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Shaping the Internet – History and Futures

The Internet Society delivers the Next Generation Leaders (NGL) eLearning course, “Shaping the Internet – History and Futures”.

This online course covers essential topics for effective interactions and relationships within the Internet ecosystem and key concepts and emerging issues in Internet governance.
The course is delivered on the Internet Society’s e-Learning platform, featuring weekly online discussions of the course materials, led by an expert moderator.
The course uses a variety of interactive technologies to focus participants on discussions of the development of the Internet as an open, user-centred, and inclusive global communication tool.

The Programme

“Shaping the Internet – History and Futures” classes examine:
  • Historical background to the development of the Internet;
  • Fundamental key principles and characteristics that underpin the Internet;
  • Characteristics of Internet model of development;
  • Dominant Internet technical and policy issues;
  • Main Internet stakeholders and their respective roles;
  • Perspectives on key policy and regulatory issues; and
  • Legal issues, including privacy and intellectual property rights.

The course is conducted entirely online and can be completed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

There is mid-term group project and a case study examination at the end of the course.
Classes are led by an expert moderator appointed by the Internet Society.


Separate classes are conducted in English, French, and Spanish (from 2012).

When Is the Course Held?

Classes typically take place from May until October each year.

Time Commitment 

Participants are generally expected to commit a minimum of 8 hours per week to preparation and participation in the course. Many activities can be done at any time. At the start of each course, the tutor will negotiate with the students to set the most suitable time for the weekly online chat sessions.

Who Should Apply?

The course is designed for Internet Society members from academia, the public sector, technology industries, and civil society who are committed to the ongoing expansion of an open, sustainable Internet.
In particular, we encourage applications from the following categories of individuals from all countries:
  • Officials in government ministries and departments dealing with ICT-related issues (for example, telecommunications, culture, education, foreign affairs, justice);
  • Officials in regulatory authorities or institutions dealing with Information Society, Internet, and ICT-related issues;
  • Postgraduate students and researchers (for example, telecommunications, electrical engineering, law, economics, development studies, sociology);
  • Engineers in the Internet field;
  • Civil society activists in the Internet field;
  • Journalists covering Internet-related issues; and
  • Business people in the Internet field (for example, those managing ISPs or involved in software development).

Selection Criteria

Selection for the course is competitive.
The first step to apply for Internet Society’s eLearning Course is to become a member of the Internet Society.
Not a Member yet?

All applicants must be between ages 20-40 years and must have:

  • A basic awareness of, and interest in, Internet-related issues;
  • Knowledge and experience of the multi-stakeholder approach in international affairs;
  • A professional background and relevant work or academic experience in the Internet field;
  • Fluency in English, French, or Spanish;
  • Good writing skills, ability to summarize information, and focus on details;
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient);
  • Minimum of 8 hours commitment per week during each thematic part of the online course (this is perhaps the single most important requirement and should be evaluated seriously by any potential applicant); and
  • Readiness to participate in online consultations (once a week at specified times

How To Apply

Applications are now closed.

Shaping the Internet – History and Futures 2014 Course

NIC México sponsorship

NIC (Network Information Center) México is responsible for the .MX Internet Registry, and provides resources for México’s Internet development. To build the pool of well-qualified leaders who can help México realize the transformational power of the global Internet, NIC México sponsored a number of individuals in taking the Internet Society’s principal online course on Internet governance, “Shaping the Internet: History and Futures.” 

Ten individuals were sponsored in 2014, an increase from five in 2013. Half of the 2014 group were women, in a specific effort to increase women’s participation in México’s Internet ecosystem. The Internet Society and NIC México partnership is ongoing.

Read more or download the brochure on this case study here

More information

For any other questions, please contact,

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