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Creative problem solving workshops for engineering students

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3 Author(s)
Leon de la Barra, G.E. ; Departamento de Matematica, Univ. Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, Valparaiso, Chile ; Leon de la Barra, M.B. ; Urbina, A.M.

Educational and enterprise managers agree that too many graduate engineers lack teamwork and effective communication skills. The same deficiency can be observed regarding creative problem-solving strategies. In order to help students to overcome these weaknesses we have structured and developed two workshops to formulate and solve problems in a creative manner, at the level of first year engineering courses. In this paper we give a description of the different structure and functionality of both workshops. One of them was incorporated in the regular program of the first year math course. The other one was offered to the best first year students (20) and it was run in the second academic term of the year. In both workshops we aimed at producing a “creative teaching-learning environment” by using cooperative learning techniques and divergent thinking methods. We have also developed a new assessment method to evaluate students' performance based on quality and originality of questions and proposed problems rather than on effectiveness and accuracy of routine answers. Finally, the marks obtained by the students showed that they developed more effective learning and creative problem-solving strategies when compared with similar students working under traditional schemes. A personal interview with each of the students also verified the previous statement

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1997. 27th Annual Conference. Teaching and Learning in an Era of Change. Proceedings.  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

5-8 Nov 1997