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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 policy makers will contribute to the review and development of course materials and/or join course discussions, including Avri Doria, Tracy Hackshaw, Richard Hill, and Ian Peter.

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Open for applications: Yes
Application deadline: 7 July 2017
Start date: 24 July 2017
Duration: 10 weeks
Fees: Certificate: €650; Credit: €790; Scholarships available
Course code: IRL 5093
ECTS credits: 9
Mode(s) of study: Credit - Certificate - Master/PGD

Lecturers

Dr Avri Doria

Dr Avri Doria is a research consultant. She served on the UN Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC) and the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). She served as a member the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Secretaria...

Mr Tracy Hackshaw

Tracy Hackshaw is an ICT & Digital Economy Strategist possessing close to twenty-five (25) years' experience spanning work in the public and private sect...

Dr Richard Hill

Dr Richard Hill is currently involved in discussions on Internet governance at both the national levels (Switzerland) and the international level. He has published articles on Internet governance, made presentations at academic conferences, ...

Ms Virginia Paque

Ms Virginia Paque was born in the United States, but lived in Venezuela for more than 35 years. An educator and administrator by profession, she has 25 years’ experience in business and manufacturing systems consulting. As a board mem...

Mr Ian Peter

Internet expert and historian Ian Peter became involved in the early beginnings of the Internet in Australia and Asia-Pacific from 1986. Currently living in the Byron Bay hinterland, Australia, he is involved with worldwide Interne...

Mr Vladimir Radunović

Vladimir Radunović is a director of e-diplomacy and cybersecurity programmes at DiploFoundation. He is a lecturer in cybersecurity policy, Internet governance, and e-diplomacy at postgraduate and professional courses. Vladimir also serves a...

Course details

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.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • analyse and discuss the interplay between underlying Internet technology concepts and related Internet policy issues;
  • define and explain the overarching ICT infrastructure development issues, including wired and wireless infrastructure, and issues that account for ICT infrastructure development;
  • 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;
  • explain the function of IP protocols, the reasons why upgrading to IPv6 is necessary, and the opportunities and challenges that accompany the new version;
  • 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.
  • discuss the concept of network neutrality, its importance for the Internet, and the current controversies surrounding the issue;
  • 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;
  • 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.

 

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.

Course outline

  1. Introduction to Internet technology and policy: this course addresses the interplay between technology and policy in the very important area of Internet technology development. As we enter an era of accelerated technological development, with the Internet of Things (IoT) and bio-informatics on the horizon, technological developments will reinforce existing, and open new ethical, legal, and policy issues. Thus, we aim to anchor the discussion on technology in the broader social context.

  2. Telecommunication 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. Effective policy shaping requires a basic understanding of the telecommunications infrastructure as the medium through which the traffic flows: cables such as copper wires or optical fibres, or electromagnetic waves such as satellite and wireless links and mobile networks. 

  3. Internet protocols: this module focusses 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 achievement of the core Internet principles.

  4. Domain Name System (DNS): the domain name system (DNS) translates domain names into Internet protocol (IP) addresses. We tend to work with names translated to IP numbers, rather than directly with IP numbers, for a few reasons. First, human beings find it easier to remember names (such as diplomacy.edu) rather than remembering numbers (such as the IP address 176.58.124.93). This module gives an overview of how IP numbers work, why this is important, and reviews a few important current issues, such as the ongoing transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

  5. Cloud computing and applications: today’s Internet would not be possible without cloud computing. The cloud allows massive use and ensures the robustness of the Internet. This module on cloud computing starts with a survey of definitions, core concepts, and evolution. Next, it looks at a technological explanation of how cloud computing operates, leading to discussion of policy issues.

  6. Encryption technology: this module examines encryption technology within the framework of Internet technology and policy, including implications for privacy and other rights, and government responses and actions in this area. For our purposes, encryption refers to the scrambling of electronic documents and communications into an unreadable format which can only be accessed through the use of encryption software. This module will also touch upon some of the intrinsic relationships between encryption, trust, and security.

  7. Emerging technologies: digital technology is one of the most dynamic fields of innovation and development that affects the Internet. Almost every day, we hear news about new hardware and software devices, applications, and tools. We examine a few major emerging technologies, or those which are still evolving significantly, such as Big Data, blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality.

  8. Summary: Policy challenges for infrastructure: this module echoes reflections from the course, and how to establish a balance among the different values and principles as we shape Internet policy. It reflects on the ways the core Internet principles apply to different technologies, keeping in mind that technology should benefit society. But history provides a mixed record of technology being a great enabler, as well as a contributor to major human tragedies, especially in the twentieth century. How can the Internet infrastructure and related policies support this idealism, while enabling practical innovation?

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; and
  • 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.
 
 

This course is conducted online over a period of ten weeks, including one week of classroom orientation, eight weeks of dynamic class content and activities, and one week for the final assignment. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Each week, participants read the provided lecture texts, adding comments, references, and questions in the form of hypertext entries. The tutor and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (e.g. further discussion via blogs or forums or quizzes). At the end of the week, participants and tutors meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic.

Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction. This course requires a minimum of 7-8 hours of study time per week.

Participants are invited to join Diplo’s global Internet governance online community of over 1,400 members, and to attend monthly webinars and other IG-related events and activities.

The course materials, the e-learning platform, and the working language of the course is English. Applicants should consider whether their reading and writing skills in English are sufficient to follow postgraduate level materials and discussion.

 
 

Applicants for the certificate course must have:

  • IG knowledge and/or experience of the multistakeholder approach in international affairs;
  • Either completed the course Introduction to Internet Governance, or have basic knowledge of Internet governance, and infrastructure;
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments);
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable);
  • A minimum of 7-8 hours commitment per week, and the readiness to participate in class online sessions (once a week at specified times).

In addition to the above, applicants for the accredited course must also meet 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 two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; 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.
 
 

Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course:

  • €790 (University of Malta Accredited Course)
  • €650 (Diplo Certificate Course)

Applicants must pay full fees upon official acceptance into the course. The fee includes:

  • Tuition fee
  • Access to all course materials online, via Diplo’s online classroom
  • Personal interaction via the online classroom with course lecturers, staff and other participants
  • Online technical support
  • University of Malta application fee (for University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • Access, via the Internet, to the University of Malta e-journal collection (University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • For Diplo Certificate Courses, postgraduate level e-certificate issued by DiploFoundation on successful completion of course requirements (interaction and participation, all assignments) which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link

Financial assistance

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

To apply for a scholarship please upload 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.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions. Our guide to Finding Scholarships for Online Study may provide you with some useful starting points.

 

 
 

A number of routes for application are available:


Apply for a Diplo Certificate Course

Applicants for certificate courses should apply online.

If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload 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.
  • Why 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 DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries. Late applications will 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 (download form for overseas applicants; download form for applicants with Maltese qualifications).
  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; 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 mail complete application packages to the address at the bottom of the page.


Cancellation Policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrollment 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.

 
 

Contact admissions

DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)

Anutruf, Ground Floor
Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
Tel: +356 21 333 323; Fax: +356 21 315 574
admissions@diplomacy.edu

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