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Module [Module Number] Schwerpunktmodul Information Systems I [1277SInSy1]
Regular Cycle One-time course offering in the summer term 2021
Teaching Form Seminar
Examination Form Portfolio
Teaching Language English
ECTS 6
Instructor Vertr.-Prof. Dr. Friedrich Chasin
KLIPS Summer Term 2021 (Second Registration Phase)
Syllabus Download

 

Content

The Phenomenon of (Digital) Community Currencies

The demand for underutilized physical resources as well as unemployed and underemployed human resources creates opportunities for innovations. For instance, in Indonesia, passengers who cannot afford a public bus ride have an option to pay with the plastic waste they collect (Soeriaatmadja, 2018). The economic exchange, in this case, represents a substitute for what research calls community currencies (Seyfang & Longhurst, 2013). Community currencies are alternative currencies created for the purpose of strengthening the local economy of a community. While not aiming at replacing national currencies, they enable economic transactions with local resources for local needs. Simply put, community currencies represent “local ‘money’ that is only useable within a neighborhood or town” (Soeriaatmadja, 2018). The “Chiemgauer” (Cato & Suárez, 2012; Thiel, 2011) project with 3,500 participating individuals and 500 businesses is a prime example of a community currency. To conduct transactions, Chiemgauer community members can exchange Euro into an alternative currency (“Chiemgauer Regiogeld”) and use it for conducting transactions like buying products and paying for services. Even during and after the financial crises in 2008, the Chiemgauer project was reporting on the currency’s positive impact on the community, including enforcing regional economic flows and cooperation, increasing the sense of belonging to a community, reducing emissions of transport, and providing economic resilience for the community through reduced levels of high-risk financial speculation (Galleri, 2019).

The phenomenon of community currencies has a long history, is currently applied in many countries, and has been studied by economists and sociologists worldwide. Most research has been carried out outside the digital space as community currencies were traditionally printed and circulated the communities in the form of paper bills. With the advent of the digital age, Digital Community Currencies (DCCs) create opportunities for addressing challenges that traditional community currencies face, such as the inconvenience of handling two currencies in one wallet and the lack of reusability for community currency platforms. This seminar explores the phenomenon of digital community currencies by analyzing and interviewing community currency projects, as well as tapping into the academic discourse on the phenomenon. The seminar’s goal is to equip students with the knowledge required for establishing resilient and reusable DCC platforms and developing the corresponding IT solutions.

Background

The discourse on digital community currencies falls in the context of a larger discourse on sustainability. Addressing the grand challenge of sustainability implies tackling issues across its three dimensions: economic, ecological, and social (Watson et al., 2010). While acknowledging each of these dimensions’ importance, the academic focus has been so far on the ecological environment (see Malhotra et al., 2013; vom Brocke et al., 2013). The opportunities for IT to become part of a solution for societal challenges such as poverty, hunger, and unemployment are not yet explored exhaustively. Against this background, community currencies their digital counterparts can positively impact issues like reducing inequality and social exclusion, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and democratizing services and organizations (CCIA, 2015). In this seminar, we assume Berniker's (2017) guiding vision for digital community currencies as a pillar for tomorrow’s resilient and sustainable communities.

Course Content

  • Digital community currencies (DCC)
  • Positioning of DCC within the sustainability discourse
  • Types of DCCs
  • DCC advantages and affordances
  • Distributions of DCCs
  • Challenges of DCCs
  • DCC best practices

(Please see the syllabus for the list of references)

Learning Objectives

Students …
  • understand the Digital Community Currencies (DCC) phenomenon.
  • learn the basics of the qualitative data analysis.
  • improve their skills in conducting and writing up research (preparation for master’s thesis).
  • improve their skills in the synthesis and aggregation of (research) results.
  • strengthen their teamwork skills.
  • improve their ability to communicate research results.

Timeline

Fundamentals on Scientific Work

06 April 2021, 11:00-17:00 (online)

The students learn the fundamentals of scientific work via the Flipped Classroom on Scientific Work. A separate registration (and preparation) is necessary: ILIAS

Students are exempted if they have already attended the classroom session of the Flipped Classroom on Scientific Work in the context of another course. If this is the case, students should contact friedrich.chasin@uni-koeln.de beforehand, providing the course name and semester in which the classroom session on scientific work has been accomplished.For more information, please click here.

Main Course

  • 14 April 2021, 12:00-14:00: Kick-off; organization; sustainability from the DCC perspective
  • 20 April 2021, 12:00-14:00: Economic unsustainability 1
  • 21 April 2021, 12:00-14:00: Economic unsustainability 2
  • 28 April 2021, 12:00-14:00: Digital Community Currencies
  • 05 May 2021, 12:00-14:00: Topics/interview distribution and discussion
  • 12 May 2021, 12:00-14:00: Assignment iteration 1 (obligatory presentation of intermediary results and discussions)
  • 19 May 2021, 12:00-14:00: Assignment iteration 2 (obligatory presentation of intermediary results and discussions)
  • 02 June 2021, 12:00-14:00: Assignment iteration 3 (obligatory presentation of intermediary results and discussions)
  • 23 June 2021, 23:55: Submission of assignments 1&2 (via ILIAS)
  • 07 July 2021, 23:55: Submission of assignment 3 (via ILIAS)
  • 20 July 2021, 09:00-10:30 & 11:00-12:30 & 13:00- 14:30 & 14:30-16:00: Final presentations

Venue: online (Zoom)

Assessment

The grading is performed based on the assignments. Instead of one comprehensive assignment, the students prepare three smaller assignments that are graded individually. All insights gathered in the seminar are synthesized in a final document. Groups of students will be formed to facilitate teamwork and improve the quality of the results.

Assingment 1: Short Seminar Paper (40%)
You prepare a short research paper on one of the DCC sub-topics.

Assignment 2: Qualitative Data Analysis (20%)
The seminar participants receive interview data collected during interviews with the managers of digital community platforms. Based on the transcribed interviews, you perform a qualitative data analysis focusing on identifying and coding best practices associated with community currencies.

Assignment 3: Report (20%)
Using the results from assignments one and two, you create a concise report on the issues covered in the assignments.

Presentation of Assignment 1 (20%)
You present the content of the report in a final presentation.

Selected Readings

Relevant papers and other reading materials will be provided.