The Impact of Student Location in a Global Design Project

  • Keilah Bias Dalhousie University
  • Daniel Larsen University of New Brunswick
  • Libby Osgood University of Prince Edward Island


Various engineering programs in North America enable students to immerse in international projects. Some students travel with NGOs and perform engineering work as part of their curriculum, and some design projects for hypothetical clients in other parts of the world. The authors designed a charcoal press for Kenyan farmers as part of their 2nd year design class. Due to the success of the design, the project was brought to Kenya, and was modified to be built to the materials and equipment that were available in the rural communities. One of the authors travelled to deliver the design, participated in building the device, as well as trained the clients to perform the process. The second author stayed in Canada.
The authors present their experience on this two-stage design process, where the students were exposed in both designing from a distance and being immersed in the international setting of the project. Writing from students’ perspective, different points on how the project was effective on engraving design principles to students were shared. Students also reflected on their experience and developed recommendations on how the experience can be improved for future students who will take similar programs