Projects with a Social Dimension

Projects with a social dimension/contribution are carried out by students in individual departments as part of their continuous assessment activities.  These projects connect student learning to their communities and the relevant modules are can be characterised as service learning modules.  For example

  • Students in disciplines such as Marketing, Advertising, Creative Digital Media and Business Management support social and community organisations by carrying out research, marketing and design work for them free of charge. 
  • Students on the Bachelor of Engineering in Energy & Environmental Engineering, engage with a variety of public, private and voluntary organisations on projects relating to green technologies and environmental sustainability. 

These activities are defined as ‘service learning modules’ in the Carnegie Community Engagement Framework. [1]  Service learning occurs when students, as part of their programme, participate in a project that assists a community partner in achieving a goal.  Another term sometimes used is community-based learning, academic service learning, public service courses etc.

We do not currently formally record modules as ‘service learning’ modules; however, several modules on our programmes meet this definition. Some examples are below:


School of Science and Computing

Department of Applied Science

Programme: BSc in Sports Science & Health
Project:       Active volunteering in sports/health areas
Year:           Year 1, 2 and 3
Credits:        10 (Optional)
Contact:      Dr. Kieran Collins: (01)404814 E:

Description: Students have an optional module on Vocational Skills (worth 10 additional credits).  To obtain these credits students must engage in volunteering activities in years 1, 2 and 3 of their programme.  The module is optional but about 50% of students choose to do the module (between 25 and 35 students each year).  Typically each student undertakes an average of 50 hours volunteering, with a range of agencies (sporting organisations and schools) and in their area of interest e.g. healthcare, teaching, nutrition, coaching and physiotherapy.  Lecturers on the Sports Science programmes are applied practitioners and they help link students with individuals and organisations. 


School of Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Programme:  Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering
Project:        Industry Project
Year:           Year
Credits:        30 ECTS for each placement
Contact:      Robbie O’Connor, T: (01) 4042716 E:

Description:  The 3D Assist Tallaght is a voluntary project that was set up in January 2015, with a view to 3D printing of prosthetic  limbs (arms and hands) for children who have suffered limb deformation before birth or have lost limbs through accident or illness (  The group is part of the worldwide E-Nable organisation,

Since January 2015, the group has manufactured 8 prosthetic hands and 17 prosthetic arms for recipients in Ireland and the UK.  The range of activities/products provided by the 3D Assist Group has developed to include a number of projects with the Central Remedial Clinic to design and manufacture a range of assistive devices - such as modified joysticks for wheelchairs and heated joystick covers for wheelchairs. The group has also recently started to print and develop assistive devices for the visually impaired, including braille devices for visually impaired teachers and students.

The group is made up entirely of volunteers (staff, students and alumni) and the 3D printers that are used were donated to the Institute. All products and services are provide free of charge. Projects are supported through fund raising activities by students in IT Tallaght. 


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