(229b) Preparing Students for Design Experiences in a Global Setting | AIChE

(229b) Preparing Students for Design Experiences in a Global Setting


Lewis, R. - Presenter, Brigham Young University
Bateman, T., Brigham Young University
Ward, C., Brigham Young University
International educational opportunities for engineering students include, but are not limited to, internships, study abroad programs, and humanitarian programs such as Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Since 2007, a two-semester Global Engineering Outreach (GEO) course in the College of Engineering and Technology at _____________ University has enabled engineering and technology students from multiple disciplines to design and implement humanitarian-based engineering projects. Energy, water, sanitation, and health projects have been implemented in Tonga, Ghana, and Peru. Currently, the projects focus on the needs of communities in Peru.

The question arises as to whether students can adequately design and implement projects without traveling to the country prior to implementation. Each year in the GEO course, a new group of students are divided into four or five teams to design projects selected by two Peruvian communities. Following the two semesters of project development, an implementation trip occurs in May. The GEO class has interacted with these communities for several years so strong relationships exist between each community and the GEO faculty. To facilitate cultural and social preparation for students in the upcoming class, students during the previous year’s class take videos and obtain community information during the implementation trip to share with the upcoming class members. Significant efforts are also extended within the GEO course curriculum to 1) receive training on social impact assessment and communication, 2) review past reports and videos to increase understanding of the culture, 3) interact on a regular basis with the community throughout the design process, 4) implement social constraints along with technical constraints in the design process, and 5) document all social interactions with the community. Assessment occurs during December, April, and June to assess the effectiveness of cultural preparation prior to and following the implementation trip.

The curriculum methods and associated assessment on cultural preparation and training will be presented to help address the question as to whether students can be adequately prepared for designing and implementing projects without traveling to the country prior to implementation. A brief discussion of future plans for strengthening the cultural preparation will also be presented.