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Problem Reframing and Empathy Manifestation in the Innovation Process

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Best In DEED

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35084

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35084

Download Count

86

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Paper Authors

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Eunhye Kim Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Eunhye Kim is a Ph.D. student and research assistant in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research interests lie in engineering design education, engineering students’ social processes (shared cognition and group emotion) in interdisciplinary design and innovation projects. She earned a B.S. in Electronics Engineering and an M.B.A. in South Korea and worked as a hardware development engineer and an IT strategic planner in the industry.

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Senay Purzer Purdue University at West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0784-6079

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Ṣenay Purzer is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education.

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Carolina Vivas-Valencia Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Carolina Vivas-Valencia is a Ph.D. student in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette IN. Her research interests lie in simulation modeling and optimization in population health, healthcare data analytics and outcomes research, community-based health operations research, and innovation education in engineering.

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Lindsey B. Payne Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Dr. Lindsey Payne is a Director in the Office of Engagement at Purdue University coordinating service-learning programs and initiatives. She has a courtesy appointment in Environmental and Ecological Engineering where she teaches a service-learning course in which interdisciplinary teams of students collaboratively identify stormwater management problems, co-design solutions, maintain budgets, and evaluate impacts with community partners. Dr. Payne’s research sits at the intersection of sustainability, teaching and learning, and engagement focusing on transdisciplinary decision-making frameworks in community-based design projects. She also specializes in the assessment of instructional effectiveness and student learning in active learning environments. She is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, and is the Chair of the Teaching Academy. She has a B.A in Biological Sciences from DePauw University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Ecological Sciences and Engineering from Purdue University. She has also worked professionally in the non-profit and secondary education sectors, and currently serves on multiple community-based environmental boards.

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Nan Kong Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Nan Kong is an Associate Professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. He received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interest includes big-data health and social well-being data analytics. He is actively in collaborating with international partners to enhance American engineering students' global learning.

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Abstract

In the innovation process, design practice involves multiple iterations of framing and reframing under high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity. Additionally, as user desirability is a significant criterion for innovative design, designers' empathy in the framing and reframing process is considered a critical user-centered design ability that engineering students should develop. In this context, this study aims to discuss how problem framing and empathy manifestation interplay in the innovation process. As an exploratory study, this study investigates biomedical engineering (BME) students’ reframing processes and decisions in a one-semester design project involving problem definition and concept identification. This investigation is guided by the following research questions: 1) how do engineering students perceive the relationship between empathy and reframing in the innovation process, 2) how and how often do they make reframing decisions over the stages of problem definition and concept identification, and 3) how different are reframing processes and decisions between teams with higher and lower empathetic design tendency scores? This study was conducted in a junior-level design course, including 76 BME students. We collected and analyzed three data sources: students’ self-reflection reports about their reframing processes, empathic design tendency score, and interviews with selected teams and instructors. The results demonstrated that more than half of the students perceived the connection between empathy and their reframing decisions and that they usually had one reframing moment in the stages of problem definition and concept identification. Also, the findings illustrate triggers for their reframing moments, information sources guiding their reframing processes, changes made through reframing, and influences of reframing decisions on team project processes. Furthermore, the comparison of the selected two teams revealed two differences in reframing processes between the high and low empathic design tendency-scoring teams. The authors believe that the study expands engineering education research on engineering students’ empathy and problem-framing by illustrating students’ reframing processes throughout a design project and exploring the interplay of empathy and reframing processes. Also, based on our study findings, engineering design educators can promote student empathy development by including more project activities and evaluation criteria related to empathic design and providing formative feedback on their reframing processes.

Kim, E., & Purzer, S., & Vivas-Valencia, C., & Payne, L. B., & Kong, N. (2020, June), Problem Reframing and Empathy Manifestation in the Innovation Process Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35084

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