The MIT Courses We’d Like to Take …

The semester is stirring to start. The students are back. It’s the time of year when the new flood of new-to-Cambridge residents learn their way around the neighborhood.

As the semester starts, here’s a look at some of the project-based classes we’d be keen to take:

(1) Seth Teller’s Assistive Technology
6.S196: Principles and Practices of Assistive Technology (link) A prototype created by the IDEAS Assistive Tech Team.
Professor Seth Teller with EECS is starting a new course on Assistive Technology with our own William Li who helped lead the recent IDEAS winning team by the same name.

Why take it? As Seth says:
In this project-based subject, small teams of students will connect with a person with a disability in the Boston area, learn about this “client’s” challenges, and develop an assistive device, solution, or technology that meets the client’s needs. We hope to serve people with visual impairment, motor impairment, or cognitive impairment,
as well those who need adaptive equipment for daily living. Learn more by emailing: ppat (at) csail (dot) mit (dot) edu

(2) Sandy Pentland and Joost Bonsen’s Development Ventures
15.375J Development Ventures

As Sandy and Joost describe it:

Seminar on founding, financing, and building entrepreneurial ventures in developing nations. Challenges students to craft enduring and economically viable solutions to the problems faced by these countries. Cases illustrate examples of both successful and failed businesses, and the difficulties in deploying and diffusing products and services through entrepreneurial action. Explores a range of established and emerging business models, as well as new business opportunities enabled by emerging technologies in MIT labs and beyond. Students develop a business plan executive summary suitable for submission in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition $1K Warm-Up. Limited to 25.

** Joost is also working on an Urban Ventures course to launch this fall. If you’re interested challenges particularly related to cities, keep track of Joost’s thread here.

(3) Leah Buechley’s Design for Empowerment
MAS.680 Design For Empowerment
We have heard lots of great recommendations on Leah’s class. Here’s the description:

Aims to understand, contribute to, and support communities of people who design, build, and hack their own devices. Focuses on tools that enable non-experts to design and build computational and electronic systems. Students investigate software and hardware toolkits, open-source technologies, fabrication processes, and new manufacturing and distribution models.

(4) D-Lab Courses
Click here for their course list

Sugarcane charcoal developed through MITs D-Lab

Sugarcane charcoal developed through MIT's D-Lab

As always, lots of incredible, hands-on courses are happening through D-Lab for undergrads to take advantage of. If you’re interested in applying engineering and design to development challenges, this is your chance to get your hands dirty. One of their new courses is being led by Libby McDonald, who’s part of MIT’s CoLab, and teaching a course on development and waste.

(5) The Global Health Grad School Course
HST 590 Fall 2011 – GLOBAL HEALTH for Biomedical Researchers (link)

Given the amount of energy Ashley Messina has put into helping organize this course and that Anjali Sastry (check out her courses) is one of the guest speakers, this course is not to be missed!

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This is just a beginning of the many courses out there. Others that we in the MIT Public Service Center are working with include: Ben Eran-Joseph’s urban planning course, Urban Design Skills; Natalie Kuldell’s Biological Engineering courses; and the famous 2.009 led by David Wallace.

What other courses are you looking forward to?

(And if we haven’t said it already, to those who have returned, welcome back!)

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