June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1359.1 - 13.1359.18
Using Technical Entrepreneurship and Service Learning to Promote an International Perspective in an Undergraduate Engineering Program
Promoting an awareness of the international aspects of engineering practice is not a simple task. At our university we believe that our students need to learn how to practice engineering in an international setting. Our plan to accomplish this has several new educational opportunities for our students.
The first opportunity is engineering service learning experiences in developing countries. These projects have all been based on prior contacts with a poor community that needs some engineering help. We have gone only to places where the people in the local community indicate to us that they have a need our students can help fulfill. With this prior contact our students are able to design the project here on our campus and then the international trip allows for on-site implementation as well as rewarding contact with the “customers.”
Our students have created a student run organization to promote such experiences. Over the last three years students have gone on service learning trips to Kenya (2 trips), Armenia (2 trips), Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Honduras (2 trips), and Vietnam. These trips help out poor communities in other countries. Even more, they change our students’ perspective about themselves and our world.
A second opportunity is our students providing engineering design services for a partner organization overseas. For example, our students have worked with Bridging the Gap-Africa. We have provided analysis for 45 meter long pedestrian bridges that BTGA is currently building to verify the safety factors. Currently we are helping to design a 90 meter long pedestrian bridge for Kenya that will allow a disenfranchised community on the far side of the river to access markets, medical care and schooling. Working with partners thousands of miles away has been a challenging experience for our students. Helping improve the quality of life for very poor people has been a very rewarding experience.
The third opportunity has been the creation of an option for our students to take a two course sequence focusing on technical entrepreneurship. We have created a new course entitled Global Business: Economics and Communication that introduces students to engineering economic analysis, professional speaking and technical writing. A term project requires the preparation of a feasibility study of a technical project, requiring students to use library and Internet resources, appropriate writing and formatting skills, engineering economic analysis and a professional presentation. In a sequel course taught by the business school entitled Technical Entrepreneurship, students use these skills to do a feasibility study for a technical company. The technical entrepreneurship class can be taken on campus in the spring or during the summer in east Asia.
Jordan, W., & Blalock, G., & Bradley, W., & Fry, C., & Grinols, A., & Thomas, B. (2008, June), Using Technical Entrepreneurship And Service Learning To Promote An International Perspective In An Undergraduate Engineering Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3850
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