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EIT Digital

Standardisation & Technology

EIT Digital via Coursera


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Welcome to the course standardisation and technology! Do you already know what standards are? Could you image a world without standards? It is certainly not easy to visualize a world without standards and the huge importance of standards is often underestimated in our society. That is because such a vast amount are common to us and have been for ages. We don’t even realise they are standards anymore. We are excited to see you join and explore the world of standards that goes unnoticed by so many! First we visit historic examples of standards and see that even Before Christ standards were ever present. But since then standards have grown and evolved alongside societies and we need to discuss the fundamentals of standards and standard setting. Nowadays technology is rapidly advancing and standards play an ever increasing role. Have you ever wondered what happens under the hood of your mobile phone? How are we able to orchestrate something so huge as the internet without technical agreements and protocols, without standards? We take a look at the organisations that develop and maintain these standards and even take a brief glimpse in the future of this ever evolving field! Each week video lectures and reading material according to the bibliography in in the introduction will be provided. Practice tests will help you to prepare for the graded assessment at the end of each week. Good luck and we hope you enjoy the course!


  • Introduction
    • Welcome to the course Standardisation and Technology. First we will go through history and find that standards have always been part of human society. Even if you maybe had not realised it yet. But the world has since developed into the current information age. And standards had to develop accordingly. We will discuss the fundamentals, the organisations that draft, oversee and exercise standards ánd the societal necessity and dependance on good standards. Already have a look at the reading materials you will be using throughout the course. We hope you join and enjoy the course and realise what an impact standards have on our (and your) day-to-day life!
  • History
    • How many decades can we go back to still see standards used by humans? Or maybe go back even more, how many ages or how many millennia? Before we dive into this: Have you ever thought about how you knew how far back a decade is? Right, time is indeed a prime example of standardisation, even moreso our time zones. But there are many more examples, let us discuss a few. Can you think of any other historic examples of standards?
  • Fundamentals
    • Now that you have become acquainted with standards throughout history, it is important to recognize what defines a standard. We will walk you through the fundamentals of standardisation, the different parties that are involved in the development. The parties that require standards, the parties that impose regulations. Altogether the development process takes a lot of consideration and in this modules we aim to shine light on the basics to good standards.
  • Standards Developing Organisations
    • According to the free internet encyclopedia: "A standards organisation, standards body, standards developing organisation (SDO), or standards setting organisation (SSO) is an organisation whose primary activities are developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards that are intended to address the needs of a group of affected adopters." So SDOs essentially do 'everything' with regard to standardisation? We will show you exactly what SDOs do and more importantly how different SDOs operate in this module.
  • Consortia
    • What happens when technological progress severely outpaces the development of new standards by the SDOs? New products need new guidelines or standards to abide to, but if there are no suitable standards technological process is hindered. Around the 1980s, the technological advancement was too quick for the (alleged) bureacratic & sluggish SDOs. In response the industry started consortia to fill this lack of standards and start developing themselves. Find out more and also get acquainted with some of the most recognised consortia!
  • Future use and role of standards
    • Finally we arrive at the crossroads of present day standardisation. Since the 1980s technological advancement has not slowed down. Moreover, technology that was previously thought impossible is already right around the corner. Areas like smart mobility, articifical intelligence and machine learning not only require standards to function but also to remain within ethical boundaries. How should, or even can, we define ethics in standards and what about privacy? Technology tends to infringe on this human right more and more. Can we rely on standards alone to set the stage? Form your opinion and learn more about the intricacies between these two subjects.

Taught by

Jan Smits


4.5 rating at Coursera based on 35 ratings

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