Phenomenal growth of the mobile telephony in the less developed world, particularly in India, much as the same way as that of the Internet in late 1980s and early 1990s, has changed information and communication technologies  (ICTs) in the 21st century to communication and information technologies (CITs). But the relationship of information and communication is getting even more symbiotic.

Even when ICTs are reaching remote corners in less developed countries, their potential as a powerful tool for science communication activities largely remains untapped. The depth of ICTs for science communication activities in India is very limited, thanks to systematic decline and neglect of a few other components of national information suprastructure and infrastructure. One example of this can be secondary and tertiary education policies and infrastructure that has increased info- and digital divide within the country leading to a communication divide. The divide between elite and non-elite institutions in communication and information potential is also increasing. But looking at a rosy side of the picture, ICT tools and applications have the potential to bridge many of these gaps. Discussion forum is an example of one such tool that can be used without great sophistication or infrastructure at users’ level. But, discussion forums as tools for science communication are few in south Asian region in general, and India in particular, and many of those that have been launched are not working anywhere near their optimum potential. A study of a few science communication discussion forums in south Asian region is being carried out and preliminary   results   show   that   most   of   the   resources   are   used   simply   for   sharing   of   information,   while  discussion on  science  communication–the  primary  purpose  of  any  such  forum–remains  neglected. Problems  associated  with discussion forums are also discussed, along with methods and ways by which their efficiency and effectiveness for science communication is increased.

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Problems in using CITs for science communication in less developed countries
A study of South Asian science communication discussion forums

H. Kalra   Punjabi University, India

A. Sethi   Baba Bnada Singh Bahadur Engineering College

 Phenomenal growth of the mobile telephony in the less developed world, particularly in India, much as the same way as that of the Internet in late 1980s and early 1990s, has changed information and communication technologies  (ICTs) in the 21st century to communication and information technologies (CITs). But the relationship of information and communication is getting even more symbiotic.

Even when ICTs are reaching remote corners in less developed countries, their potential as a powerful tool for science communication activities largely remains untapped. The depth of ICTs for science communication activities in India is very limited, thanks to systematic decline and neglect of a few other components of national information suprastructure and infrastructure. One example of this can be secondary and tertiary education policies and infrastructure that has increased info- and digital divide within the country leading to a communication divide. The divide between elite and non-elite institutions in communication and information potential is also increasing. But looking at a rosy side of the picture, ICT tools and applications have the potential to bridge many of these gaps. Discussion forum is an example of one such tool that can be used without great sophistication or infrastructure at users’ level. But, discussion forums as tools for science communication are few in south Asian region in general, and India in particular, and many of those that have been launched are not working anywhere near their optimum potential. A study of a few science communication discussion forums in south Asian region is being carried out and preliminary   results   show   that   most   of   the   resources   are   used   simply   for   sharing   of   information,   while  discussion on  science  communication–the  primary  purpose  of  any  such  forum–remains  neglected. Problems  associated  with discussion forums are also discussed, along with methods and ways by which their efficiency and effectiveness for science communication is increased.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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