392 App. Tech. Timeline Spring 2019 (Past)

Week 1:

Monday: Campus Holiday, Cesar Chavez Day! Celebrate Equity!

Tuesday Shop: Show up at 8:10 at Bonderson (building 197) in the high bay area. Please wear close toed shoes and long pants. Before coming, please read about your project on the main class website.


  1. Read the syllabus on the main class website so you know what to expect from the class and how you will be graded.
  2. Research your project, and maybe other projects. Do you like your project? Would you prefer to have a different project offered, or would you like to changes your group’s project or invent a different one? The first 10 years of this class, students elected into a project of their choosing. However, last year, the students overwhelmingly recommended I put students into projects before the class starts in order to reduce the chaos of the class beginning. Thus, I have put you into projects that I am interested in and projects that have good support from partners in poor communities. You are welcome to change groups and to change topics… it’s your project, not mine, and you will steer and develop it. I will be available to provide guidance. The following are group requirements: 3-4 students per group (five in extreme situations). Group must be interdisciplinary: at least one technical major, at least one “arts” major. Talk to me if you have questions.
  3. During week 2 shop section, we will be getting a “red tag” test that will enable people to work in the shop. 24 hours before your shop section, you will need to read a document, watch a video, pass a quiz and then docusign our waiver and upload a headshot for your “License to Drill” ID badge. This must all be completed by midnight the night before their tour is scheduled to take place in order to have their IDs made in time. All of the instructions and associated links can be found on the shop website, on the main Tour and Test  page and then specifically the links to the Polylearn are on our Red Tag Tour Information page.

Week 2, Monday: Learn about our Collaborators

  1. Remember to prepare for the red tag test. Details are immediately above for Wednesday’s class preparation for last week.
  2. Emily Sroczyski and our own Tessa will talk about their to Honduras during 2018 winter break to support the Global Medical Brigade?
  3. I have received statements from only a few of the groups. Please have a spokesperson from your group send me the name of your group, the names of the people in the group, and verify that they are the spokesperson for the group.
  4. Learn about AidAfrica: http://www.aidafrica.net/and reading what they do and watching the short video.
  5. Please see this video about our project developing an improved cookstove for implementation in Uganda.
  6. Read about Kuyere! at their website, and see the first and third videos under “videos”.
  7. Please read about the winners of the USAID award, and then read about the rest of the awards.
  8. Please read about hygiene challenges in poor countries.
  9. Please send me communication if you know of anyone, or you yourself can present on an experience collaborating with people in poor (lacking industry) countries or even communities inside the USA.
  10. Research your projects, get to know your group mates. Consider if you want to change groups, or change your group’s project.
  11. One of your classmates needs a notetaker for this course so we’re hoping one of you will volunteer. All you need to do is take legible notes and upload them within 48 hours. At the end of the quarter you will receive an official letter verifying your volunteer service hours, which is good for your resume. But most importantly, you will be leveling the playing field for a classmate! If interested, please email drcnotes@calpoly.edu.
  12. Office hours have been added to our main class website.

In Class We will hear from Cal Poly’s Global Medical Brigade Club about their spring break trip to Honduras. We will discuss readings and our group projects.

SHOP (6:00 PM Monday or 8:00 AM Tuesday): Just for week 2, meet for shop at the hangar shown in attachment below. Make sure you wear long pants and close toed shoes. All subsequent shop classes will be in Bonderson (197).


  Wednesday: Garett Morris talks about Nepal, gmorris123@yahoo.com – past appropriate technology student, returns from almost 4 years in Nepal!

  1. Please read through Garrett’s Blog. In particular, please read “E-mail Interview”. You will find this entry about half way down the blog. It answers a good number of questions about Garrett’s experience.
  2. In Garrett’s Blog, please read one other entry and come into class ready to discuss it.
  3. Please read this article by Lauren Wilcox in No Water, No Love entitled Designing New Technologies for a Better Life.
  4. Please read Schumacher: Small is Beautiful
  5. See this video and think about what it means to be creative: TED: Gever Tulley, My daughter and I went to his camp five years ago.
  6. Start our first self intervention. Go to the “Don’t Throw Anything Away” page (link on main website) and begin saving your trash, recyclables, and compostables.
  7. Research your project and establish your website. Please send me a link to your website.
  8. Group Projects: I expect you to establish your website (complete with a picture of your group having fun) by midnight this Saturday night. Send me an Email link to the website. Send me a list of people in the group. Indicate the name of the spokes person. Contact collaborators.

