New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
Innovation Sandbox is a physical and programmatic environment where students of all academic levels and majors across campus can come together to explore and develop their early-stage ideas. The goal is to stimulate creative play outside the traditional academic environment through a mix of formal and informal engagement. This space allows innovations from quick drop-in low resolution prototypes, to projects that are allowed to progress beyond the duration of a single classroom project or exercise. Decoupling innovation from a particular course or department into a true separated space increases student’s ownership and accountability for the projects and is intended to facilitate great interdisciplinary interaction. Content is driven by participants and facilitated by student mentors who ensure that there is a low barrier to entry, assist with simple fabrication, facilitate connections with faculty and other campus resources, and provide design input to program participants. Like many campus Innovation and Maker Spaces, students from the College of Engineering were both early adopters and became the initial leaders and regular attenders. As the program expands both its scope and its reach throughout campus, students from the different colleges are getting more involved and are utilizing the resources of the program for an increasingly diverse set of projects. This technically grounded disciplinary diversity provides the atmosphere for creative collisions that do not typically occur in traditional curricular activities. While the promise and popularity of university innovation spaces is not argued, assessment of the objectives and outcomes of these programs has not been extensively studied. Not only is it difficult to perform assessment on voluntary, sporadic, and organic programs, but the disciplinary diversity also adds to the complexity of this task. This assessment, however, is of paramount importance for innovation spaces like the Sandbox to continue to justify the financial resources required to both build and maintain them. In this paper, we examine self-study methodologies that are commonly used for curricular accreditation in diverse disciplinary fields and apply these to the programming in the Innovation Sandbox. This builds on previous work we have done specifically using this methodology to examine the Sandbox programming and its support of ABET accreditation. Initial results on the contribution of the Innovation Sandbox to curricular objectives for a diverse set of disciplines are reported with an attempt to provide a curricular framework for this decidedly non-curricular program.
Katona, T. M., & York, J. L., & Crockett, R. S. (2016, June), Innovation Sandbox: Examining the Impact of Interdisciplinary Innovation Spaces on Diverse Disciplines Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25704
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