AN INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT DEFINITIONS AND VALUE OF CREATIVITY IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION

David R. Waller, David Strong

Abstract


There appears to be an existing disconnect between engineering education and creativity that is partly caused by a lack of understanding of creativity’s
role in engineering as well as the lack of value placed on creativity in the academic environment. This paper used mixed methods research to investigate this disconnect through the perceptions of undergraduate engineering students. A survey was used to gather definitions of engineering creativity and to measure the value students place on creativity in engineering.
Results indicated that students have a wide variety of definitions and understanding of engineering creativity. It was found that students generally valued creativity in an engineering context, but Year 4+ students had statistically significant less value for creativity than all other years of
study. The findings support the need for a well-developed and universally accepted definition of engineering creativity. Causation for the difference in value Year 4+ students place on engineering creativity should be further
investigated.

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