By midnight, Sunday night, April 13: Establish your group’s website, complete with a picture of your group having fun.

Week 3


  1. Don’t Throw Anything Away! I’m sorry we didn’t have time to discuss this self-intervention on Wednesday. Yes, if you haven’t already, please start this self intervention. Please go to the “don’t throw anything away” self intervention website (link on main class website) and read about the intervention. What if you didn’t start yet? Well, it’s for a week, so start now… if you forget and tomorrow you throw a bunch of stuff away, then you can start (again) tomorrow for a week! Make sure we make some time to talk about it in class.
  2. Please see: IDEO, Rapid Prototyping
  3. Please read Bill Gates Drinks Poop Extract
  4. It’s Sunday morning, and many groups have not sent me either a website link, nor a list of the people in the group and spokesperson’s contact. Please see out main class website to see if your group needs to provide this communication. 
  5. If your group is working with solar cooking, please go to our ISEC webpage and read/watch numbers 1) (describing our original ISEC work), and 3) (a report by Matt of the more recent diode cooking). You don’t need to read the financial analysis of 2). ADDITIONALLY, I’m asking that you communicate with our Malawi counterparts via Whatsapp. Please see the job description of our counterpart in Malawi.
  6. If your group is working with solar cooking, I was super pleased to get everyone going last Tuesday by providing the materials you needed to get started, and I think I have enough to support the cooking groups for Monday’s class. However, from here you will have to take it on your own. Insulation? a retaining container such as a bucket, or are you going to build a earthen enclosure at the SEF? The significant cost will be the solar panel. I suggest a 100 W, 12 V solar panel. It doesn’t have to be 100 W, but it should be nominally 12 V. 12V solar panels are not really 12V. Please see this statistics sticker on the back of my “12V” solar panel. While it is called a 12V panel (ostensibly for charging 12 V batteries), it’s working voltage (meaning where it puts out it’s maximum power) is 18V. At this voltage (electrical pushing force), it can put out a current of 5.56 Amps. Multiplying voltage times current, you get the 100 W of power. These solar panels are available for as low as $20, it requires you to buy them in bulk. They retail for about $100, but you may find them cheaper. I ask that you find a way to share this cost among your group. You are welcome to sell it after you are done with the class, but you may want to keep it. Without making any promises, I may buy your panel from you at the end of the class if you don’t want them (I have people asking me for a cooker)… please keep the receipts. The number of diodes we have put in the diode chain for our cookers is set for about 18V. 

We meet this week at Bonderson (see below).


Wednesday: Class at the SEF today! See map below.

