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The Thinking Expedition: A Course In Creativity, Innovation And Change

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1041.1 - 6.1041.15



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Kathryn Jablokow

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2630

The Thinking Expedition: A Course in Creativity, Innovation and Change

Kathryn W. Jablokow The Pennsylvania State University


This paper describes a course entitled Creativity, Innovation and Change that is currently taught as part of the Systems and Software Engineering programs at Penn State University’s School for Graduate Professional Studies. The course was designed to support several modules in these programs, including a core skill-based module and a module focused on innovation. This paper will provide an overview of the objectives and the content of this course. Specific delivery techniques will be discussed, along with homework assignments and the semester-long course project. Student outcomes and feedback will be reported as well. While the present audience for this course is composed of working adults, it is highly suitable as an elective in the undergraduate curriculum of any engineering program.

1.0 Introduction

Engineers are trained to solve problems and get results. In today’s world of fast paced innovation and change, those results must often be very different from anything that currently exists. This paper describes a course that focuses on moving beyond the normal ways of thinking and doing, into the world of different thinking for different results. The course centers on the in-depth exploration of the cognitive style of each student and the ways in which that cognitive style affects his or her problem solving ability, both individually and in teams. Using this foundation, students investigate and apply new tools and techniques for problem solving which complement their innate preferences, help them to build new skills, and lead them to creative solutions for complex problems.

The course is structured around the Osborne-Parnes Creative Problem Solving (CPS) model11, Rolf Smith’s Seven Levels of Change10, and several models of cognitive diversity, including M. J. Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation theory3,4,5 and Carl Jung’s personality types7,8,9. A unique expedition metaphor is used to promote discovery, risk taking, and collaboration within the learning environment. This paper highlights and summarizes the most striking features of this challenging course based on four years of implementation in the College of Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.

This paper is divided into ten sections, as follows. Section 2.0 provides a brief background of the course and its development. Sections 3.0 and 4.0 discuss course objectives and an overview of course content (including the syllabus), respectively. Section 5.0 describes some of the delivery techniques used in this course, and Section 6.0 briefly discusses homework assignments. Section

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Jablokow, K. (2001, June), The Thinking Expedition: A Course In Creativity, Innovation And Change Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9902

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: © 2001 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