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An exercise in inducing creativity in undergraduate engineering students through challenging examinations and open-ended design problems

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1 Author(s)
Ghosh, S. ; Div. of Eng., Brown Univ., Providence, RI, USA

An ongoing exercise within the division of engineering at Brown University that spans from 1989 to 1991 to foster creativity and to encourage engineering students to seek out and solve problems at the boundaries of the engineering disciplines is discussed. The examination questions, reasons the nature of the questions, and reports the students' performance and perceptions are described. This study is limited to six semester-courses taught by the author: freshmen computing, senior-level course in digital systems design, and senior-level course in computer systems organization. Observations indicate that while 1.5-5% of the students demonstrate outstanding creative ability, a solid 45% of the class demonstrate innovative thinking processes that may be rated between good to very good. The lower 40% of the class demonstrates neither capability nor interest in the problems and they usually perceive them as too difficult, unfair, and unrelated. The top 40-50% of the class, based on informal interviews, describe the examinations as very comprehensive, challenging, thought provoking, and difficult but fair

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Feb 1993

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