  1. Read the history of the Student Experimental Farm and how I came to be the facilitator.
  2. Please read Reduction in Child Mortality
  3. Please read about eating caterpillars in Burkina Faso.
  4. I’m giving the Physics Colloquium this Thursday UU in room 530-215. See the flyer: HOT DIODESDirect Solar Cooking and Electricity for the Global Poor…. and everyone else? While I would be delighted to have everyone come to the talk, it is most important for people involved in solar electricity and solar electric cooking. 
  5. This Saturday night, I will check to see the following on your websites:
    • A brief summary of what your project is about and why it might be interesting to the reader. I will take this statement and put it in the project table, replacing the information that is presently there. 
    • Extract all the relevant information on the project table on the main class website, because it’s going to be removed.
    • Some background technical research. What has been done previously? What do you see as your contributions?
    • Some background demographic data. Please check Gapminder for some information about your target community.
    • A short bio on each of you.
    • It may be best to make your website short… just a page or two, and have it link to other websites that provide more detail. This may be especially important for things like the bio (with a link “about us”).
  6. Starting next Monday, there will be group presentations every day. We will do 3 per day, starting at the top of the list and moving down the list until we finish, and then start at the top again. It’s your responsibility to be prepared. First presentation is short… 5 minutes or less. Introduce yourself, your project, collaborating community, any particular challenges. Always Always Always, we will present and celebrate failures. 
  7. Be prepared for a short assessment (test) of your knowledge of our class material while we are up at the farm.
  8. Regarding the Email I sent Monday evening: I was surprised that so many people left without checking in, talking with me about project directions, or saying good-bye. While I’m committed to accepting your choices as adults, I was frustrated at myself for not making clear that I had an expectation to meet with you. It gave me cause to reflect that I’d set this up by agreeing in class that I would be accountable to schedule meetings. I realize that you are all too mobile for me to take on that responsibility. Hence, I am holding each group responsible for meeting with me once per week to update me on your activities and exploring new directions. Shop section might be a good time to do this. We can talk more Wednesday at the SEF.
  9. Bernard Amadei started Engineers Without Boarders. He’s talking at Cal Poly Friday, 11:00 at the ATL-007, next to Bonderson. I’m planning on going. For more details, please see the Bernard Amadei Flyer
  10. For anyone communicating with Malawi via WhatsApp, please see the attached communication from RVB (visiting week 9) about how to move forward with communications. RVB April 16, 2019
  11. For Class: Meet in front of the library by 4:05 to walk together to the SEF. Just like all other classes, if you are late, please come.

Week 4: Decision Matrices, divergent and convergent engineering.


  1. Cheap Solar Panels!!! Agustina is picking up 5 panels (167 W) from a warehouse in the Bay Area at well under half price. If you want to buy one from her, she said, “have each group Venmo me $49 (the panel $44 including tax plus $5 for gas) at Agustina-Mogetta, my account.” Just so you know, I think they are good panels, but they are kind of big, 40 lbs and a little over 1m x 1m.
  2. How are you celebrating earth week? Please see the Earth Week Events Site.
  3. Read the history of the Student Experimental Farm and how I came to be the facilitator. 
  4. Bring into class a statement addressing a “problem”. Why was this a problem?.. “because of it I couldn’t do xyz”… what is special about xyz?. Why is this a problem. Please follow this back to your fundamental priority or value. Then consider how to examine your fundamental priority. Do this for a personal experience and also do this for your group challenge.
  5. Tom Kelly: on observing
  6. Tom Kelly: Fail Early, Fail Often (Treat Life as an Experiment) and
  7. http://www.economist.com/node/18557776
  8. See a decision matrix template based on a my design for the outdoor shower at my house.
  9. I introduced a file on the main class website: “correspondence with RVB”. Robert arrived in Malawi yesterday and is stimulating innovation and production of cooking/electricity technology. He’s also stimulating our communication via Email and WhatsApp. Everyone should check the RVB document every day or at least every Monday. For sure, this will be very important if you have anything to do with cooking.
  10. First Group Presentation is today for the first three groups: Immersion Heater, Thermal Storage, Malawi, 5 minute max. The goal is to get started. The bar is low for the first presentation. Relax and make sure you show us:

  1. Introduction of group members
  2. Some Background Information
  3. Problem Statement
  4. One example Design Matrix

We will do the presentations in order that they appear on the main class website.
Also, to prepare for class discussion:

Wednesday: Barbara Smith (Peace Corps Recruiting Agent) comes to talk to us about her experience working with the CDC in Zambia

  1. There is a new organization dedicated to decarbonizing buildings (and their processes). Their executive Director, Panama Bartholomy is speaking at the Ludwig Center, Thursday, 6 PM. I encourage everyone interested in decarbonization strategies to go. See flyer if you like.
  2. Please read about Zambia just to get an idea of some facts.
  3. Please see this 1 minute video about life as a PC volunteer in Zambia.
  4. Please read the summary on the first page of this report about mosquito nets that Barbara authored.
  5. Bill Gates’ $1000 toilet
  6. Please read about Faith the Kenyan Farmer
  7. RVB (Kuyere!, Malawi) suggests a project for any/all the cooking groups.
  8. Website update due Saturday night, midnight:

