CREATIVITY AND ENGINEERING EDUCATION: A SURVEY OF APPROACHES AND CURRENT STATE
ETSII-Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Creativity is essential for all engineering activities, since finding solutions for complex technical problems to ideate design concepts for industrial products is as well of much importance for innovation. Being therefore creativity an important competence for engineers it should be taken into account in educational programs, which however were since decades mostly focused in analytical subjects, in the same way as in science faculties, with a poor inclusion of creative themes.
To address this, researchers studied how to enhance creativity in engineering education from different approaches. Despite of that, and according to literature reports, creativity in engineering education is still scarce today. This can be due to the difficulties found in applying these approaches or even that creativity is not valued for the engineering educational environment.
In this paper we will show a study intended to review the current state of creativity in engineering education. This study consists on a survey of abovementioned approaches for enhancing creativity in engineering, followed by a questionnaire for engineering students and professors asking them their thoughts and experiences about teaching and learning creativity. Our analysis of results of this review showed us two main strategies: one is including creativity courses and second pursues enhancing creativity in classes by practice. Pros and cons of each one shall be discussed. Results of questionnaire showed that creativity is well valued by both professors and students and also confirmed that it is not included in engineering education as required. Responses from questionnaire as well as a sample curricula survey identified some creative subjects included in educational programs, which shows a trend. In the other hand, efforts in teaching by professors according to creative approaches (PBL, open problems) confirm their interest on enhancing creativity. Visual Literacy, although it is of much importance for engineers as it allows spatial reasoning, such as visual thinking and therefore benefits problem solving.
Keywords: Creativity, Engineering Education, Visual Literacy.