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Do We Teach Them How To Think?

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Design and Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.440.1 - 7.440.19



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Raviv

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

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Session 2630

Do We Teach Them How to Think?* Daniel Raviv Department of Electrical Engineering Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431 E-mail: 561 297 2773 Abstract In today's marketplace there is an urgent need for innovative “out-of-the-box” thinkers with teaming, communication, and interpersonal skills. Many college courses focus on knowledge acquisition and less on thinking. Some students are losing basic skills for defining, understanding and solving problems while some others struggle with logical and critical thinking. Teaming and communication skills are being addressed in a relatively small number of college courses. In order to get students who can solve real problems, we must address the need for development and implementation of course modules in innovation and inventiveness in different disciplines, especially engineering and technology. Such modules can and should be designed to enhance teaming, communication and interpersonal skills.

This paper discusses some of the problems in teaching innovative problem solving and suggests some possible solutions based on experience in an undergraduate course at Florida Atlantic University titled: “Introduction to Inventive Problem Solving in Engineering”. Its goal is to enhance innovative and inventive thinking abilities of undergraduate students resulting in skills that can be used in science, math, engineering and technology. In this paper we detail projects and homework assignments, teaming and communication activities, and hands-on and fun interactive class actions. One of the core ideas of the class is the Eight-dimensional methodology for inventive and innovative problem solving: a systematic approach that stimulates innovation by effectively using both sides of the brain. The methodology is a unified approach that builds on comprehensive problem solving knowledge from industry, business, marketing, math, science, engineering, technology, and daily life. It allows the generation of unique and high quality, out- of-the-box multiple solutions in a short period of time. The methodology can be easily taught, learned, and used, and may be practiced by individuals as well as teams.

The new course uses hands-on problem-based learning and emphasizes expanding creativity and thinking skills of students. The activities include 3-D mechanical puzzles, games, mind teasers, LEGO® Mindstorms competitions, and design projects. These activities allow for self-paced, semi-guided exploration. They lead to out-of-the-box inventive thinking, imagination, intuition, common sense, and teamwork. The course and the use of the Eight-dimensional methodology have been recently evaluated with encouraging results.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

*This work has been supported in part by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), and was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Division of Information, Robotics and Intelligent Systems, Grant # IIS-9615688,.

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Raviv, D. (2002, June), Do We Teach Them How To Think? Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10103

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