Presenting a new course for public sector innovators:

Digital Government and Civic Tech
Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30pm, March 8 – April 19, 2017
Ryerson University - Chang School of Continuing Education

Course Description


“The two biggest levers for improving people’s lives at scale are technology and government.”

– Code for America

How can today’s public servants use technology and design to deliver high-quality public services and engagement opportunities?

Modern technology enables government services that are more responsive and resident-focused. In order to deliver these new tech-enabled services, governments need a strong understanding of the tools and processes of both tech and design.

Ryerson's new Digital Government and Civic Tech course will introduce public servants to these concepts to prepare them to lead digital transformation in the public sector. With a strong focus on case studies and practical applications, the course will cover emerging best practices in digital government including prototyping, human-centred design, and agile project management. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the tools, methods, and processes of digital government, and be able to identify opportunities to apply them to their own work.

Whether developed internally or in collaboration with community, technology can help government achieve outcomes that improve life for residents. These outcomes don’t happen by chance; government innovators need to be prepared to work in ways that are relatively new to government.

Here are some inspiring and precedent-setting examples of how governments in Canada -- and around the world -- are using tech and design to improve service delivery and public engagement:


A transformed healthcare application process for United States veterans: By using best practices in tech including user experience design and iterative software development, the United States Digital Service helped Veterans Affairs create an healthcare application process that was accessible and easy to use.


A flu shot app developed through community-government collaboration in Boston: Using open source code previously developed in Chicago, city staff in Boston collaborated with a local civic tech group to redeploy an app to help Boston residents find and access free public flu clinics — less than 36 hours after the Mayor declared a state of emergency.


A “Digital Marketplace” to help government agencies procure technology with modern best practices: The UK’s Government Digital Service helps UK federal agencies avoid common issues with tech procurement in government. The Digital Marketplace streamlines and simplifies the procurement process for both government agencies and vendors.


A community group in Toronto builds resident-led civic tech and partners with government agencies: Civic Tech Toronto holds weekly hacknights where residents use their personal experience and their skills in technology, data, and design to solve civic problems.


Course information:

Schedule: Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30pm, March 8 – April 19, 2017
Location: Ryerson University campus (Dundas subway)
Classroom time: 21 hours
Instructor: Gabe Sawhney – Executive Director, Urban+Digital
Fees (incl. tax): $417.95
Includes access to Ryerson library, online journals, and student services, and a discount on athletic centre membership.)

Who should enrol in this course?

While this course is designed specifically to meet the needs and interests of municipal and provincial government staff, it is open to everyone.


Sign up online at Ryerson's Chang School of Continuing Education website.

Course outline

Download the course outline (PDF).

Updated course materials will be posted here as details are confirmed.