The EELISA community “Egalitarian Societies: Opportunities for Everyone” arises from different Service Learning projects that work with very diverse social groups. In these projects, students participate in activities that have direct contact with the real problems of our society. However, the participation of engineers in this type of projects, with an important social component, presents some difficulties and requires necessary precautions.
The workshop “Social Science Garage – emergency workshop for engineers” was focused on familiarizing engineers with some fundamental concepts and frameworks in the Social Sciences, so that they can improve the impact and effectiveness of engineering projects that have a social objective. The workshop consisted of 6 hours of specialist teaching and 6 hours of critical work, to discuss how Social Sciences concepts influence their research, dissertation projects and other works. This activity was held in Madrid on March 30th and 31st 2023, at the CENTRO DE LIDERAZGO Y TECNOLOGÍA (Leadership and Technology Center) of UPM.
Students from five EELISA universities (UPB, UPM, BME, ITU, FAU) participated in it. Dr. Asli Calkivik (ITU) and Dr. Sergio D’Antonio (UPM) started the sessions of the first day focused on “building a conceptual box”, addressing topics such as Inequalities, Design and Solutionism, Conviviality or Power-Politics-Problemizations. Dr. Andoni Alonso (UCM) introduced the students to the environmental and socio-cultural crisis and their relationship with development. The UPB team, integrated by Dr. Loredana Manasia, Dr. Andrei Parvan and Dr. Maria Gratiela Ianos explored the power of storytelling in exposing and addressing social inequalities. The presentation delves into how narratives and personal experiences can challenge societal perceptions of poverty, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. Finally, the participants developed and presented a Project Proposal for EELISA, ending with some reflections on the workshop and beyond.
With this workshop, students had the opportunity to reflect on the relationship and responsibility of their professional careers as engineers with the real problems of society, such as inequalities and sustainable development. It is really gratifying for teachers to see the interest that this type of workshops generates in students. These activities, in addition to providing a fundamental complement to their training as engineers and citizens, highlight the potential that new generations have. Their ideas and proposals are also a learning experience for teachers. It is important to highlight the international and interdisciplinary nature of the student teams, this undoubtedly provides greater motivation and learning. Organizing this type of event involves a lot of work, but the results obtained encourage us to continue working in this line and look for new collaborators.
This activity has been organised by the Egalitarian Societies: Opportunities for Everyone (ES: O4E) Community. Find out more about its activities and other EELISA Communities at the EELISA Community Platform.
Watch the video of the activity prepared by ES: O4E here
Javier has a degree and a PhD in Computer Science from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He is Associate Professor in the area of Computer Architecture and has carried out research activities in the area of Engineering Education, more specifically in Project Based Learning and Cooperative Learning. Recently he has been carrying out research activities in the area of DevOps, IoT and Cyberphysical Systems, as a member of the System and Software Technology Research Group (SYST). Its main contribution in these fields is the development of embedded and real-time systems for sensor networks. He has been director of the Master’s Degree in Distributed and Embedded Systems Software, where he has supervised different Master’s Theses focused on the field of Distributed Real Time Systems, Sensor Systems and IoT. Currently, he is the coordinator of the EELISA community “Egalitarian Societies: Opportunities for Everyone” since 2021.