  • Problem statement and constraints
  • Decision matrix decision matrix template
  • Description of your target community
  • Research you’ve done
  • Your efforts in shop and what you’ve made – see last year’s websites for inspiration.
  • Any other update
  1. See a decision matrix template based on a my design for the outdoor shower at my house.
  2. I introduced a file on the main class website: “correspondence with RVB”. Robert arrived in Malawi yesterday and is stimulating innovation and production of cooking/electricity technology. He’s also stimulating our communication via Email and WhatsApp. Everyone should check the RVB document every day or at least every Monday. For sure, this will be very important if you have anything to do with cooking.
  3. First Group Presentation is today for the first three groups: Immersion Heater, Thermal Storage, Malawi, 5 minute max. The goal is to get started. The bar is low for the first presentation. Relax and make sure you show us:
  4. Introduction of group members
  5. Some Background Information
  6. Problem Statement
  7. One example Design Matrix

Week 5 Design/Development Firms
Monday –

  1. I posted solutions to Assessment #1 on the main class website. In grading them, I gave a “+” if reading it convinced me you were there and paid attention. I put a line across it if it seems you were not there and engaged. I put a question mark if I wasn’t sure.
  2. Sara Della Ripa and Nathan Bair comes to talk about Postpartum Hemorrhaging Mitigation. Please prepare to welcome them by preparing for the discussion: To prepare for a talk about maternal death, please watch this video. Feel free to cry, be inspired, or be enraged. Did you know that the U.S. has one of the highest rates of maternal death in the industrialized world? Or that we are one of the only two countries experiencing an INCREASE in maternal deaths? And know that as unacceptable as this is in U.S., the maternal death rate in low-income countries is even more devastating….
  3. In addition, I hope you find this Ted Talk about failure in implementing global solutions inspiring as well.
  4. Please spend some time reading the article that Sara recommends.
  5. By class Monday, send me an Email describing how you are getting on in your group. pschwart@calpoly.edu. Are you happy? Is everyone doing their share of the work to your satisfaction? Is everyone’s voice being heard? Respected?
  6. It is not adequate to cook during shop period. I expect that students will design and build during shop. Please move your solar cookers to a place where you can cook on all days. If all you can do is cook on campus, I encourage you to make a brace for the panel and leave the panel and cooker outside Bonderson 109 in back. Then you can put food in when you come to Poly in the morning?
  7. Consider write in vote your 392 classmate, Kevin Masakawa (see poster at right).
  8. I’ve posted on the main class website your feedback to me as well as some comments (in italics purple). Have a look.
  9. Consider coming to the carbon free SLO kick off tomorrow, Tuesday 5:30 at SLO Brew on Higuera between Garden and Broad.

After Class:
Nathan: Who? Where” Why” Face & Name? Back Story? for:
Payer,:Who is it sold to?
Target User: Who uses the product?
Recipient: Who benefits from use?

Wednesday: Abby talks about her experiences with Engineers Without Boarders.

  1. Please read Abby’s brief overview of what EWB Thailand has been doing.
  2. Please review this manual that Abby’s group complied about building a Slow Sand Filter.
  3. Please review these illustrations of the construction of the Slow Sand Filter.
  4. Bike Month starts TODAY! Wednesday, with a free bike breakfast for all who come to the bike kitchen!… see details for lots of free events to bicyclists and pedestrians at SLOShift.org. See you there!
  5. If you are interested in electric vehicle infrastructure, consider coming to the physics talk at 11 AM Thursday, in 53-215 (details in flyer at right).

Social Media… and other Media: I’m going to ask that during class, everyone remains present to what we are doing. While attendance is not mandatory for the class, I’m asking that if you’re physically in class, you remain attentive to what we are doing. If you have something else you feel is necessary, please leave the classroom. It’s worth noting that while having food and/or dogs in class is probably linked to improved classroom atmosphere for learning (I think that the food part is well studied, but not dogs), doing other work (or play) detracts from learning. I know of one student last year who came to every class but typed on their computer the whole time. Test results indicated that this student picked up nothing from the discussions. Our brain has a single processor and so multitasking is ineffective, and studies have shown multitasking causes depression. If you want more information about this, please let me know. If you take notes on a computer, I understand. If you have something outside the class that needs your attention, please leave the classroom for that activity. Thanks


This Weekend, Website Update:

  1. Please include prototype results, even if it’s “it didn’t work!” , or “this is as far as we’ve gotten, results on the way!” with a description and photos of what happened.
  2. Please rewrite the description of your project (middle column on the table) on the main class website and send it to me.

