D-Lab/International Design

Not all classes are available every term.  Please look at individual listings or course schedule to see what is offered.

D-Lab: Field Research (G)

Combines hands-on methods for conducting field research with exploration of questions that continue to challenge practitioners, donors, policymakers and researchers in international development. Designed for students preparing to conduct field-based research for theses, product design project, or development ventures. Practices key research skills particularly applicable to conducting research involving people and communities in the context of development. Limited to 16.

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D-Lab: Gender (G)

Explores gender roles, illuminates the power dynamics and root causes of inequality, and provides a framework for understanding gender dynamics. Develops skills to conduct a gender analysis and integrate gender-sensitive strategies into large- and small-scale development solutions. Prompts critical discussion about social, economic, and political conditions that shape gender in development (particularly design and implementation of appropriate technology) as well as agricultural and job creation initiatives.

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D-Lab: Gender (U)

Explores gender roles, illuminates the power dynamics and root causes of inequality, and provides a framework for understanding gender dynamics. Develops skills to conduct a gender analysis and integrate gender-sensitive strategies into large- and small-scale development solutions. Prompts critical discussion about social, economic, and political conditions that shape gender in development (particularly design and implementation of appropriate technology) as well as agricultural and job creation initiatives.

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D-Lab: Independent Project (G)

Opportunity for independent study under regular supervision by a staff member. Projects require prior approval, as well as a written proposal and final report. Students work with international community partners to continue developing projects, focusing on one or more issues in education, design, or public service. Final presentations and written reflection required. May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 12 units.

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D-Lab: Independent Project (U)

Opportunity for independent study under regular supervision by a staff member. Projects require prior approval, as well as a written proposal and final report. Students work with international community partners to continue developing projects, focusing on one or more issues in education, design, or public service. Final presentations and written reflection required. May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 12 units.

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D-Lab: Mobility Technology for, by, and with People with Disabilities

Students improve wheelchair technology in developing countries by applying sound engineering practices to create appropriate devices. Lectures focus on wheelchair usage, social stigmas, and manufacturing constraints. Includes lectures by third-world community partners, US wheelchair organizations, and MIT faculty. Multidisciplinary student teams conduct term-long wheelchair projects relating to hardware design. Funded opportunities available for travel to implement class projects at wheelchair workshops in the field.

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D-Lab: New Economies

Explores the ideas behind and actions toward alternatives to the corporate-driven globalization economic model. Begins with review and analysis of the worldviews that led to the current system and the theoretical and empirical arguments embraced by its critics. Examines concepts and case studies for developing new opportunities, including circular and local economies.

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D-Lab: Prosthetics for the Developing World

Introduces the fundamentals of human walking. Provides an overview of different types of gait disabilities and the available technologies that address them. Presents patient perspective as well as current areas of research. Topics focus on lower-limb disabilities, such as polio and above- and below-knee amputation. Covers both developed and developing world techniques for overcoming these disabilities. Includes a term project in which teams of 3 to 5 students manufacture a prototype.

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D-Lab: Schools - Building Technology Laboratory (EC.713/4.411J)

This course focuses on the design, analysis and application of technologies required to support the construction of cheaper and better performing schools in developing countries. Fundamentals of building technology are covered through lectures, lab experiments and simulations, equipping students to design or retrofit school buildings with an educational NGO in partnership with communities and educational organizations. Strategies include daylighting, passive heating and cooling, improved indoor air quality via natural ventilation, appropriate material selection and structural design.

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D-Lab: Smallholder Agriculture (G)

Gives an overview of the scientific, social and economic context of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Most of the poor in the developing world depend on agriculture for livelihood. The vast majority of farms in this context are less than two hectares and farmers face a range of constraints from limited funds to illiteracy. As we develop solutions for people living in poverty it is important to understand the complexity of the context in which smallholder farmers operate.

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