About Us - Course Background

Technology Consulting in the Community (TCinC) engages students as consultants working with local organizations. Different from most "service learning" courses, TCinC student consultants focus on building capacity within organizations to sustain IT solutions without ongoing assistance. They do not merely provide IT support, nor do they focus on system development. Rather they focus on solving organizational problems using IT solutions. In doing so, they may develop a system, or adapt open source or commercial tools as appropriate to the situation. Computing systems do not exist in isolation, but in the context of people, organizations, and their policies. We want to train leaders in our community who can not only develop new technologies, but can solve organizational and societal problems. This course has as its learning goals to build inquiry, communication and leadership skills, in addition to engaging students in project development. At the same time it provides a valuable service in the community.

We created TCinC in 1998 and since then we have worked with several hundred organizations, both near our home campus in Pittsburgh and in Doha, Qatar. (Click here for list of past partners). There were several reasons we developed this unique course.

This model has expanded to the Technology Consulting in the Global Community program, and as a course at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.