Share Course Ware
Social Studies > Science, Technology, and Society > D-Lab: Development, Dialogue and Delivery
 D-Lab: Development, Dialogue and Delivery  posted by  member150_php   on 3/6/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
Further Reading
More Options

Kornbluth, Kurt, and Amy Smith, SP.721 D-Lab: Development, Dialogue and Delivery, Fall 2004. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 11 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

D-Lab: Development, Dialogue and Delivery

Fall 2004

D-Lab student operating a treadle pump.
A D-Lab student tests a treadle pump during the IAP visit to Zambia. (Photo courtesy of Alfinio Flores. Used with permission.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete set of lecture notes.

Course Description

D-Lab is a year-long series of courses and field trips. The fall class provides a basic background in international development and appropriate technology through guest speakers, case studies and hands-on exercises. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in an IAP fieldtrip to Haiti, India, Brazil, Honduras, Zambia, Samoa, or Lesotho and continue their work in a spring term design class. As part of the fall class, students will partner with community organizations in these countries and develop plans for the IAP site visit. In addition, students will learn about the culture, language, economics, politics and history of their host country.

SyllabusCourse Goals


  • Gain awareness of third world communities and the technical challenges they face
  • Learn about appropriate technologies for developing communities, their impact, and how they can be conceived, designed and implemented
  • Understand the role MIT can play in helping and advancing developing communities throughout the world
  • Learn the hands-on skills required to implement selected development projects
  • Gain exposure to the culture, history, economic and developmental state of the host countries
  • Work with community organizations to prepare field projects for the IAP fieldtrips

Trip Leaders

In addition to the instructors, several students make important contributions to D-Lab as Trip Leaders.

Brazil: Leo Burd
Ghana: Jamy Drouillard
Honduras: Elizabeth Basha, Marta Fernandez-Suarez
India: Sam Davies
Lesotho: Matt Orosz, Kate Steel
Samoa: Sala Mcguire
Zambia: Will DelHagen


 Smillie, Ian. Mastering the Machine Revisited: Poverty, Aid and Technology. Bourton-on-Dunsmore, UK: ITDG Publishing, 2000. ISBN: 9781853395079.

Readings from this book will be supplemented by many articles and other resources.


This is a nine-unit class: four hours a week will be spent in class and the remaining five hours will be spent working on readings, homework, and developing the field projects. Because much of the work for this seminar will be done during class time, attendance is essential. Students missing a class meeting should contact the instructors to make up the work. This seminar is graded on a A/B/C/F basis, furthermore it is a class where your work is impacting the lives of people around the world and we expect an appropriate level of commitment.

In-class Assignments and Participation 30%
Homework and Writing Assignments 25%
Sector Paper 15%
Quiz 15%
Final Presentation 15%


The course calendar includes lectures, project-oriented recitation sessions, and a few labs. On average, each week includes two lecture sessions and one recitation or lab, but this is not strictly followed every week.

1 Introduction: Appropriate Technologies in the Developing World Amy Smith  
2 Appropriate Technology and Intermediate Technology Amy Smith Writing 1 due
3 Participatory Development

Role Playing Exercise
Amy Smith  
4 Stakeholder Analysis

Perspectives on Development
Amy Smith, Kurt Kornbluth, and Prof. Mitch Resnick, MIT Homework 1 due
5 Presentations on Countries and Projects    
6 Water Issues in the Developing World

Lab: Water Lab
Amy Smith Homework 2 due
7 Water Treatment Systems Daniele Lantagne, CDC  
8 Project Team Meetings    
9 DISACARE Case Study Kurt Kornbluth Homework 3 due
10 Manufacturing in Developing Countries Amy Smith and Kurt Kornbluth  
11 Initial Project Presentations   Homework 4 due
12 Manufacturing Lab: Wheelchair Fabrication Kurt Kornbluth  
13 R & D for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas Anil Rajvanshi, NARI  
14 Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid Allan Hammond, WRI Writing 2 due
15 Poverty Reduction Schemes Amy Smith  
16 Project Team Meetings    
17 Agricultural Technology Showcase I Amy Smith  
18 Agricultural Technology Showcase II Paul Polak, IDE  
19 Lab: Cooking Lab   Writing 3 due
20 Energy Issues in Developing Countries   Quiz due
21 Lab: Solar Energy and Lighting   Homework 5 due
22 Project Status Presentations Team Leads  
23 Photo-voltaic System Design Dr. Jim Bales, MIT  
24 Life Cycle Analysis

Lab: Charcoal Manufacture
Kurt Kornbluth  
25 Project Team Meetings    
26 Health Issues in the Developing World Claire Pierre MD, Cambridge Health Alliance  
27 Humanitarian Bridge Building Toni Ruttimann  
28 Sanitation and Latrine Technology Laura Orlando, ReSource  
29 Lab: Latrine Building Amy Deora, MIT  
30 Gender Issues in Development Prof. Christine Walley, MIT  
31 ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development) Leo Burd, MIT  
32 Project Team Meetings   Homework 6 due
33 Field Project Logistics

Trip Planning

Travel Information, Health, Safety
Amy Smith and Kurt Kornbluth  
34 Survey and Assessment Techniques Sumi Ariely, MIT  
35 The Better World Workshop Carl Bielenberg  
36 Project Team Meetings   Writing 4 due
37 Medical Anthropology - Prosthetics Steve Kurzman  
38 Final Presentations

  Homework 7 due   Tell A Friend