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Mini-course: Creative Engineering in the Classroom

Engineering Process.jpg

Mini-Course Purpose

The title of the mini-course I am designing is Creative Engineering in the Classroom. The purpose of this mini-course is to show the importance of creativity in an engineering classroom, as well as instruct educators on how to create a creative curriculum for their classrooms.

What is covered in this course:

1. Why is creativity important in engineering?

2. Why are schools/colleges lacking in creativity within their engineering curriculums?

3. Different pedagogical techniques that can improve creative engineering in your classroom.

4. Instruction strategies that will improve student engagement in your classroom.

5. Using everything that is learned in this course to design a creative engineering curriculum.

Learning Outcome

This course is intended to educate engineering instructors on strategies to effectively design a creative curriculum. By the end of the course, learners should be able to:

  • Understand why creativity is important within engineering. (Cognitive Knowledge)
  • Be able to instruct your students in a way that fosters creative engineering (Verbal)
  • Evaluate whether or not your curriculum effectively fosters creativity. (Cognitive strategy)
  • Identify ways to encourage creativity in the different engineering practices. (Verbal and Cognitive Skill)
  • Use effective methods and techniques to improve creativity in the classroom. (Attitude)

Needs Assessment

The Problem

There is an increasing expectation for schools and universities to encourage creativity among engineering students. In our technologically advanced society, it is crucial for engineers to acknowledge problems and design solutions for ever advancing problems, whether independently or as a team. To solve these problems, creativeness, innovativeness, and critical thinking are necessary in their thought process. However, even with this need for creative minds, many schools and universities have done little to emphasis and develop creativity among their engineering students. Engineering courses have a tendency to have students only follow directions and standards with little room for developing creative designing and problem-solving. Even though engineering is heavily based with mathematics, the need for creativity is evident. The intent of this course is to give teachers/professors a better understanding of creative engineering and how to effectively implement it into their curriculum.

During my undergraduate education in Mechatronics Engineering, there was a heavy emphasis on regulations and standards. While these are extremely important, once I was actually in the engineering field, I found myself struggling to design creative and innovative solutions. I kept relying on previously known solutions that followed regulations and standards. This prevented me from thinking outside the box. Overtime, I did improve my creative engineering skills, however, I saw the need for creativity improvement in schools and universities. I have asked other engineers about this and many of them had similar experiences. Professors at the University of Manitoba have done extensive research with the lack of creativity in engineering classrooms. They explained how instructing students in a way that fosters creativity will better prepare them for success and help them realize their creative abilities.

What is Expected out of this Course

Learners taking this course will learn about creativity and how to implement it into their classroom. One of the best ways to foster creativity is to have students solve problems, especially real-world problems, as a collaborative group. By having students discuss and ask questions among themselves, they will be able to build upon each other's ideas. This often results in some very unique solutions. I will be breaking down this class into four units. These units are designed to walk instructors through designing a creative engineering curriculum.

Who is this Course Designed for?

This course is designed for engineering teachers and professors wanting to explore how to effectively implement creativity into their classroom. Learners will gain a better understanding on creative problem-solving and why it is important in each engineering field. As well as how to effectively build a creative environment among students. At the end of the course, learners should be able to take what they have learned and apply it to their own classroom.

Learning Environment

This course will be taken fully online. Learners will be required to have access to the internet. All other resources of this course will be provided within the course. Links will be provided to all external articles, files, videos, etc.... There will be a course-long activity segment at the end of each module to help learners review what they learned.

How the Problem and Solution is Approached?

Throughout the course, learners will explore how encouraging creativity improves engineering solutions as compared to when creativity is not emphasis. As well as how creativity is related to problems. The units, reading, and course-long activity are designed to help learners strengthen their knowledge on how creativity should be implemented into the classroom.

Course Goal

As stated above, this course is designed to give learners an understanding on the importance of creativity in engineering. Learners should be confident taking what they learned and using it to help improve their students' creative engineering skills.

