This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course 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


Amazon logo 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%