Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Field Experience (0.5) A hands-on integrated learning research and entrepreneurial engagement experience for students working on various humanitarian projects.
EDSGN 454 Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Field Experience (0.5)
The Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Field Experience is a hands-on integrated learning, research and entrepreneurial engagement experience for students engaged in HESE ventures in the EDSGN 452 and allied courses (e.g. BIOE 401, ME 440W). Students travel to project site(s) for three weeks to advance their ventures by conducting field-testing of their technologies, testing their preliminary business models, and gathering data for research projects. They work closely with community members and various partnering agencies during the course. The partnering agencies range from community members to non-profits, community-based organizations, and governmental and United Nations agencies. Students work in cross- national cross-functional teams and make several presentations to community members, potential partners and investors. In the past, HESE students have worked in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, India, El Salvador, Jamaica, Ecuador and other countries.
There is no set schedule for the three weeks in the partnering community. A (two-hour long) debriefing meeting is held every evening to discuss progress made by all the teams on that day and decide the action plan for the next day. Administrative issues, technological challenges, ethical or diplomatic issues are also discussed in this meeting and solutions are developed by consensus. The field experience is also a rich environment for students to explore the ethical intricacies of engaging in projects in international contexts. Students engage in debates on ethical issues related to science, technology and society in an applied setting – the people are real, the ethical dilemma is real and most importantly, a consensus is required to address the ethical issue and decide on the further course of action.
A collaborative and integrated approach of system design, business strategy, and implementation strategy development is employed. The process of operationalizing the design and the business / implementation strategies is as important as the product itself. This integrated design and implementation process encompasses conceptualization, validation, design, field-testing, implementation, and evaluation, all done in an iterative fashion. Several tools, from literature, industry (like the IDEO Human-Centered Design toolkit) and those developed by our teams (like the E-Spot Canvas) are employed during fieldwork. Student evaluation is by a reflective essay written 3-4 weeks after the completion of the trip.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.