Promoting innovation skills and social commitment through the university social project course in engineering students

Flor Angela Bravo, Juan M. Cruz, Jairo Alberto Hurtado Jah

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    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 Pontificia Universidad Javeriana University 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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number1149
    JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
    StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
    Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
    Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Engineering


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