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Proceedings of ASEE 2008. AC 2008-1195 In-Class Creativity Exercises for Engineering Students Jonathan Weaver (University of Detriot Mercy) ‏ Karim Muci-K üchler (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology) ‏. Introduction. Need to “revitalize” engineering education

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proceedings of asee 2008
Proceedings of ASEE 2008
  • AC 2008-1195 In-Class Creativity Exercises for Engineering Students
    • Jonathan Weaver (University of Detriot Mercy)‏
    • Karim Muci-Küchler (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology)‏
  • Need to “revitalize” engineering education
  • Ability to innovate is key to remaining competitive
  • Emphasis on entrepreneurship and product development
  • 3 exercises conducted to measure and study creativity of engineering students (sophomore to graduate level)‏
spelling exercise
Spelling Exercise
  • Subject 1 is given un-marked wooden blocks and asked to spell 'lit'
  • Subject 2 is given alphabet blocks (with T removed) and asked to spell 'lit'
  • Subject 3 is given alphabet blocks (with T removed) and asked to spell other words such as dog and ear and then spell 'lit'
  • All subjects are timed
spelling exercise1
Spelling Exercise
  • Times for subject 1 were the fastest, and subject 3 was the slowest
  • Theorized that even though the alphabet blocks have more 'information' on them they lead the subject towards an invalid solution.
  • Spelling of other words first where it was possible without the T also locks the subject into a frame of thinking
parts handling operation
Parts Handling Operation
  • A key-ring with several keys is placed on a stool
  • Subjects are asked to stay behind a marked line on the ground
  • Subject 1 is given a broom with a screw-off handle and asked to retrieve the keys (keys cannot touch the ground)‏
  • Subject 2 is given the broom and an assortment of random things (specified to be as useless as possible).
parts handling operation1
Parts Handling Operation
  • Subject 1 tends to focus more on the stool and keys
  • Subject 2 tends to focus on the assortment of junk
  • Theory is that even though subject 2 has more freedom, that freedom actually distracts him/her
  • Breadth first vs. depth first approach
bisociation exercise
Bisociation Exercise
  • Bisociation is another name for the Juxtaposition exercise
  • Group is given 3 minutes to brainstorm ideas for new earrings. Ideas are tallied for each individual student
  • A short presentation on bisociation follows. (Auction + web = Ebay, horse carriage + steam engine = locomotive, etc)‏
  • Given another 3 minutes to come up with ideas for earrings + north pole
bisociation exercise1
Bisociation Exercise
  • Number of ideas generated in each session did not differ substantially
  • Almost all ideas from the second session were new ideas (ie the student did not recycle it from the first session)‏
outside thoughts
Outside thoughts
  • Analogies can be drawn to current engineering education where students are taught engineering science and theory and come to expect solutions to lie in certain directions
  • A wider knowledge base helps in the Bisociation exercise
  • Authors predict getting similar results if the study were to be done with freshmen or k-12, but I don't know...
outside thoughts1
Outside Thoughts
  • Exercises very reminiscent of MESA challenges
    • IDC On site design
    • Walk on water (guy on skies)‏
  • Applies to more than just engineering students however engineers are on traditionally very rigid tracks.