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Initial Investigation of Analytic Hierarchy Process to Teach Creativity in Design and Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Opening General Session 2

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.752.1 - 24.752.21



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Paper Authors


Jennifer Grimsley Michaeli P.E. Old Dominion University

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Dr. Jennifer G. Michaeli is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology of Old Dominion University (ODU). She received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University, her MSc in Ocean Systems Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her BSc in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Webb Institute. Prior to her arrival to ODU, Dr. Michaeli spent over a decade of service in the Department of Defense and private industry where she led multidisciplinary design teams to be innovative and creative in developing and implementing advanced technologies for US and Foreign Navies. Now in her academic role, she explores methodologies to develop and foster design creativity and innovation to prepare the next generation’s leaders in engineering.

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Gene Hou Old Dominion University

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Dr. Gene Hou is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of Old Dominion University (ODU). He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Iowa in 1983 and joined Old Dominion University since then. His expertise is in computational mechanics, multidisciplinary design optimization and system integration and risk management. He is the director of the Dynamics Environment Simulation (DES) Laboratory and the Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) Laboratory. He is the supervisor of the capstone senior design project team on the Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) which has competed in the international competition in the last three years. During his tenure, he has the privilege of developing 3 new undergraduate and 6 new graduate courses in the areas related to computational methods and design.

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Xiaoxiao Hu Old Dominion University

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Xiaoxiao Hu is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Old Dominion University. She received her PhD in Industrial/Organizational psychology from George Mason University. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Academy of Management, and the International Association for Chinese Management Research. She served as the chair of the Psychology Section for Virginia Academy of Science in 2013. Her primary research areas are on affective experience and relational dynamics in the workplace. She also does research on psychometric and measurement issues as well as cross-cultural comparisons between the East and the West. Her work has appeared in journals including Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Journal of Managerial Psychology. She currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Business and Psychology.

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May Hou Norfolk State University

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Mrs. May Hou is a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science of Norfolk State University. She received her MS in Computer Science from University of Iowa, 1980. She has an extensive industry experience as system programmer and analyst. She started teaching in 1988. She has been an AP computer Science examination reader/table leader for over 10 years and working closely with local AP computer science teachers to promote computer science in local high schools. She understands very much learning attitudes and special needs of minority and female students in learning computer science. She has made a great effort to bring the collaborative learning and graph animation into the classroom to foster a more interactive learning environment. The results of these efforts have been presented in the conferences. Mrs. May Hou also works hard to promote online teaching and becomes a Certified Online Instructor in 2013.

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Initial Assessment of Analytic Hierarchy Process to Teach Innovation and Creativity in Design and Engineering Short SummaryThis paper investigates the use of Analytic Hierarchy Process to teach design creativity andinnovation in undergraduate engineering students. Examples are included to assess itseffectiveness in the classroom. Detailed SummaryThe purpose of this research is to investigate the suitability of the Analytic Hierarchy Process(AHP) to teach design innovation and creativity in undergraduate engineering classrooms.AHP is a very structured, multi-criteria, decision-making process and traditionally has beenused to solve complex problem sets. This investigation takes a fresh look at how AHPprovides the framework to engage and encourage students to think creatively andinnovatively in design and engineering.This paper presents several separate case studies that incorporate the AHP technique in theclassroom to teach design innovation and creativity to undergraduate engineering students,including introduction at the freshmen engineering level. These case studies include: thedesign of a robotic water vehicle; the design of a coffee maker; and the design of a website.These diverse case studies explore the suitability of this decision-making technique across abroad range of design problems to assess how AHP can be utilized to give students a betterunderstanding of the design process, to foster a personal motivation towards creative andinnovative thinking and to equip students with a strategy for creative problem solving theycan use through their engineering careers.Students who participated in the case studies completed questionnaires to assess theapplication of AHP and its effectiveness to understand the problem and to reach a creativeand innovative solution. Based on the results of these student questionnaires, there is positiveevidence that AHP can be utilized to remove barriers that inhibit creativity and to foster anenvironment for students to achieve more design creativity and innovation in engineeringclassrooms. This study has implications to change the pedagogical approach used to teachengineering design and provides a methodology for design creativity that students will carrywith them throughout their career.

Michaeli, J. G., & Hou, G., & Hu, X., & Hou, M. (2014, June), Initial Investigation of Analytic Hierarchy Process to Teach Creativity in Design and Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20644

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