We learn across the Fulbright Core how transformations have happened in human history – transformations in thought, in social structures, and in individual lives. We also see how transformations happen in nature and how human intervention transforms the natural world. But what about transformation that humans create through intentional design? This might be a new mask that filters air in a superior manner, a drone that can deliver medicines to remote parts of the country faster than any vehicle, or an app that allows you to create new music depending on your mood. In this course, we showcase how innovation is linked to rigorous scientific, mathematical, and engineering methods, with an emphasis on teamwork and hands-on experience. Students may take this as an entry point into the deeper study of design and engineering, or they may apply what they learn in this introductory course to their understanding of social and economic systems, to creative fabrication in the fine arts, or to the design and development of a start-up company in collaboration with Fulbright’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This course embraces both the art and science of creation, instilling the confidence to experiment, sometimes to fail, but ultimately to prevail in designing and building a better future.
Designing and Systems Thinking (D&ST) course introduces the principles, processes, and tools of systems thinking and design thinking that are used to identify and generate solutions to frictions in our society. The building blocks to understand systems and to approach the designing process include: how ethnographic observation can be used to frame and observe real world challenges from the consumer’s perspective; an introduction to systems thinking to understand how challenges exist in a broader context; design thinking, enabling a structured approach to developing solutions and concepts; prototyping of physical products and designs; and key engineering concepts that enable concepts to become reality. This course employs project-based learning among teams of students to identify problems, specify client, consumer, or societal needs, and design a system answering those needs. This process includes defining the product’s features and specifications, decomposing it into components, integrating it into an environment, building it, and then validating and verifying its results. For example, teams may create elements of a smart home like automatic lighting and watering, or an Internet of Things (IoT) system for drought monitoring and early warning, or an automatic hand sanitizer. They will use modules, materials, tools, and facilities available in the market or in the Fulbright Maker Space to prototype these systems. In the process, they will develop a basic command of agile methods used in project management, learn basic modern fabrication skills, and practice critical thinking, including an understanding of constraints, negotiating between options, and examining social and environmental impact.

offering time

Fall 22


Kien Truong


Core course

Course code


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