Skip to Main Content
Engineering design courses such as the Senior Capstone Design Project Course or the Creative Product Design require students to utilize their creative design talents. Teaching a student how to think "out-of-the-box" or to be creative is made even more difficult (if it is possible at all to teach) when the time comes to evaluate and grade the creates solutions that are offered by the students. A constant refrain from the student to the instructor is "What makes you (the instructor) the expert" or "Why is your (the instructor's) design solution better (i.e more creative and simpler) than mine?". In any creative environment where the art of the solution is as much a part of the solution as the science, the qualification of a creative solution is inherently very subjective and the student's reaction to a poor grade may not be unwarranted and forces the instructor to be creative in the method(s) of teaching and grading the course itself. This paper identifies a protocol for an evaluation of a midterm exam in engineering product design that has been followed by the author with some success; if success can be judged by the battles that have been avoided between the instructor and the engineering design student.