Service Learning

Class Examples

2.00B Solving Real Problems (David Wallace and Dan Frey)

Students in 2.00B learn the basics of the design process, including communications instruction, to develop a simple prototype to meet the needs of a community partner. In spring 2007, students worked with The Food Project, a Boston-based non-profit that develops youth through sustainable agriculture. Students worked to develop a more functional and enjoyable composter with regular feedback from staff at the Food Project. Before the start of the summer, the composter was installed at the Food Project's community garden in Dorchester. Other students worked with The Boston Partnership for Older Adults (BPOA) to develop a lighting device for use by older adults in restaurant settings, and Maya Pedal, a non-profit in Gautemala, to produce a low-tech, inexpensive, and ergonomic concrete mixer.

5.92 Energy, Environment, and Society (Jeffrey Steinfeld, Jefferson Tester, and Amanda Graham)

Through learning about all major components of energy systems, students were prepared to conduct studies at MIT and in Cambridge and Boston involving data collection, analysis, conclusions, and presentation of findings. In spring 2006, three student teams analyzed how much energy and money: (1) MIT could save by using the nuclear reactor in innovative ways (to heat the Z-Center pool, for example); (2) MIT could save by installing wind turbines at different locations around campus; and (3) the Cambridge Rindge and Latin school could save by making their new building design more green.

21W.742 The Rhetoric of Medical Communication (Neal Lerner)

Students wrote in service to the LAM Treatment Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization for research on and treatment of rare diseases. Course content included rhetorical analysis for communications involving illness and disease, as well as analysis of audiences – patients and families, funders, and researchers – for online medical communication. Students applied what they learned while analyzing and making recommendations about the LAM Treatment Alliance website.

SP.721/11.052/11.472 D-Lab (Amy Smith)

Through a year-long series of class and field trips, this course strives to teach students about: (1) third-world communities and the technical challenges they face; (2) appropriate technologies for developing communities; (3) the role MIT can play in advancing developing communities; (4) hands-on skills required to implement selected development projects; and (5) the culture, history, economic, and developmental state of the host country students intend to visit. In spring 2007, students in this class completed a variety of design challenges from a bicycle-pump-powered vacuum case to fit amputees for a prosthetic in rural India to CellCentives, an innovative program to encourage TB patients to adhere to the rigorous treatment regime.

SP.776 Design for Demining (Andrew Heafitz and Benjamin Linder)

This class educates students about basic engineering design principles and humanitarian demining issues. Over the course of the term students engage in the design process of humanitarian demining devices – generating new ideas, reworking beta prototypes, and perfecting working models. To date, SP.776 is the only class worldwide to have produced demining devices now used in the field.