Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Design in Engineering Education
Engineering educators have increasingly sought strategies for integrating the arts into their curricula. The primary objective of this integration varies, but one common objective is to improve students’ creative thinking skills. In this paper, we sought to quantify changes in student creativity that resulted from participation in a mechanical engineering course targeted at integrating engineering, technology, and the arts. The course was team taught by instructors from mechanical engineering and art. The art instructor introduced origami principles and techniques as a means for students to optimize engineering structures. Through a course project, engineering student teams interacted with art students to perform structural analysis on an origami-based art installation, which was the capstone project of the art instructor’s undergraduate origami course. Three engineering student teams extended this course project to collaborate with the art students in the final design and physical installation.
To evaluate changes in student creativity, we used two instruments: a revised version of the Reisman Diagnostic Creativity Assessment (RDCA) and the Innovative Behavior Scales. Initially, the survey contained 12 constructs, but three were removed due to poor internal consistency reliability: Extrinsic Motivation; Intrinsic Motivation; and Tolerance of Ambiguity. The nine remaining constructs used for comparison herein included:
• Originality: Confidence in developing original, innovative ideas • Ideation: Confidence in generating many ideas • Risk Taking: Adventurous; Brave • Openness of Process: Engaging various potentialities and resisting closure • Iterative Processing: Willingness to iterate on one’s solution • Questioning: Tendency to ask lots of questions • Experimenting/exploring: Tendency to physically or mentally take things apart • Idea networking: Tendency to engage with diverse others in communicative acts • Observing: Tendency to observe the surrounding world
By conducting a series of paired t-tests to ascertain if pre and post-course responses were significantly different on the above constructs, we found five significant changes. In order of significance, these included Idea Networking; Questioning; Observing; Originality; and Ideation. To help explain these findings, and to identify how this course may be improved in subsequent offerings, the discussion includes the triangulation of these findings in light of teaching observations, responses from a mid-semester student focus group session, and informal faculty reflections. We close with questions that we and others ought to address as we strive to integrate engineering, technology, and the arts. We hope that these findings and discussion will guide other scholars and instructors as they explore the impact of art on engineering design learning, and as they seek to evaluate student creativity resulting from courses with similar aims.
Hess, J. L., & Sathyanarayanan Rao, A., & Fore, G., & Wu, J., & Tovar, A., & Anwar, S. (2018, June), Quantifying Changes in Creativity: Findings from an Engineering Course on the Design of Complex and Origami Structures Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30910
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