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Promoting Innovation Skills and Social Commitment in Engineering Students through the University Social Project Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Flor Angela Bravo Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

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Flor Angela Bravo has a bachelor's and a master's degree in electronic engineering engineer. She also has a doctoral degree in engineering. Flor Angela has experience in educational robotics, human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction, STEAM education, and intuitive programming.

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Juan M Cruz Rowan University

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Juan M. Cruz is an assistant professor of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University. He has a Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. a B.S. in Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Education from Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, His research interests include using system thinking to understand how instructional change occurs, faculty development process, and faculty and students' motivation.

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Jairo Alberto Hurtado JAH Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

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Associate professor at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogota, Colombia, at Electronics Department. He was Chair of Electronics Engineering Program and he has been working in different projects to get a better process learning in his students

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The purpose of this paper is to describe the development (i.e., rationale, methodology, validation and lessons learned) of a new line of action for community engagement projects with vulnerable populations in the electronic engineering (EE) major at [blinded for review] in Colombia. The rationale for this development is that the academic spaces for community service in the current curriculum are often limited to offering training or providing technical advice to some underserved communities in Bogota, Colombia. These academic spaces are part of a course called University Social Project (Proyecto Social Universitario - PSU). The current approach in PSU is insufficient to foster students’ innovation skills, to help them understand the impact, commitment and responsibility of their performance as an engineer in society, and to serve populations and institutions that are either underserved or in vulnerable conditions by providing solutions to their needs and problems. To enhance the educational experience of the PSU, we created a project model where PSU students conceive, design, and construct low-cost prototypes of educational technology (e.g., educational robots) to support the teaching and learning processes in educational institutions with low economic resources. The methodology to develop these projects is based on a design thinking approach. The prototypes developed were validated with end-users in real contexts. The main lessons learned were first, that the development of these projects gives students a great opportunity to see how their work as engineers can contribute to the solution of problems in our society; second, the need to associate PSU with another design course so that students invest more time working in the field; and third, the continuity of the project in other semesters allows having better versions of the prototype of the product so it could be left in the beneficiary schools.

Bravo, F. A., & Cruz, J. M., & Hurtado, J. A. (2020, June), Promoting Innovation Skills and Social Commitment in Engineering Students through the University Social Project Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35105

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