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A Class In Creative Design

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.11.1 - 5.11.4



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Paper Authors

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Don L. Dekker

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2325

A Class in Creative Design

Don L. Dekker Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

1. Introduction

In the winter quarter of 1995-96 a class named “Creative Design” was introduced. The course had been taught before as a two-credit course but in 1995, it was re-introduced as a four- quarter credit course. When organizing the course it became clear that this would be a “one shot” introduction to creativity. As such, it would be necessary to “sell” the students on the importance of creativity, and if they became excited about creativity, they would have to learn more about creativity on their own. As I think more about this, faculty should try to “sell” more of our courses to our students. For example, whether or not a student likes or dislikes “Thermodynamics” probably has something to do with the professor. The impetus for expanding the course from two credits to four, was Edward deBono’s book, Serious Creativity.[1] This book has many techniques to use for improving creativity and everyone can try these techniques. In 1995, another new creativity book, Jump Start Your Brain [2] by Doug Hall, appeared. This book also has a lot of “Brain Programs” to help improve creativity and, in addition, it is a lot more fun to read. Of course, FUN is a good way to get students interested and excited. For the last three years, the course has been taught using Jump Start Your Brain, and the students have liked it a lot and learned a lot as evidenced by the student comments which are listed in Section 6.

2. Course Organization

The class is listed as the usual course in the catalog. The catalog description is listed below.

ME 380 Creative Design 4R-0L-4C Pre: Permission of instructor Emphasis on the creative process in engineering design. Emphasizes the inter-personal and creative processes involved in engineering design. Students will experience and develop their design capability by experiencing various conceptual blocks using creative enhancement techniques and designing and constructing unusual devices.

In an effort to get the students more involved in the class I tried several different techniques. This class is really a discussion class. The students must write daily, one-page memos on handouts and chapters of the two required books. One book is Conceptual Blockbusting [3] by Jim Adams and the other is the aforementioned Jump Start Your Brain. The students keep their memos and add comments about the discussion of the day. By having the memos due every day, each student can usually participate in the discussion. Other reading assignments are some handouts about creativity and personality traits based on papers. [4, 5, 6]

Dekker, D. L. (2000, June), A Class In Creative Design Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8205

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