A Problem-Solving Approach to Teaching Creativity
for Engineering and Other Disciplines
Chelsey Bradford, Zachary Balgeman, Fernando Aguilar, Sami Khorbotly, Mark M. Budnk
Creativity is an integral part in the careers of every professional, including artists, actors, as well as businessmen and engineers. Engineers, the focus of this effort, are traditionally considered to be systematic thinkers and implementers of constrained procedures and algorithms. In order to challenge this perception, ECE490DI is a class designed to show engineering students that their majors and future careers will not only use creativity, but be fully immersed in it. Once the students realize this fact, the next step is to help them discover their own creativity skills and show them that creativity, like other talents, can be nurtured and strengthened through repetitive use.
To accomplish these goals, students in ECE490DI take a class trip to renowned theme parks in Orlando, FL, where they attend multiple workshops in the areas of leadership, teamwork, and creativity. The workshops allow students to exercise their leadership, teamwork, and creativity and show them several tools to expand and further improve their abilities in those areas. Students are also given the chance to meet and interact with theme parks’ engineers, also known as “Imagineers,” to see the practical applications of creativity in a hands-on creative work environment.
While the objectives of ECE490DI were successfully met in previous semesters, the class was redesigned to have a broader scope and a multidisciplinary nature. The multidisciplinary version of the class builds on the assessment results of the previous offerings as well as feedback from participating students, faculty members, and theme parks staff members. The new version of the class includes more meetings throughout the semester to further reinforce the ideas and concepts from the workshops.