This work-in-progress describes preliminary studies on assessing the relationship between changes in perceived and demonstrated creativity between first-year and senior engineering students. Innovation is essential to engineering; creativity is vital for innovation to occur. Previous work by Davis et al. has shown that engineering student’s perception of their creativity increases as they reach graduation, whereas work by Kazerounian and Foley shows that students feel that they lack the element of creativity in the classroom. To our knowledge, no study assesses correlations between perceived and demonstrated creativity with a single body of students.
In this work, we present engineering students at the beginning and end of their university career, first-year and seniors, with open-ended design challenges. Both the first-year and senior students will be equally equipped to answer the design challenges. The students sketch and briefly summarize, in written form, the features of their designs, which will be judged by a group of experts (engineering faculty and professionals) who will score each students creativity. In accordance with prior research done by Christiaans, if a group of experts believe a solution is creative, then the solution is deemed creative. Students will also complete a survey that will capture their perception of their creativity in the solution. Comparing the survey results to the experts’ assessment of creativity provides insight as to whether perception and creative skill are correlated, as well as whether significant differences in either exist between first-year students and seniors. This work could provide the basis for future work into the engineering student psyche as well as research into how the current engineering pedagogy affects students’ perception of their own creativity.
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K. A. Davis and C. T. Amelink, "Exploring differences in perceived innovative thinking skills between first year and upperclassmen engineers," 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Erie, PA, USA, 2016, pp. 1-7.
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