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Lighting the Fuse for Creative Problem Solving

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Idea Generation and Creativity in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

16

DOI

10.18260/p.25569

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25569

Download Count

84

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Paper Authors

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Matthew D. Lovell Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Matthew Lovell obtained his Masters and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University. During his time at Purdue, Matt worked at Bowen Lab gaining experience in large scale experimentation and field instrumentation of structures. He also has experience working as a consultant for a bridge design firm and as the Site Operations Engineer for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). Since 2011, Matt has served as an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Rose-Hulman. Dr. Lovell engages his students in undergraduate research experiences and focuses on infusing creative design and structured problem solving in undergraduate engineering courses. He is also an active member of the American Society for Engineering Educators, American Concrete Institute, and American Society of Civil Engineers.

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Patricia Brackin P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Patricia Brackin is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where she teaches design throughout the curriculum. She is particularly interested in sustainable design. Her B.S. and M.S. are from the University of Tennessee in Nuclear Engineering and her Ph.D. is from Georgia Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering. Her industrial experience includes Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Chicago Bridge and Iron, and a sabbatical at Eli Lilly. She is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Tennessee.

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Richard A House Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Richard A. House is Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He received a B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. His interests include liberal education for engineers, engineering communication and pedagogy, sustainability, and Shakespeare. He is co-author (with Richard Layton, Jessica Livingston, and Sean Moseley) of The Engineering Communication Manual (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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Steve Chenoweth Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Steve Chenoweth is associate professor of computer science and software engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. There, he has participated in launching bachelors and masters level software engineering programs, and a minor in robotics. His prior experience included teaching and assessing systems at Bell Laboratories, as well as teaching and designing software at NCR Corp. He brought from industry the alternative perspective of how training programs are assessed for effectiveness there.

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Kay C Dee Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Kay C Dee received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering, and M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering. Now a Professor of Biology and Biomedical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, she served as the founding Director of the Rose-Hulman Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education, and is currently the Associate Dean of Learning & Technology.

Dr. Dee has given more than 60 presentations, seminars, or workshops on teaching and learning, and is a founding member of the team that gives Rose-Hulman’s 'Making Academic Change Happen' workshop. She is an author of many peer-reviewed publications in the areas of engineering education, biomaterials, and tissue engineering. Her teaching portfolio includes courses on tissue-biomaterial interactions; fundamental engineering analysis; capstone engineering design; medical device regulatory affairs; science fiction and bioethics; and teaching engineering.

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Abstract

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.

Lovell, M. D., & Brackin, P., & House, R. A., & Chenoweth, S., & Dee, K. C. (2016, June), Lighting the Fuse for Creative Problem Solving Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25569

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