New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
Since 1972 our department at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, Germany offers social science courses which are compulsory for all students in engineering and computer science. Since about fifteen years the focus has shifted towards topics of sustainable development.
Classroom discussions about the pros and cons of future technological developments often reach a point where engineering students come up with two questions: “Why do others think in a different way than I do?” “Why can’t they see that our new technical solution is brilliant?” To overcome this limited view I combined some of the weekly classroom meetings and implemented a full day session to provide the opportunity to engage in processes of negotiations about technical solutions or planned technological projects. One example is a project of a pumped storage hydro power station planned by an energy provider in a rural area with a barrier lake which had been built 50 years ago. It is a scenario made for intense political discussions. Taking the roles of representatives of various interest groups the students have to develop lines of arguments, posters and short statements to justify and explain the contradictory positions. In two rounds they have to stand for their position in a panel discussion whereas the remaining students are representing the general public in a social setting of town hall.
General feedback reveals  a very high level of interest of the students, a high rate of active participation and engagement in the discussions, and  the results of the final exam (usually a 20.000 character essay) show a good learning success.
Steffensen, B. (2016, June), Taking the Role of Others to Increase the Success Rates of Innovations Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26008
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015