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This paper describes the ongoing creation of instructional materials for a design-based research intervention that attempts to integrate humanitarian applications of engineering into existing coursework. Using a concept map based approach, a relational framework has been developed that highlights potential applications of engineering & technology in the developing world. Based on a well-known psychological theory of motivation, it illustrates the spectrum of engineering disciplines from the perspective of human needs. Related course modules on water treatment and absorption spectroscopy-based sensors have also been created, and a module on electric power system design is currently under development. Preliminary outcomes of piloting the materials suggest that undergraduate project-based courses lend themselves better to the approach than graduate level quantitative courses. While the materials are likely to benefit all students, indications of possible gender and preferred learning style differences will be of interest. It is hoped that this work will contribute a new perspective on the practice of engineering education with potential to attract and retain more diverse student populations.
Date of Conference: 18-21 Oct. 2009