Instructor Insights

COURSE OVERVIEW

This page focuses on the course EC.716 D-Lab: Waste as it was taught by Kate Mytty and Pedro Reynolds-Cuéllar in Fall 2015.

This course provides a multidisciplinary approach to managing waste in low- and middle-income countries. The course focuses on understanding some of the multiple dimensions of waste generation and management. Topics are presented in real contexts, through case studies, field trips, labs, civic engagement, and research. Topics include consumer culture, waste streams, waste management, entrepreneurship and innovation on waste, technology evaluation, downcycling/upcycling, Life Cycle Analysis, and waste assessment.

COURSE OUTCOMES

Course Goals for Students

  • Gain a better understanding and appreciation for the challenges related to waste management, both locally and abroad
  • Learn how technology, society, and art relate to the problem of waste through a project-based approach
  • Act on important waste issues through building technology (design), civic engagement (dialogue) or artistic expression (dissemination)

CURRICULUM INFORMATION

Prerequisites

None

Requirements Satisfied

None

Offered

Every fall semester

INSTRUCTOR INTERVIEW

Material flows are a major influence on the way we live our day-to-day lives and on the types of things we consume. The purpose of this class was to help students become more cognizant of the types of systems, technologies, and actors that exist within those flows.

— KATE MYTTY

Below, Kate Mytty describes various aspects of how she taught EC.716 D-Lab: Waste:

ASSESSMENT

Grade Breakdown

The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 20% Readings, Attendance and Participation
  • 20% In-class Presentation
  • 15% Reflection Writings
  • 15% Waste Tech Designs
  • 30% Final Project

Instructor Insights on Assessment

Read Kate Mytty’s insights about designing and assessing the open-ended final project.

STUDENT INFORMATION

Enrollment

10 students

Breakdown by Year

Graduate students and fellows

Breakdown by Major

Students and fellows came from a variety of academic areas, including aeronautics and astronautics, industrial design management, business, computer science and urban planning.

Typical Student Background

Only about 1/5 of the class had professional experience in the waste and sustainability sector. Most students had thought about waste generally, but wanted to understand material flows in a more nuanced way.

HOW STUDENT TIME WAS SPENT

During an average week, students were expected to spend 9 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

 3 hours per week

  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 26 sessions total.
  • Class sessions included team work, discussion, exercises, and a presentation.

Lab

 2 hours per week

  • Met 1 time per week for 2 hours per session; 11 sessions total.
  • Labs included field trips to waste management facilities in Cambridge and Boston and hands-on experiences.
  • Students also viewed films centering on waste management and production.

Out of Class

 4 hours per week

  • Students prepared their assignments, writing reflections and final projects outside of class.
  • Collaboration on projects and assignments was encouraged.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

notes Lecture Notes
group_work Projects with Examples
assignment Written Assignments
co_present Instructor Insights