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K-WIDE: Synthesizing the Entrepreneurial Mindset and Engineering Design

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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

Design in Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.837.1 - 24.837.24



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Paper Authors


Charles Kim Bucknell University

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Charles Kim is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Bucknell University. He received Ph.D. and M.S.E. degrees from the University of Michigan and B.S. from Caltech. Prof. Kim teaches courses in design and innovation and is currently director of the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, Applications, and Systems program at Bucknell.

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Joe Tranquillo Bucknell University

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Joe Tranquillo teaches at Bucknell University, offering courses in signals and systems, neural and cardiac electrophysiology, instrumentation and medical device design. He has published widely on electrical dynamics in the heart and brain, biomedical computing, engineering design and engineering education.

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The  KEEN  Winter  Interdisciplinary  Design  Experience  -­ An  extra-­curricular  experiment  in  immersive  design In  January  2012,  we  offered  the  KEEN  Winter  Interdisciplinary  Design  Experience  (K-­WIDE)to  23  first  and  second  year  engineering  students.  Students  from  5  engineering  disciplines  worked  for130  hours  over  10  days  before  the  spring  semester  for  no  pay  and  no  credit.  The  immersive,  hands-­on,design-­build  experience  strongly  emphasized  systems  thinking,  opportunity  recognition,  problemidentification,  and  teaming.  In  end-­of-­program  evaluations,  students  described  K-­WIDE’s  visceralimpact  particularly  with  regard  to  learning  to  fail  forward.  Alumni  continue  to  tell  stories  from  theirexperience  in  interviews,  presentations  before  alumni,  and  recruitment  of  future  K-­WIDE  participants.Rather  than  describing  the  specific  content  of  K-­WIDE,  the  purpose  of  this  work  is  to  highlight  threepedagogical  techniques  that  were  used:  1)  Experiencing  design,  2)  Immersion  and  3)  Critical  reflection. Students  were  led  through  exercises  that  highlighted  actions  within  the  design  process  but  theprocess  itself  was  never  formally  presented.  Instead  students  considered  their  actions  from  variouslevels,  ranging  from  the  5  foot  technical  view  to  the  50,000  foot  view  of  impact.  Doing  so  helpedstudents  to  focus  on  both  technical  and  non-­technical  issues  including  social  impact,  market  demand,and  sustainability.  Furthermore,  the  5-­50,000  foot  paradigm  drove  students  to  a  greater  awareness  ofwhy  their  products  were  important,  whom  their  products  would  serve,  and  what  their  products  woulddo  without  jumping  first  to  how  their  designs  would  work  or  what  features  they  would  have. As  an  immersive  program,  K-­WIDE  avoided  scheduling  conflicts  with  typical  semesteractivities.  Immersion  in  K-­WIDE  required  complete  engagement  for  success.  We  observed  thatstudents  readily  created  strong  emotional  connections  with  projects,  teammates,  and  content.Participants  felt  a  strong  sense  of  community.  The  immersive  experience  facilitated  tangible  failure,  anew  phenomenon  for  many  participants.  Students  learned  the  value  and  practice  of  failing  forward  as  weencouraged  them  to  assume  a  completely  new  growth  mindset. It  was  important  for  students  to  process  concrete  experiences  through  critical  reflection.    Wedesigned  K-­WIDE  with  specific  scheduled  times  for  written  and  oral  reflection,  in  both  individual  andteam  settings.  In  one  exercise,  we  asked  students  to  map  out  the  design  process  they  had  followed.What  we  received  was  far  from  the  traditional  textbook  version  but  instead  communicated  design  as  anetwork.    Drawings  captured  traditional  design  actions,  but  most  also  included  those  that  are  oftendifficult  to  integrate  into  an  academic/educational  experience  -­  economics,  markets,  ethics,environmental  concerns,  socio-­cultural  impact  and  political/regulatory  concerns.  These  elements  aroseorganically  from  the  experience  in  the  absence  of  a  formal  description  of  the  design  process. This  experiment  was  performed  in  an  extra-­curricular  program  and  only  informal  assessmentwas  gathered.  We  will  offer  the  program  in  January  2014  and  will  conduct  formal  assessment  that  willappear  in  the  final  paper.  The  goal  of  presenting  our  findings,  however,  is  to  stimulate  others  to  try  it  aswell,  perhaps  in  low-­risk  situations  at  first.  Together  we  hope  to  explore  the  pedagogical  techniques  forteaching  design  in  a  more  holistic  and  coherent  way.

Kim, C., & Tranquillo, J. (2014, June), K-WIDE: Synthesizing the Entrepreneurial Mindset and Engineering Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20728

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