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Implementation of an Integrated Product Development (IPD) Competition in a Rural Dominican Community: Lessons Learned

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

DEED Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.809.1 - 22.809.14



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Paper Authors


Manuel Enrique Hernandez University of Michigan

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Ph.D., Candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Received M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UM, Ann Arbor in 2005 and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2003.

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Xinran (Maria) Xiang University of Michigan

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Ye Eun Park University of Michigan

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Ivan Goenawan


Freda Yawson University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Implementation of an Integrated Product Development (IPD) Competition in a Rural Dominican Community: Lessons LearnedThis paper describes the challenges in the development and execution of a product designand development competition for a rural community by a small engineering student team.The service-learning project was conducted by a four-person team, relying on thecollaboration of a community partner organization in the Dominican Republic, and asmall group of graduate student advisors at the University of Michigan. The goals of theproject were to a) identify critical needs in the community to use as a theme in thecompetition, b) encourage team-building within the community, c) develop modules forproduct design and development, and d) host a competition for the entire community.Preparation for the field project occurred over the span of 3 months, and wasimplemented within one month over the summer break. In preparation, students wereintroduced to survey methodology, appropriate technology, and principles behindintegrated product development. Regular communication between the project team andthe advisory group was maintained, via e-mail and telephone, for the duration of the fieldproject, so as to provide additional technical documentation and problem-solvingguidance. A final report, along with accompanying personal reflections, was utilized toevaluate the outcome of the project.After a week on the field, the process of need identification revealed four challenges:poor road conditions, and lack of electricity, water, and employment. The communityelected to pursue solutions to the poor road conditions as the theme for the competition.Enthusiastic community leaders were identified to recruit participants for the competitionin three distinct neighborhoods. However, leading up to the competition, the workshopsintended for disseminating information on product design and development, as well asbackground materials for road-building were largely unattended. The competitionculminated in eight team presentations. Seven teams focused on the construction of aclinic and one group of young boys presented a working prototype of a hand-made lamp.Based on the team’s reflection, the project provided a valuable learning experience in thedevelopment of a business in a rural community and in the challenges arising fromcultural differences.When implementing an integrated product development competition in a community, aneducator should work closely with a local educational institution to provide additionalmentorship for both the students and the community. The inclusion of the entirecommunity in a competition is very challenging as it tries to incorporate many distinctinterests. In future efforts, we suggest that a distinct demographic (i.e., women orchildren) is targeted for inclusion in educational workshops and modules leading up tothe competition. Cultural differences presented unique challenges to the engineeringproject team that should be further addressed in unison with the refinement of technicalskills. We conclude that the implementation of an integrated product developmentcompetition by a group of engineering students can provide a challenging and rewardingservice-learning experience, but care must be taken to provide sufficient enoughresources for their success under highly constrained conditions.

Hernandez, M. E., & Xiang, X. M., & Park, Y. E., & Goenawan, I., & Yawson, F. (2011, June), Implementation of an Integrated Product Development (IPD) Competition in a Rural Dominican Community: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18090

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