging and frontier technologies: The module delves into the life cycle of new technologies and a number of emerging technologies (e.g. actively maturing technologies) and frontier technologies (e.g. technologies at the forefront of innovation), their use in internet infrastructure and connectivity, and some of the issues they face.

Course lecturers

 Face, Head, Person, Photography, Portrait, Accessories, Glasses, Body Part, Neck, Adult, Female, Woman, Frown, Sad, Happy, Smile

Sorina Teleanu

Director of Knowledge, Diplo

 Face, Head, Person, Mustache, Adult, Male, Man, Photography, Portrait, Accessories, Glasses

Vladimir Radunović

Director of Cybersecurity & E-diplomacy, Diplo

Virginia (Ginger) Paque

Senior Policy Editor, Diplo

Jovan Kurbalija

Executive Director, Diplo

Need more info:

DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)

Anutruf, Ground Floor, Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta

+356 21 333 323;


The Internet Technology and Policy online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 10 weeks. Reading materials and the necessary tools for online interaction are provided in a virtual classroom.

Each week, participants study and discuss course materials and complete additional online activities. At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet to discuss the topic of the week. For successful completion, this course requires a minimum of 5 to 7 hours of study time per week.

Participants who successfully complete a certificate course receive a certificate issued by Diplo which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link. Participants who successfully complete an accredited course will receive 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta.


All course applicants must have regular internet access; dial-up connections are sufficient, but broadband is preferable.

Applicants for certificate courses must have:

  • Either completed the course Introduction to Internet Governance or have knowledge of internet governance or digital policy. Familiarity with the multistakeholder approach in international affairs is an additional asset
  • An undergraduate university degree OR 3 years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations
  • Sufficient English language skills to undertake postgraduate-level studies

Applicants for accredited courses must meet the University of Malta prerequisites:

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours
  • Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last 2 years (minimum requirements: TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95; IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.

Fees and scholarships

Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course or a Diplo certificate:

  • University of Malta accredited courses: €850
  • Diplo certificate courses: €690

Note: Diplo alumni can benefit from a 15% discount on the fee for this course.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries. Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.

You can apply for this course as:

How to apply

Fill out the short form to start your application process for this course. You will receive an instruction email on how to continue.

Applying for financial assistance? Please indicate this on the application form, upload your CV, and a motivation statement that should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background
  • Reasons for your interest in the course
  • Why do you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course? How will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Please note that financial assistance from Diplo is available only to applicants from developing countries!

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available in the course.


Apply for a University of Malta accredited course

Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.

  1. Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full
  2. Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts
  3. English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by a translator
  4. English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95. IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results
  5. Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport
  6. If you are requesting financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course (i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country). Financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries.
  7. Application fee or proof of payment (€100, non-refundable – see methods of payment).

Please send the complete application package by email to or by post to:

Anutruf, Ground Floor
Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta

Please note that by sending your application package, you are confirming that you have read Diplo's Privacy Policy. Please note that Diplo will process and share your personal data with third parties (including the University of Malta) for admissions and academic matters, administering finance, and administrative purposes in accordance with the Privacy Policy.


Cancellation policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.