Week 6
Monday: Amy Degenkolb Visits! Her Email for future reference: amelia.degenkolb@inpresstechnologies.com

  1. Read about Postpartum Hemorrhaging (PPH) See the people page and note that Amy Degenklob will be coming to class to talk about what is NOT on the website: how to make this technology available very inexpensively in poor countries; and her efforts in India and Indonesia.
  2. Hey thanks for coming to my house Wednesday. If you’re interested to see the video about how I moved the stem wall, this is totally voluntary, not a required video.
  3. Please read through the student feedback (posted on main class website). We will talk about what/if/how we’d like to change the class. Please at least read my comments (in purple) and in particular about addressing ethics/racism/colonialism in our class.
  4. Did you remember to update your website and send me the information?:
    1. Please include prototype results, even if it’s “it didn’t work!” , or “this is as far as we’ve gotten, results on the way!” with a description and photos of what happened.
    2. Please rewrite the description of your project (middle column on the table) on the main class website and send it to me.

Wednesday: Nick Babin, recently hired professor in Natural Resources, talks about agroecology and substituting ecological practices for formerly purchased inputs, using his work with Costa Rican coffee farmers as a case study.

  1. Please prepare for Nick’s discussion by reading this short document about Babin’s Work in Costa Rica, 2014-2015
  2. Please read the report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: extinction of 1 million plants and animals hangs on our choices.
  3. Hans Rosling: Poverty Statistics video 
  4. If you’re interested in job with a LEGGO Summer Camp, please check the job application.
  5. Please check the self intervention #1 website. The link is on the main class website. Please read through at least 3 reflections and also make sure that yours is there, meaning you got credit for it. If yours isn’t there, please resend me the Email you originally sent me with your reflection.
  6. Ghana is losing rain forest faster than any other country. This is something to consider for groups associated with solar cooking.
  7. Please go to the self intervention #2 website. Read through the idea and think about things this has happened to you. Plan for when you can be ready to intervene into your thoughts next time.

In Class: Assessment #2

Week 7


  1. Read Jevon’s Paradox
  2. Read Helicopter Invitation
  3. Read about Happiness Reflection in China I added this a little late, so you can have class time to read it.
  4. You can watch this whole video or start it at 2 minutes and 10 seconds to just watch the part on Jevon’s Paradox Pete’s Commentary on Jevon’s Paradox
  5. Please read 5 steps of grieving: Kübler-Ross model
  6. Please see talk about Happiness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJGrXgd-jxk
  7. Read about Bhutan’s Happiness index
  8. Consider seeing Miche’s Senior Project on Protecting yourself from Loud Music at Festivals
  9. If you’re interested in taking Agroecology in the fall with Nick Babin, our speaker last Wednesday, please see NR 470. 471
  10. Please submit your experience for your second intervention on the Google Doc I’ve prepared and Email me the narrative as well so I give you credit for it. Because you don’t put your names on the public document, you have to send me the Email so I give you credit. The link is on the main class website by the interventions. You’re wondering why I’m using a Google Doc? The accounting for the last intervention was very difficult for me, so I thought I’d let you all take control of it this time. Please log your experience on the document and then Email me that same experience so I can give you credit for the self intervention.
  11. Assessment #2 in class today.


