In this college class, the assignment is to solve a local problem

Our Hacking 4Local class in Fast Company, World Changing Ideas, May 8, 2019.  UC Berkeley’s Hacking for Local sends students in the community to learn what people need fixed in their city–from unreliable buses to mitigating the risk of wildfires–and help them find solutions.

Excerpt: In the class, local groups and city council members suggested a set of challenges, and students spent 14 weeks making sense of the issues, conducting dozens of interviews with stakeholders and rapidly iterating on solutions, often pivoting from week to week. With a “flipped classroom” format, there were no lectures in class. Students prepared in advance and spent class time discussing ideas. The majority of the work happened off campus in the community. “The problem might be very different than what your preconceived notions were,” says Weinstein. “At a university like Berkeley, the students are super smart–that’s why they’re there–but the collective wisdom of all these students pales next to the collective wisdom of people on the streets living the problem.” (This was especially true because most of the students weren’t majoring in public policy or the particular issues that they were considering in the class.)

[Top Photo: Justin Pratt/iStock]