Performance Objectives

After completing this mini-course, learners will be able to:

  • Understand the importance and purpose of creative engineering
  • Complete part of the course-long activity about creative engineering at the end of each unit
  • Identify several strategies that can be used to encourage creative engineering in the classroom
  • Give examples of how creative engineering can be encouraged while complying with education and engineering standards
  • Design a curriculum for their own classroom that will help improve students' creative problem-solving skills

Task Analysis

Before taking this course, the learner:

  1. should have basic knowledge on computer usage, file modifying, and Microsoft Word editing (pre-requisite)
  2. should have a background in and have a basic understanding of engineering (pre-requisite)
  3. must be actively seeking to learn more about this education topic (pre-requisite)

Unit 1

Creativity and its Importance in Engineering

After this unit the learner:

  1. will be able to define creative engineering and why it is needed
  2. will gain a better understand of why creative engineering is not often taught
  3. will be able to identify where creativity can be improved in their own classroom
  4. will read articles and watch a video related to creative engineering
  5. will begin working on a course-long activity

Unit 2

Pedagogical Techniques to Design a Creative Engineering Classroom

After this unit the learner:

  1. will understand different pedagogical techniques that can be used to encourage creative engineering
  2. will be able to identify the benefits of collaborations in a creative engineering classroom
  3. will be able to identify which pedagogical techniques would work best with their own students
  4. will read articles focused on creative engineering pedagogical methods
  5. will continue their course-long activity

Unit 3

Incorporating Pedagogical Techniques in an Engaging Design

After this unit the learner:

  1. will understand effective strategies for identifying the best pedagogical technique for their students
  2. will be able to design a engaging curriculum that is best suited for your students
  3. will read an article focused on instructional strategies for student engagement
  4. will continue their course-long activity

Unit 4

Develop and Improve on your Creative Engineering Curriculum

After this unit the learner:

  1. will have a solid understanding on how to develop a creative engineering curriculum from scratch
  2. will be able to draft a plan on how to integrate strategies and pedagogical techniques they have identified in the previous units into their classroom
  3. will learn about different methods to observe, review, and improve their creative engineering curriculum (e.g. ADDIE model)
  4. will read an article covering the ADDIE model
  5. will finish the course-long activity and begin developing your creative engineering curriculum

Curriculum Map

Curriculum Map 12-7-2020.jpg

References and Resources

Ashbrook, P. (2019). An Engineering Design Process Used by the Author and Her Students. [Diagram]. National Science Teaching Association. Retrieved from https://www.nsta.org/blog/rolling-inquiry-engineering-design.

Awang, H., & Ramly, I. (2008). Creative thinking skill approach through problem-based learning: Pedagogy and practice in the engineering classroom. International journal of human and social sciences, 3(1), 18-23.

Blikstein, P., & Krannich, D. (2013, June). The makers' movement and FabLabs in education: experiences, technologies, and research. In Proceedings of the 12th international conference on interaction design and children (pp. 613-616).

Felder, R. M., & Silverman, L. K. (1988). Learning and teaching styles in engineering education. Engineering education, 78(7), 674-681.

Felder, R. M. (1987). On creating creative engineers. Engineering education, 77(4), 222-227.

Harish. (2016). 7 Amazing Insights That Engineers Can Teach us About Creativity. Received from http://launchyourgenius.com/2016/09/06/engineers-creativity/

(2017). The ADDIE Model Infographic. Received from https://elearninginfographics.com/the-addie-model-infographic/.

Katwala, A. (2017). Focus on creativity, not maths and physics,' to open up engineering. Received from https://www.imeche.org/news/news-article/%27focus-on-creativity-not-maths-and-physics-%27-to-open-up-engineering

Kazerounian, K., & Foley, S. (2007). Barriers to creativity in engineering education: A study of instructors and students perceptions.

Kurt, S. (2020). Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Received from https://educationaltechnology.net/problem-based-learning-pbl/.

L., J. (2017). How Technology is Re-engineering the Future Classroom. Received from https://campuspress.yale.edu/tribune/how-technology-is-re-engineering-the-future-classroom/.

Lee, L. (2019). Teaching Students How to Ask Productive Questions. Received from https://www.edutopia.org/article/teaching-students-how-ask-productive-questions.

Liu, Z., & Schonwetter, D. J. (2004). Teaching creativity in engineering. International Journal of Engineering Education, 20(5), 801-808.

Spencer, J. OurSocialVoice. “What Is Problem-Based Learning?” YouTube, YouTube, 12 Nov. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGoJIQYGpYk.

Peterson, C. (2003). Bringing ADDIE to life: Instructional design at its best. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 12(3), 227-241.

Servant, H. (2017). Note Taking Strategies Combined With Storytelling System. Received from https://www.johnnytimes.com/note-taking-strategies-storytelling/.

TED-Ed. "The Power of Creative Constraints" - Brandon Rodriguez. Youtube, 13 Jan. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5FL9VTBZzQ.

What are Strategies?. Received from https://k12engagement.unl.edu/what-are-strategies-0.