Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
The goal of the common first-year engineering program at our university is to prepare students to succeed in upper level engineering curricula. This is achieved through the process of solving open-ended multidisciplinary engineering problems in an active, engaging, learning environment, while gaining exposure to different engineering majors and career options. The focus is the development of problem-solving, computational, and communication skills. Through active, collaborative teamwork, students apply engineering methods to “real world” problems. All students who matriculate in our engineering programs begin their first year completing two common fundamentals courses, ENG1101 (Engineering Analysis and Problem Solving) and ENG1102 (Engineering Modeling and Design). Approximately 1000 students enroll in these courses each year. Historically, in this course sequence, students work in teams to develop solutions to prescribed problems. In a pilot initiative for the Fall 2017 sections of ENG1102, our goal was to allow students the opportunity to self-identify problems they would like to address in an effort to expose them to concepts in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial mindset. While there are a number of Innovation and Entrepreneurial (I&E) experiences available to our first-year engineering students, including pitch competitions, access to a makerspace and support resources through the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, they are all extra-curricular in nature and require that individual students seek these opportunities of their own initiative. We believe that by directly introducing students to key I&E tools and methodologies in the first-year engineering courses, we can better foster and encourage an entrepreneurial mindset and better prepare students to take advantage of the available I&E opportunities. By exposing students to these tools early in their academic careers, we also hope to increase the pipeline of student inventors and innovators. For this pilot study, our approach was to integrate a series of instructional modules in Design-Thinking methodologies into the ENG1102 curriculum to help students: 1) employ empathy to identify problems of interest; 2) explore ideation techniques to generate innovative solutions, and 3) to practice low-resolution prototyping as a means to test their solutions, gather feedback and iterate on their designs. In this paper, we will share the results of our pilot initiative including assessment efforts to measure change in students’ curiosity & exploration, attitudes toward creativity, creative self-efficacy and creative identity, as well as feedback from the student participants.
Raber, M., & Fraley, M., & Kemppainen, A. (2018, June), Incorporating Design Thinking into the First-year Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30643
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