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Creativity for Enhancing the Technological Literacy for Non-science Majors

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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

Technological Literacy and the Non-science College Student

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.362.1 - 25.362.10



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Paper Authors


Robert M. Brooks Temple University

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Robert Brooks is an Associate Professor of civil engineering at Temple University. He is a fellow of ASCE. His research interests are engineering education, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

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Jyothsna Kavuturu

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Jyothsna K. S., Department of English, St.Joseph’s College, Bangalore, eecured a gold medal for the highest aggregate marks in the Post Graduate English Literature course at St.Joseph’s College (autonomous). K. S. has been working for the Department of English, St.Joseph’s College for almost two years now, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in English. K. S. has published papers in intramural and extramural publications and presented papers at several conventions, conferences, and seminars.

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Mehmet Cetin Temple University

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Mehmet Cetin is a doctorate candidate of civil engineering at Temple University. He has master's degree. His research interests are engineering education, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

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Creativity for enhancing the technical Literacy of non-science majorsCreativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, asolution, etc.) that has some kind of value. Creativity and creative acts are therefore studiedacross several disciplines. The conventional system of teaching is stifling to creativity. Creativity is important becausetechnology is advancing our society at an unprecedented rate and creative problem solving willbe needed to cope with these challenges as they arise. In addition to helping with problemsolving, creativity can also help students identify problems where others have failed to do so. Topromote creative thinking teachers need to identify what motivates their students and organizeteaching around it. Providing students with a choice of activities allows them to become moreintrinsically motivated and therefore creative in completing the tasks (Wikipedia). However,very few courses provide the students with creative opportunities for learning. The importance ofthe topic and its need provided the authors with strong motivation to pursue this study.In Fall 2007 “The Environment” course was taught using the traditional lecture method. Thecourse was used as the control group. The course meets the science core requirement for non-science majors. The same course was taught as an experimental group in SP 2011 usingcreativity for enhancing the technical literacy of the students. Five assignments were given to thestudents on some of the most important environmental issues. The issues are given in the paper.Each issue is loaded with technical literacy details consisting of charts, tables, graphs, equationsand number crunching exercises. The assignments were graded using a creativity quotient on ascale 0-7. The quotient consisted of 7 indices: (1) Remote consequences, where participants areasked to generate a list of consequences of unexpected situations (2) Fluency – strength ofmeaningful, interpretable, and relevant ideas generated in response to the issue. (3) Originality –the statistical rarity of the responses among the students. (4) Elaboration – the amount of detail inthe responses. (5) Independence of judgment, (6) Attraction to complexity, (7) Tolerance forambiguity. Each index carried one point. The creative assignments carried 20% of the coursegrade. Except the assignments there is no difference between the control and experimentalgroups. The creative quotient is the total score on the 7 indices.In a written survey the students stated that the assignments provided them with a creativity-friendly, rich, imagination-fostering environment for learning. The average grade of the controlgroup was 64% and that of the experimental group was 78%, a 22% improvement over thecontrol group. The groups were significantly different with a calculated t value of 3.6. The t-testconfirmed statistical improvement at significant confidence level with an alpha value of 0.05.The authors plan to use these practices in 4 other courses over the next three years. The practicescan be used in other courses or schools with appropriate modifications in order to help ourstudents acquire creativity for enhancing their technical literacy.

Brooks, R. M., & Kavuturu, J., & Cetin, M. (2012, June), Creativity for Enhancing the Technological Literacy for Non-science Majors Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21120

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