New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Orienting projects toward social services introduces and motivates students to real-world problem solving in an engineering curriculum. While service learning has gained traction in recent years, only a few papers in the literature have addressed the development of assistive technologies as a focus for engineering project applications. Over the past seven years, an organization at our institution has fostered interdisciplinary efforts of undergraduate students and faculty to develop an assistive communication technology known as Wireless-Enabled Remote Co-presence (WERCware). WERCware is designed for those who depend on job- or life-coaching, to ameliorate cognitive and behavioral challenges that affect performance at home or in the workplace. It facilitates remote communication between coach and consumer, for training and/or other support as needed, to increase independence of the consumer. WERCware development, as a collaborative effort between an academic institution and a small company, has gone through several fits and starts including sporadic seed grant funding, angel investor interest, multiple field trials, consultant contributions, and attempted commercialization. These phases expose students to technical challenges of electrical and computer engineering outside the formal classroom, but also require an interdisciplinary stretch to understand the social need and recognize realistic hurdles inherent to getting a product from development to market. Previous papers have addressed the competitive student team member selection process and assessment of the credit-bearing project work in our engineering curriculum. This paper focuses on WERCware as an extended duration example of multidisciplinary undergraduate project work, highlighting lessons learned by both students and faculty from the experience.
Underwood, H. R. (2016, June), Experience With A Multidisciplinary Project For Social Services Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26809
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