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A First Year Course In Design And Creativity For All Students

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Intro to Engineering: Not Just 1st Year Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.44.1 - 8.44.8



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Paper Authors

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Suzanne Keilson

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

Session 1153

A First Year Course in Design and Creativity for All Students

Suzanne Keilson

Loyola College, Department of Engineering Science, Baltimore, MD, 21210


A new course was offered at Loyola College in Maryland in the Fall of 2002. The course was entitled, “Engineering, Design and Creative Problem Solving in the Built World” and it was part of a special program for first year students called “Alpha”. This program is intended to enrich the experience of first year college students by providing them with a small class, more contact hours with the professor, and models of scholarly writing, conversation, and critical thinking. Faculty members in both the humanities and sciences have embraced this program. It posed some unique challenges to integrate the idea of an elective engineering course into this framework, which emphasizes reading, writing and conversation. The initial results suggest that this kind of course can provide much needed exposure to engineering design concepts to the general undergraduate population. It also provided some ideas for improving the introductory pedagogy for engineering majors. The following is a detailed course description that was created as part of the proposal for this new course to the Alpha program committee of the Office of First Year Programs. Some excerpted material from the student syllabus is provided in a table at the end of this paper.

Detailed course description (from proposal to the First Year Programs Committee)

The pyramids, gothic cathedrals, grand structures, but also transportation, communication, agricultural public health and sanitation systems are just some examples of our engineered world. This course explores what makes engineering unique from the sciences; the elements of design and creative problem-solving. Emphasis is given to the historical and social contexts of engineering design and its impact on our society.

This course is intended to explode the stereotypical image of “the engineer” and begin to appreciate the creativity inherent in the design process. We explore the connections engineering has to visual thinking, the visual arts, and graphic and industrial design.

The other central theme of this course is to understand the threat and promise of our dependency on the built world and the controversies that surround engineering decision-making made under conditions of risk, uncertainty, and moral ambiguity.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Keilson, S. (2003, June), A First Year Course In Design And Creativity For All Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11649

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