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Creativity and Design: A General Education Course for ECE Freshman

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Project-based and Cooperative Learning in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.361.1 - 25.361.10



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Paper Authors


Robert Adams University of Kentucky

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Robert Adams is an Associate Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Kentucky. He teaches several courses within the department and was the 2006 ECE Teacher of the Year. Most recently, he has redesigned the ECE 101 course: Creativity and Design in Electrical & Computer Engineering. Adams' research interests and activities are in the areas of theoretical and applied electromagnetics.

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Jens Hannemann University of Kentucky


Lawrence Holloway University of Kentucky

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Lawrence Holloway, professor and Chair. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506.

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Creativity and Design: A General Education Course for ECE FreshmanWe have recently introduced a new Freshman Engineering course, Creativity and Designin Electrical & Computer engineering. The new course is designed to both fulfill theCreativity & Arts requirement of the University’s revised General Education curriculum(for which it has received approval), as well as to improve student retention from theFreshman to the Sophomore year. Like many Freshman Engineering courses, there is afocus within the course on hands-on laboratory modules in areas including Radio,Embedded Computing, and Signal Processing. These laboratory modules are taught inparallel with a lecture that focuses on issues related to creativity and innovation.There is significant data that indicates that student creativity tends to decrease as astudent progresses through an engineering degree program. Therefore, a goal of this newcourse is to formally introduce students to several models of the creative process, relatedinnovation techniques, case studies, and the importance of creativity for innovativeproblem solving in engineering in general, with particular emphasis placed on casestudies related to Electrical & Computer Engineering.Students are given opportunities within the laboratory portion of the course to experimentwith the creativity strategies and processes covered during the lecture. This isaccomplished by ending each of the laboratory modules with an open ended assignmentwherein the students are asked to come up with a novel design and/or solution to one of ahandful of problems related to the material covered within the laboratory module. Whilethis gives the students some freedom to innovate, the students are also required to workwithin certain parameters laid out by the instructor. Much more flexibility for innovationis provided in a final, open-ended project. Within this portion of the course, studentteams are required to come up with their own creative project concept and then pursue itsimplementation. While these Student Creations can be related to material covered earlierin the course, students are also encouraged to pursue their own, independently selectedtopics for innovative project definition and implementation.During the conference, the speaker will provide representative examples of the materialcovered within the lecture portion of the course, student lab and project work, and thelessons learned in trying to stimulate creativity and innovation in the Fresman ECEstudents. Assessment data will also be reviewed, including student comments andpreliminary Freshman retention data and its comparison to prior years.

Adams, R., & Hannemann, J., & Holloway, L. (2012, June), Creativity and Design: A General Education Course for ECE Freshman Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21119

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