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3D Assist: A model for civic engagement within the third level sector.

Author Robbie O'Connor, Elaine McGeogh
Abstract Fundamentally, engineering is about improving people's quality of life and serving the greater good of our community. This paper considers the developments and application of community engagement and "Service learning" or "Community Based Learning" in third level institutions. It then attempts to align the published outcomes of these approaches with the experiences of the 3D-Assist project at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght.

The "3D-Assist" group is an informal group of students, past students and staff at the Institute of Technology Tallaght. It was set up in January 2015 with a view to 3D printing prosthetic hands and arms for people who need them.

To date, it has manufactured over 30 prosthetic hands and arms for recipients in Ireland and the UK. It has also designed and manufactured assistive devices for visually impaired children and their teachers. The group is made up 5 staff members and approximately 12 student members. All its costs are covered through fundraising efforts of staff and students. It has been observed that students involved with 3D Assist have benefited from increased engagement with the community, collaboration with students from other courses and years and interaction with recipients of the devices and their families.

Keywords Civic and community engagement, Community based learning, Service Learning, 3D printing prosthetics, Peer support learning
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2017
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