  1. Empathy in Design: http://www.ideo.com/images/uploads/news/pdfs/Empathy_on_the_Edge.pdf
    -empathy in design leads to problem solving
  2. Please see Importance of not competing.
  3. Please read about Guatemala. How big is the country (area and population) compared to California? What is the average income per person? What are the ethic/racial groups? Who caused the 36-year civil war? What was the outcome of the 36-year (civil) war?
  4. Please read about Fiji. How big is the country (area and population) compared to California? What is their average income per person? What are the ethic/racial groups?
  5. Please see Guateca Information Video and Guateca Music Video
  6. Please read my analysis of my failure in Guateca
  7. Please see solutions to Monday’s Assessment posted on main class website. In particular, please note how brief an explanation can be. All you need is the requested information. You don’t need details. You don’t need to repeat the question in your answer. Being brief and to the point makes it easier for me to see you know the answer.

In Class: Guest speaker Pete Schwartz talks about experiences and many failures in Fiji and Guatemala.


Monday – Our Collaborator in Malawi, Robert Van Buskirk visits. from Kuyere!

  1. Each group should send me a note about what you plan to do in shop and if you need anything from me.
  2. You are all welcome to meet with Robert Van Buskirk. However, groups working with solar cooking should definitely meet with him. Please see the signup sheet to log your time to meet with him.
  3. Visit the website Kuyere! Please read the introduction and then the next link describing the Herculean goal he’s set up for us…. something that might impress even Paul Pollack. Consider what kind of an extreme personality would result in taking on this goal with all of your mind, heart, and body… you’ll have an insight as to what Robert is like.
  4. Should a nonprofit decide itself out of existence?
  5. Robert Van Buskirk has some strong statements to say about the above question. Read his excellent (in my opinion) rant. The beginning of the Email explains why his calculations don’t consider all the details, BUT the rest of the Email describes a fundamental challenge to global development efforts. The Email is part of a discussion we had about whether we should go to the Solar Energy For All (SE4All) conference in Portugal. Here’s the Email.
  6. Check out RVB’s Technology Deployment he posted on WhatsApp.
  7. I asked Robert Van Buskirk what made him happy, what motivated him. We spoke, but he subsequently sent me this Email. Please read it and be prepared to discuss it.
  8. In RVB’s Email, he refers to Noam Chomsky’s Essay. Please read the first three paragraphs of this essay.
  9. In RVB’s Email, he refers to Effective Altruism. Please read this introduction and then click learn more at the bottom to see what they do.
  10. Please read through the reflections of the self interventions #2. If reading 50 of them is too much, please read at least 4 different reflections.

Wednesday. Guest speaker Pete Schwartz returns to speak about failure in Guatemala and domestic sustainability efforts

  1. Tuesday, Bonderson 109 was left in a pretty messy state. The JB-Weld was left open with a broken tube and I got it on my clothes cleaning it up… I was annoyed. Certainly, we can do better. Right? Thanks!
  2. Please do and bring in your Sustainability, Footprint
  3. Please see this video about My House.
  4. Please read a short chapter I wrote (with lots of pictures) about the last 10 years of my life and the changes in my house.
  5. Please see Story of Stuff.
  6. If you’re interested, please attend the Students of Color Summit. If you go, I’ll want to hear about what you learn. 

Week 9
Monday – Memorial Day
Tuesday, follow Monday Schedule
: Carley of Journeyman International visits!

  1. Ji RYIT Video on Vimeo

Wednesday: TWO visitors. Pete will not be at class because I’m giving a talk for Cal Poly Lands. However, I expect that everyone will be on time and attentive and wanting to learn. I ask that you provide me some assessment questions from the talk.

First Visitor (at 4:10 PM): Jim Keese from the Cal Poly, Peru, program talks about their experience with improved stoves.

Second Talk (starting around 4:50 PM): Taylor Klein (Cal Poly EWB) talks about
Good Intentions Are Not Enough: Common Failures in Student-Led Development Projects
“I will focus on the disconnect between intentions and outcomes, through EWB projects and beyond, and how we are attempting to shift to an alternative model of global engagement through EWB and Critical Global Engagement Club.”

  1. See the TED Talk by David Damberger on Failure in International Aid: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_damberger_what_happens_when_an_ngo_admits_failure?language=en
  2. Please read the speech by Ivan Illich, “To Hell with Good Intentions”: http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm
  3. Please see the Website of Radi-Aid, an organization challenging the perceptions around issues of poverty and development: https://www.radiaid.com/