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Implementing Senior Design Projects In The Developing World

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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

Exporting of Higher Education to Developing Countries

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Page Count


Page Numbers

15.686.1 - 15.686.15

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Paper Authors


William Jordan Baylor University

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WILLIAM JORDAN is the Mechanical Engineering Department Chair at Baylor University. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, an M.A. degree in Theology from Denver Seminary, and a Ph.D. in mechanics and materials from Texas A & M University. He teaches materials related courses. He does research in appropriate technology applications, engineering ethics, and entrepreneurship.

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

Implementing Senior Design Projects in the Developing World


The author teaches in a moderately sized engineering program at Baylor University. We have three engineering majors. Historically we have had all of the senior students in one senior design class, working on one project. This worked fine when the graduating class was less than 20 students. Students were forced to work in interdisciplinary teams. Now, however, our graduating class has grown to more than 50. The old model would no longer work very well.

We have changed our model to have multiple senior design projects, mentored by several different faculty members. We have had a long term involvement with engineering service projects in developing countries. This past year we combined these in several of our projects. In spring 2009 we had eight different projects; three of them were projects that were aimed at developing countries. This paper will describe the projects that were for applications in developing countries.

Two of the projects involved creating a refrigeration system that could keep medicine cold in a tropical climate without requiring grid electricity. Hopefully this could replace a diesel powered refrigerator that the author observed at a hospital in northern Rwanda. The third project was the design of a photo-voltaic solar powered system for use in a boarding school for orphans.

The first refrigeration design was based on what is called the “icy-ball” concept. This design had difficulties, including the need to use ammonia under pressure. It was deemed too dangerous and too difficult to control in a developing country. The second concept involved the use of solar power. It worked well, but was not implemented at this time. The third project, solar power for a school’s computer lab was successful. A separate implementation team installed the system at the Sonrise School in Musanze, Rwanda, in late May 2009.

The paper will discuss lessons learned from these projects, including how they compared to the more traditional design projects that were completed at the same time.

International Projects Background

Engineering service projects are becoming an increasingly common way to teach engineering. The growth of the EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) program is an example of this1. EPICS was founded at Purdue University in 1995 and has now grown to involve 18 universities and some high schools. Other schools, like our own, are not formally members of EPICS but are doing many of the activities that the EPICS program promotes.

Our university has been doing engineering service projects in developing countries for the past five years. We have done projects in Kenya, Armenia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Honduras, and Rwanda. We have previously reported on them at ASEE conferences and other conferences2 ,3, 4, 5.

Jordan, W. (2010, June), Implementing Senior Design Projects In The Developing World Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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