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Creativity in an Introductory Engineering Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.401.1 - 22.401.9



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Paper Authors


Susan L. Burkett University of Alabama

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Susan L. Burkett is the Alabama Power Foundation Endowed Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. She served as Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Undergraduate (DUE) Education from 2005 - 2007. Professor Burkett is a member of ASEE, AVS: Science and Technology Society, and a senior member of IEEE.

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John C. Lusth University of Alabama


Sushma Kotru University of Alabama

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Sushma Kotru earned the B.S., M.S., degrees in Physics from the University of Kashmir, India. She received her M. Phil and Ph.D. degrees (Solid State Physics) from Jammu University, India. Dr. Kotru worked as a Post Doctoral Research Associate at NSF-Center for Electronic Materials, Devices and Systems, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (1996 - 1998). Currently Dr. Kotru is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. Dr. Kotru has authored or co-authored 45 referred papers and presented 87 conference papers. Dr. Kotru’s research has been funded from DOD, NSF, ARO, NASA and FAA. Her research interests include thin film oxide materials, emphasis being on ferroelectric & multiferroic materials for a variety of applications including PV solar cells, IR and gas sensors and MEMS processing. Dr. Kotru is a senior member of IEEE and a member of the MRS and AVS.

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AbstractA two credit hour introductory electrical and computer engineering (ECE) course is the forumfor this research project. The course introduces ECE majors to the profession with a lecturecomponent that emphasizes circuit analysis, simulation software, lifelong learning, and ethics.The laboratory component consists of five laboratories where students analyze an automobilelighting system to reinforce fundamental principles, use a breadboard to create a circuit with anoperational amplifier, and assemble a radio from a kit. In addition, a laboratory where studentsdesign and build a functional product with attention to aesthetics has been introduced to exercisetheir creativity. The creative process is marked by progression through various stages such asbrainstorming, forming a construction plan, drawing schematic representations of the product,and implementation of the design. This project is motivated by the need for creative thought inengineering undergraduate students to enable enhanced product design. Each semester theproduct changes and to date, three laboratory modules have been developed. The threevariations include: designing a lamp from musical instruments, designing the housing for a lowpower computer, and designing a solar powered wind chime. The students are tasked to designand build the products within a three week time period. The major components for each productare supplied with budgets in the range of $25-50 per group for additional items. Assessmentresults show that the majority of students enjoy the several aspects of the “creative” laboratory.At the same time, they consider it to be one of the most difficult laboratories. This project wasfunded by NSF from the CCLI program.

Burkett, S. L., & Lusth, J. C., & Kotru, S. (2011, June), Creativity in an Introductory Engineering Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17682

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