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A Pilot Study For Creativity Experiences In A Freshman Introduction To Engineering Course

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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

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.95.1 - 8.95.8



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Paper Authors

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Karen High

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Cynthia Mann

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

Session 2793

A Pilot Study for Creativity Experiences in a Freshman Introduction to Engineering Course

Cynthia Mann, Karen A. High Oklahoma State University


A program launched at Oklahoma State University seeks to enhance the creative abilities of engineering students. The project objectives are to: improve recruitment and retention; increase the value of our graduates, and maximize job and lifetime satisfaction for our engineers.

The motivation for this program comes from the observation that engineering students may not be enjoying their education to its fullest extent. Students turn away from engineering because they feel it is too abstract and not practical. They feel as though it requires a lot of hard work for little benefit. Students do not think engineering will be fun. The truth is that engineering draws on all of one’s abilities and experiences. Engineering requires more than the math and logical thinking skills that we spend our class time learning. Good engineering requires creativity.

One might say that even though creativity is important, it is not a skill that can be ‘taught’ and therefore requires no further concern. We disagree. Whether or not we can ‘teach’ engineering students to be creative, we can provide an environment that supports creative thinking. We can allow students to find their own creative and unique solutions to engineering problems. While we understand that there is not room for creativity in every problem (you cannot change the laws of nature), we believe there is room for creativity throughout an engineering curriculum.

Our initial focus has been on a one-credit freshman orientation course. The major course objective is to introduce the students to engineering. The majority of the creativity experiences have focused on a Pizza Project. The Pizza Project was designed as a tool to teach students to use their creative abilities and help them understand what an engineer really does. More importantly, it was designed to impart to them that engineering is useful and fun.


College students do not see engineering as a creative field of study. Students see engineering as math, as an abstraction, as disconnected from reality. Freshmen often look at the daunting curriculum and see an abundance of work with little or no reward. What is not apparent in the underclass-engineering curriculum is the amount of creativity that is necessary to solve industrial problems1. This becomes more apparent in advanced courses, such as senior design, but we must be able to retain students until that level.

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

High, K., & Mann, C. (2003, June), A Pilot Study For Creativity Experiences In A Freshman Introduction To Engineering Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12023

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