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August 9, 2016

Introduction to Engineering for Global Development: E4C’s new online course prepares newcomers to the practice

contributor: Rob Goodier

Engineering for Change offers an online course to students and professionals entering the field of engineering for global development. Called Introduction to Engineering for Global Development, the course sets engineers and designers on the first step of a path from novice to expert, reducing the risk of wasted work and failed projects. Completing the course qualifies practicing engineers for one Continuing Education Unit (CEU), equivalent to 10 contact hours of study.

Start your education here: Introduction to EGD.

Professionals and students in greater numbers than ever before are entering the field of engineering for global development and many are unprepared. Organizations such as Engineers Without Borders USA, which reported an increase of 500 percent in membership from 2005—2011, have seen an influx of novice practitioners. At the same time, experienced practitioners have seen the repetition of common mistakes. Even with a strong technical background, engineers, designers and students first setting foot in the field can fail to understand basic principles of inclusive design (working with, rather than for, a community), articulating a problem statement, the counter-intuitive economic priorities in impoverished communities, working in a foreign culture and other challenges. The root of the problem is often a set of questions that engineers and designers do not think to ask.

“As soon as an idea can crawl and be prototyped, take it to the field and learn from what happens. As soon as it can hang together for a few months, try to sell it. That tells you if your idea is really worth something and also what to put right.” – Alan Spybey Director, Product Intelligence and Development at KickStart International

Supported by the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, Engineering for Change has launched an online course to train engineers and designers to ask the right questions to rise to the challenge of improving lives worldwide. Introduction to EGD is the first step on a path from novice to expert. Co-designed with a multi-disciplinary steering committee of EGD experts and TechChange, a leader in online education, the course delivers the baseline knowledge that new practitioners need to reduce the risk of failure, use resources wisely and improve quality of life for the people in the communities where they work.

The course begins with an introduction to our Solution Development Process.

Solution development process

We take you through each step in easily digestible, on-demand modules. Modules feature insights from case studies based on the development and delivery of essential technologies in emerging economies and knowledge checks to help learners absorb the material. Completing a full course qualifies practicing engineers for one Continuing Education Unit (CEU), which is equivalent to 10 contact hours of study.

“Spend time in the field with customers and spend time with your manufacturers. Stay curious and continually ask ‘why” – Ned Tozun, CEO & Founder, d.light

Since our start in 2011, Engineering for Change has sought to prepare the global development workforce, streamline the solutions development cycle and ensure public health and safety. We have said that now is the best time in history to enter the field of engineering for global development and the deluge of new talent in this field suggests that others think so, too. We see that new interest as an opportunity to increase professionalism in this field. Following our solution development process does not guarantee success, but it does provide accessible guidance. Learn more at Introduction to EGD.

tags : analysis, education, How to..., online education

Rob Goodier

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