Spring 2018 – 497-325: Design Solutions for Nicaraguan Communities

Meeting Day/Time
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 to 6:15 pm
Akshar Patel (Undergraduate Education) (apatel34@iit.edu)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Social Innovation

This new international-centered IPRO​ ​project​ ​will guide​ ​students​ ​through the ​user-​centered​ ​design​ process, representing a four-​phase framework​:​ ​Project​ ​Definition,​ ​Research​ ​&​ ​Analysis,​ ​Concept​ ​Development,​ ​and​ ​Prototyping​ ​& Testing. The challenge for the team ​will​ ​be​ ​to​ ​tackle​ ​a​ ​specific​ ​need​ ​and​ ​opportunity​ ​within​ ​a​ ​rural community​ ​in​ ​Nicaragua.​ ​The​ ​teams​ ​will​ ​work​ ​​with​ ​a​ ​stakeholder​ ​in​ ​Nicaragua​ ​and​ ​have a connection with local members of a community​ ​​to​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​life​ ​and​ ​​needs​ in​ ​the​ ​developing​ ​world.​ ​Students​ ​will​ ​explore​ ​various themes​ ​of​ ​sustainability,​ ​education,​ ​health,​ ​and​ ​other aspects of well-being.​ ​By​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​semester,​ ​the team​ ​will​ ​develop​ working​ ​solution​s ​for​ ​a​ ​specific​ ​problem​ ​within​ ​the​ ​community.​ ​Students​ ​will​ ​have​ ​the​ ​option​ ​to​ ​travel (at their own expense) ​during​ ​spring​ ​break ​to​ ​visit​ ​the​ ​community​ ​in​ ​Nicaragua​ ​and​ ​experience​ ​life​ ​in​ ​a​ ​rural community​ ​first​ ​hand.

The​ ​IPRO sub-teams​ ​organized for the semester will​ create​ ​an​ ​archive​ ​of​ ​information​ ​and​ ​experience​ ​that​ ​can​ ​inform​ ​future​ ​teams​ ​about​ ​how to​ ​identify,​ ​select​ ​and​ ​develop​ ​a​ ​continuous​ ​stream​ ​of​ ​extremely​ ​affordable​ ​product​ ​concepts​ ​over​ ​multiple years.​ ​This​ ​IPRO​ ​team​ ​therefore​ ​will​ ​create​ ​a​ ​legacy​ ​of​ ​service​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rural​ ​poor​ ​of​ ​Nicaragua​ ​and​ ​the developing​ ​world​ ​at-large​ ​through​ ​a​ ​sustaining​ ​IPRO​ ​project​ ​that​ ​future​ ​generations​ ​of​ ​Illinois Tech​ ​students​ ​can participate​ ​in.

Members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​team​ ​from​ ​various​ ​disciplines​ ​will​ ​also​ ​learn​ ​to​ ​use​ ​design​ ​methods,​ ​testing​ ​processes​ ​and economic​ ​and​ ​technical​ ​review​ ​processes​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​that​ ​our​ ​solutions​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​cost​ ​structure​ ​and performance​ ​reliability​ ​and​ ​provide​ ​an​ ​appropriate​ ​solution.​ ​Members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​team​ ​will​ ​also​ ​develop​ ​their ability​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​and​ ​apply​ ​good​ ​project​ ​management​ ​practices​ ​to​ ​mobilize​ ​both​ ​team​ ​and​ ​external collaborator​ ​resources.​ ​Ethical​ ​issues​ ​arise​ ​often​ ​in​ ​working​ ​with​ ​and​ ​researching​ ​the​ ​needs​ ​and​ ​behaviors associated​ ​with​ ​people​ ​in​ ​developing​ ​countries,​ ​and​ ​dealing​ ​with​ ​these​ ​ethical​ ​issues​ ​is​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​participating​ ​in this​ ​IPRO project experience.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be​ ​significant​ ​opportunities​ ​to​ ​identify​ ​and​ ​build​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​external​ ​collaborators.

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