New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Design in Engineering Education
Engineering programs have the unfortunate reputation of stifling the creativity of their students. While the validity of this belief certainly varies greatly depending on many factors, the reality is that the engineering education community can do better. The rigor and pace of the traditional curriculum, the myriad of extra and co-curricular activities associated with campus life, and the pursuit of the all-powerful “A”, while important, fight against the joy of deep learning and the space for creative thought and exploration. It is vital to equip and permit students to cultivate their creative problem solving abilities; and let’s face it, the world needs better creative problem solvers with a technical education. Unfortunately, engineering faculty face similar struggles when it comes to space and intentionality for creativity. Moreover, engineering educators as a whole are even less skilled at teaching creativity; some might even say that creativity simply can’t be taught. But still, the world needs better creative problem solvers with a technical education.
This paper details a series of creative problem solving interventions at [INSTITUTE] implementing a creative problem solving tool with documented industry success. By having participants make personal connections with social and market trends, the tool, Idea Keg, has the primary goal of getting participants to simply ask better questions. It naturally follows that better solutions to a given problem can be found if starting from better questions. The Idea Keg tool was implemented for both teams of faculty and teams of students in several different applications including faculty course development, department retreats, senior design projects, student composition projects, and more. This paper summarizes the Idea Keg process, the different implementations of Idea Keg at [INSTITUTE], feedback from both faculty and student participants, and reflections from Idea Keg facilitators. Additionally, this paper provides the results of study in which two separate groups of similar demographics, one utilizing the Idea Keg tool and the other doing a traditional brainstorm, were tasked with developing a creative solution to a posed problem.
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