A PEDAGOGY OF INTERDISCIPLINARY INNOVATION
Grand Valley State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Is innovation the province of upper class and graduate students or can it be fomented amongst freshmen students. Room was found for this course in a freshmen sequence in the honors college. Social Product Innovation is a sequence of three courses. The first class is about opportunity identification, exploration and empathy. It is taught alone in the first semester of the first year of college. The students in the honors college represent the top 10% academically based on test scores and past performance in secondary school. The second and third courses are each offered in a compressed format of approximated six and one-half weeks each. There is six hours in class and an expectation of 12 hours outside of class. The second course is focused on ideation and concept development with two rounds of customer research to validate the ideas or concepts. The final course is on modeling the product and business canvas development. At the very end of the third course there is a large presentation that recounts the journey and lays out a map for the future.
The three course sequence was designed by three faculty one in history from the honors college, one in engineering from the school of engineering, and one from the college of business. It is now in the hands of the history and business professor and a third professor who is excellent in areas of design, economic development and sustainability.
The program is unusual in the breath of the interdisciplinary of the students. There are students from anthropology, biomedical science, business, communications, computer science, engineering, education, film, geology, liberal studies, natural science, physics, social work, special education, and much more. This is one of the richest pieces of the class as the students contribute different ideas and different ways of thinking. These diverse students who would normally be with other students in their major bond together over shared experiences in class and outside of class. The professors invite them to their homes, and students share in trips to conferences, or outings for fun.
The paper focuses on some of the highlights of the three courses and how they are seen to contribute to the creativity and innovation of the students. How are they guided to explore more and more creatively, how do they begin to select and opportunity that may produce and idea that is socially beneficial and at the same time may lead to an innovation? It will look at the inclusion of daily ideation by the students, searching regularly on line, and using campus and community resources for assignments and field trips.
The ultimate focus is the process and not the output. If students can learn the process they will use it again and again throughout their lives to achieve their goals and to lead others.
Keywords: Innovation, Interdisciplinary, Social, Honors, Freshmen, Pedagogy.