June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
14.618.1 - 14.618.10
Faces on Design: A Partnership between Clients, Students and Community Volunteers
This article describes a useful framework for bringing social entrepreneurship to engineering students. In the proposed framework, members of a team of engineering students are partnered with a disabled person with a particular need and tasked with finding, modifying or creating an assistive technology that would help fulfill that need. At the other end, that same student team is partnered with one or more volunteers from the skilled trade community who will implement their design and create a functional working prototype. In this partnership, faculty members act as gate keepers, ensuring safety and facilitating the interactions between the students and the other two stakeholders. At the center is a legal document that indemnifies all parties by ensuring that the client understands that the device/technology that s/he receives is modified equipment and must be used as instructed and under their responsibility. Although assistive technology development in the context of the senior design course is a fairly common practice in the US, this article describes the business structure and educational framework that allows for this technology to be developed rapidly, built professionally and brought to the client in a fairly short time. This provides the students with a very rich experience on many levels including interfacing with the disabled community, understanding government regulations and guidelines (i.e. FDA, CPSC) and creating a design that is well documented and easy to manufacture. The authors will use a recent venture as a case study and will share initial feedback from all constituents (client, students, faculty and volunteers) as well as initial assessment of the educational experience. A discussion of future plans is also presented.
Service learning has grown in importance to the extent that it is now on the strategic path of most engineering and technology programs in the US. Along with social entrepreneurship, they are well regarded and supported by scholarly journals. They are also supported financially by foundations and government agencies. This particular activity is supported by a Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) grant from the Kern Family Foundation.
This paper describes the relationships between service learning and social entrepreneurship in the context of engineering education. It then presents the anatomy of this particular venture using the latest models of social entrepreneurship research. The educational and pedagogical aspects are then discussed, followed by two projects that serve as case studies. The experience is then briefly evaluated and preliminary assessment is presented. The paper concludes with a discussion on the future plans.
Service Learning and Social Entrepreneurship
Defined as “a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development”1, service learning is not only beneficial to the overall
Rayess, N., & Kleinke, D. (2009, June), Faces On Design: A Partnership Among Clients, Students, And Community Volunteers Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5257
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