Carnegie Mellon’s Policy Innovation Lab class resource portfolio

Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College offers a 7-week class Policy Innovation Lab, that pairs student teams with state-level policymakers to tackle local challenges.

Distinguished Service Professor Christopher Goranson leads the class and developed a course resource portfolio that may help guide other university instructors who are planning out a similar Policy Lab course. This full Policy Innovation Lab course resource portfolio is available on the Canvas website for use under a NonCommercial ShareAlike license.

The Policy Lab is taught as a project-based course with student teams and public interest partnerships. The resources in the course portfolio can help an instructor structure the overarching class, train the students in public interest technology, scope challenges with the partners, lead them through sprints to create deliverables, make progress on their efforts, and hand-off their work.

In the past, the Policy Lab class model has been used for distinct topics like smart cities or climate resiliency. The structure and resources can be adapted to different kinds of challenges.

The course portfolio includes the following resources for instructors to explore and adapt:

  1. Pre-readings, including public interest tech literature review, design sprint overviews, lab playbook
  2. Sample Project Briefs, that can guide the instructor and partners on how to scope out the challenges give to student teams
  3. Team Pages, that show how students and partners work together over the course using different tech platforms, and what work deliverables look like (including on GitHub, Mural, Slack, Trello, and Google Drive)
  4. Sprint and Course Work plans, that have outlines of the main activities of the class, the templates used by student teams, weekly readings, and example work product
  5. Lecture Materials for the instructors to use, with details and examples of the weekly topics
  6. Assignment and Grading Rubric to manage students’ participation, project work, and ongoing documentation

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