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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Global Challenges in Practice
Module Code GC1CH
School 53
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Shirley Coyle
Semester 2: Shirley Coyle
Autumn: Shirley Coyle
Module TeachersShirley Coyle
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

Students will participate in the Engineers Without Borders Design Challenge (Engineers Without Borders (https://wherethereisnoengineer.org/the-wtine-challenge/). This will give students access to the Innovation Academy ASCs developed by EWB, and design workshops throughout the year. Students are introduced to the design process and experience of what it is to be a professional using real life practical problems from a developing country. This requires background research into the demography, geography, culture and economy of a country they are likely not familiar with, along with the particular challenges of implementing a project. EWB hosts a Launch Workshop, and a Design Review Workshop along with the online ASCs available from their innovation academy. EWB will judge a competition event in DCU at the end of Semester 2 and the best teams will be invited to participate in the National Finals.

Learning Outcomes

1. Evaluate the interconnected role of science, governance, and technology in addressing global challenges and the potential implications of proposed solutions.
2. Design a solution integrating interdisciplinary knowledge of politics, society, culture, ethics, technology and engineering to tackle a societal challenge
3. Identify, develop and implement a design cycle for data-informed and technology-based solutions to specific global challenges.
4. Communicate the innovations, advantages and challenges of the data-informed and technology-based solutions clearly to a diverse audience including peers, academic staff, industry and NGO.
5. Collaborate within a team and apply design thinking to propose innovative solutions to an identified real-world problem.
6. Constructively assess self and peers’ contribution to a project.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Workshop56GC1CHALLENGE contact hours
Independent Study52GCCHALLENGE - Time for project work, independent self directed study
Directed learning142Associated FLO workload
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Module overview
Design challenge presented by Engineers without Borders (EWB) and their partners in developing countries. There is a choice of six themes, and a design brief is given based on a real-world challenge facing a community in a developing country. Representatives from EWB will facilitate workshops with students to explain the work they do, launch the design challenge and to give feedback on student designs. The first workshop will take place after reading week in semester 1 to launch the design challenge and explain the themes of the Where There Is No Engineer (WTINE) competition. Students will have access to online resources to support them through the design competition. These resources explain the challenges faced by communities in developing countries. The online content has been developed with EWB partners in countries like Zambia and Nepal, and highlights the need to develop and support community resilience. The online ASCs introduce students to the concept of design thinking, showing examples of previous entries and case studies of implementations. The UN SDGs will be introduced, and students will have the opportunity to debate the adequacy of these goals. This is assessed as part of the ASC in week 11 as an interactive oral. In semester 2 a simulation/role play will be carried out in relation to the theme of the challenge that the students choose to undertake based on their design brief. This will give students the opportunity to investigate the impact of the challenge in the community they are designing for, and also look at the major global context of the challenge. Through the design of a solution to the EWB design challenge, students will evaluate pros and cons of different technological solutions to a global challenge. They will work in teams to develop an innovative solution based on the user needs given within the design brief. Throughout the semester students will have access to mentors to get feedback as they develop their designs. There will be drop in sessions in the Idea Space to accommodate this. The poster presentation will give students the opportunity to communicate their proposed solutions to peers, academic staff and to external stakeholders, including EWB who will attend the poster session in Semester 2. Some of the designs may be invited to compete at the national WTINE final competition against other third level institutions.

Engineers without Borders - Online Innovation Academy
As part of the Engineers Without Borders Design Challenge there are six courses available online that form part of the “Where There Is No Engineer” (WTINE) programme (WTINE Online Academy Where There Is No Engineer). In addition to these, students have full access to Bentley’s suite of MicroStation software. Bentley’s software can be used to help view, model, document and visualize the students’ designs. The software can be used for projects of any size or complexity.

1.Introduction to the EWB WTINE Design Challenge
This first module of the WTINE course introduces students to the competition, explaining what it is about, how participation is structured and giving insight into former designs. A video explains how the initiative came about and shows it in action, with contributions from former participants. We introduce the program sponsors and share the “Where There Is No Engineer” book with case studies. Students complete a short quiz.

2. Zambia, Kabwe and Sables Nua
Learners explore Zambia through an interactive map, learning more about its economy, culture and traditions and societies. Students are then introduced to Kabwe, the WTINE design location, and EWB partner Zamda Ireland who run a school and emergency shelter for local children. A video shows the students what life is like for children living on the streets in Kabwe and the work Zamda Ireland are doing to support these children at their school and emergency shelter, Sables Nua. Students recap core points in an interactive quiz.

3. The Sustainable Development Goals
Students are introduced to the Sustainable Development Goals: what they are, how they came about and a critical look at do they really provide us with a blueprint for a better future? Students read about the background to the SDGs and how they were created to follow on from the MDGs. They watch a video that introduces the Goals along with questions and statements for them to reflect on. The last section encourages critical engagement with the SDGs- are they fit for purpose? Are they measurable? Do they oversimplify complex issues? Resources are shared with students for further research.

4. The WTINE Themes
Learners get insight into the kinds of projects that WTINE has produced over the years and an interesting look at a communications project from the mountains of Nepal. Students learn what the aim of each WTINE theme is and how each theme links with multiple Goals, showing the interlinked nature of the Goals. Students watch short videos showcasing each of the six WTINE themes: Climate Resilient Infrastructure, Water and Sanitation, Health, Energy, Food Security and Communications. These videos focus on former winning WTINE designs and EWB partner projects.

5. Design Thinking
Learners are introduced to the Design Thinking process and hear from a former WTINE winner about how she and her project partner implemented the Design Thinking process in their project: the TIDE Menstrual Toolkit. Students are encouraged to incorporate the design thinking process into their project work. Students learn about the different stages of the design thinking process and the flow back and forth between these stages. Students watch short videos of a former WTINE winner, Olivia Holbrook, describing the process of how she and her design partner Rachel created the TIDE Menstrual Toolkit, and their experiences working with communities in rural Nepal.

6. The EWB Innovation Academy
Students are given an overview of how the Innovation Academy operates and the opportunities for winners of the WTINE competition. Learners will hear from a former WTINE intern who completed the Innovation Academy remotely in 2020. Students learn how internships with EWB are structured. The mentorship process is explained and a case study of a former WTINE Innovation winner, Conall Casey, is shared. Students watch a video where Conall describes his internship with EWB working on his adaptable Crutch Kit system. Students review the winners of the WTINE competition since its inception and read testimonials from various WTINE partners.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Group project Engineers without borders - WTINE design challenge is based on a set of six global development themes, working with EWB development partners. Students showcase their concepts at a poster presentation at the end of the year. Assessed on poster and Q&A session, EWB and industry representatives invited to the event.50%n/a
Oral ExaminationDebate or interactive oral regarding topics of Innovation Academy e.g. UN SDGs20%n/a
ParticipationSimulation exercise - based on the chosen theme for the design challenge30%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    Programme or List of Programmes
    GCBSc in Global Challenges

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