Syllabus, UNIV-392, Winter 2015

Syllabus: UNIV-392 and 492 Winter 2015
Appropriate Technology the World’s People: Design
M, W, Lecture 4-5:30 PM
Final Presentations:

Instructors: Pete Schwartz, Pete’s Webpage,, 180-608, x6-1220
Steph Fellows, Journeyman International,
Office Hours in 180-608: M(10:10), T(2:10), W(1:10), Th(10:10), F(11:10)
Class Website:

Catalog Description:

Addresses the needs of international impoverished communities with technological solutions, which are inexpensive, ecologically sustainable, and socially appropriate. Group study of target communities, and design and construction of an appropriate technology prototype.
UNIV 492 has this additional requirement: “Seminar Paper Required”. This seminar paper should summarize your experience in the class and how this will tie in with your academic/professional/life plans.

The class has three educational facets:
a) Lectures, reading, case studies, and guest presentations
b) Class Discussions (Especially relating to reading) on reading and HW assignments
c) Focus projects and class presentations.
Focus projects: Students will work in groups of 3-5 on a particular challenge faced by a participant community. This project will be the subject of the final group presentation and will be responsible for coming up with a prototype. It is important to understand we may not achieve what we set out to do in the beginning. We remember that there are “experts” in development (Like the World Bank), who have many “failures” in their history. Much of the “failures” could be attributed to not understanding the lives of the people the experts seek to help. I ask that we don’t try to help as much as to learn from the people we collaborate with. You will be graded on the quality of your research, affordable and scalable prototype and group participation.
There are no required textbooks. We will read from a variety of documents at

Participation 20 pts
First Intervention 5 pts
Second Intervention 5 pts
Website 10 pts
Final Exam 20 pts
Final Presentation 30 pts
Total 100 pts

Participation: Because this is an upper level Area F, the responsibility is on you for doing the reading, attending class and participating in all discussions. Your participation and attendance is crucial in synthesizing the true climate in which we are developing technologies for and your final exam will be based off of questions and conversations had during lecture time.

Self-Intervention: We will study how people respond to change by looking at our own response to change. You may do a personal intervention on your own or with your group. We may do one as a class as well. An intervention should test your ability to adapt to change. It should be something that at first you say, “I can’t do that because I have to….”, and then are able to reformat the statement to, “what would have to change for this to happen?”. We may agree not to throw anything in the trash for a week and catalogue what we have at the end of the week to coincide with a listing of The Story of Stuff Video. The first intervention will be assigned and will require a reflection piece (posted here). The second intervention will be of your choosing and you will be required to post 1) what you are focusing on and 2) a reflection at the end of the quarter.

Website: Your group will create and post a wikipage that will hold all of the information of your project and progress along the way. Check the course timeline for when the website will be graded throughout the quarter. All findings and failures should be posted along with photos and updates as your prototype develops. For examples of websites, please see (and put appropriate links to) pages from students in past classes (For both UNIV-391, and for the design and build class, UNIV-392).

Final Exam: One hour during the last class. Will cover all concepts from class and reading. Quiz questions from the class lectures will make up the multiple choice and several essays will be given. You will get the essay questions the day before the exam.

Final Class Presentation: During exam week, each student group will make a 10-15 minute presentation to the class on their appropriate technology innovation for the focus community. This is also a potluck dinner, and you are encouraged to bring friends.

Is your group working well together?: At the end of the class, we will solicit a statement from each of you stating if everyone in your group is doing their fair share, or if there’s problems, or if you’ve overcome some interesting challenge, or if you would like some help communicating, etc.