The broad research agenda of the COTELCO Center is to achieve a better understanding of three areas:
(1) The institutional mechanisms of global governance for information and communication technology
(2) The role, development, and functioning of transnational policy-actor advocacy networks in global regime formation and their linkages with epistemic communities
(3) The socio-technical infrastructure for geographically-distributed collaboration in knowledge work.
Currently, we are studying the participation of transnational advocacy networks in elite global information and communication technology policy processes such as the United Nations-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society. We are specifically interested in the impact of web-based socio-technical collaboration infrastructure – configured as a “policy collaboratory” – on the interaction and density of these policy networks and on the epistemic communities that nourish them.
To accomplish the goals of our research program, COTELCO is currently engaged in three interrelated research themes:
I. Cyberpolitics: This theme investigates the socio-technical infrastructure required to enhance the participation of developing countries and civil society organizations in global governance processes in information and communication policy.
II. Cyberinfrastructure: This research theme focuses on presenting and studying blended learning approaches that involve the strategic and principled use of information and communications technologies to create “centers without walls;” and the widespread use of information and communication technologies to facilitate geographically distributed collaboration by social scientists and humanities scholars.
III. Cyberlearning: This research area examines geographically distributed collaborative learning between students and faculty in developed and developing countries. The investigation focuses on an interdisciplinary seminar involving graduate students at two universities in the United States and at universities in countries outside of the United States. The seminar, entitled “Globalization and the Information Society: Information, Communication and Development” (“Globalization Seminar”), involves students from up to six universities, including participating institutions in the United States, South Africa; Rwanda; and the Caribbean.