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Community Based Learning In Engr 101 Term Project: Toy Design For School Children In Disadvantaged Old Cairo Community

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Engineering Education in Africa and the Middle East

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.293.1 - 15.293.17



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Paper Authors

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Lamyaa El-Gabry The American University in Cairo - Mechanical Engineering Department

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Community based learning in ENGR 101 term project: toy design for school children in disadvantaged Old Cairo community


Introduction to Engineering (ENGR 101) is the first engineering course students take upon admission to the engineering program. It is required of students in all disciplines of engineering. It is a one credit hour course that meets once a week and covers topics including History of Engineering, Engineering fields of specializations, the engineering profession, engineering communications, engineering ethics and societal obligations. It also focuses on teaching students the engineering approach to problem solving and includes a course project. Community Based Learning was introduced into the ENGR 101 course via the term project which is a required component of the course. The project was to design toys for children ages 7 to 14 years at a school in a disadvantaged squatter community in Old Cairo, Egypt, where infrastructure is poor and education and social mobility can be very limited. The project was carried out in partnership with a non- Sohbit Khayr neighborhood in Old Cairo. This paper shows how the introductory engineering course was redesigned to integrate community based learning while meeting the stated ABET course outcomes. Included are detailed step-by-step instructions on the tools and structure of the project so that it may serve as an example for others wishing to adapt some of these tools to other courses. The paper will present the outcome assessments and survey results to evaluate the

students and the community partner.


Community based learning is a pedagogical approach in which the student is engaged with the community in order to learn. The aim of the engagement is to promote learning at a deeper level on the part of the student and to have the community benefit from the learning. Community based learning is different from community service. In community service, the aim is to serve the community and the measure of success is on the benefit gained by the community. Community based learning on the other hand places the focus on the learning and gives students a more authentic and detailed model for the profession in the short term while offering the potential for more substantive community engagement than mere acts of charity in the long term.

One can evaluate projects based on the 4-block diagram shown in Figure 1. Projects can be of high service or low service to the community and they can be of high learning or low learning for the student. A project that is high service and high learning (quadrant IV) is beneficial to both the student and the community partner and would be a good candidate. But a project that is of high service to the community but of low learning (quadrant II), for example cleaning parks and painting playgrounds would NOT be considered community based learning but would qualify for a community service project. The key to community based learning is that the project and engagement must serve the outcomes of the course and ensure that the learning that is required of that course is achieved and not compromised.

El-Gabry, L. (2010, June), Community Based Learning In Engr 101 Term Project: Toy Design For School Children In Disadvantaged Old Cairo Community Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15677

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