Effectiveness of problem-solving and teamwork skills for cultivating technological creativity within a team-based design course

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Abstract

Recently many studies in the United States that have presented functional groups, decision-making, and teaming skills as important pedagogical tools for engineering faculty to integrate into their curriculum. However, the examination-oriented education in Taiwan has tended to turn assessment into a tool that increases competition instead of cooperation. In this situation, schools and teachers pay closer attention to learning and memorizing knowledge instead of training students' skills, attitudes and other non-cognitive attributes. Over the past six years, the department of Mechanical Engineering at National Central University in Taiwan has implemented a comprehensive transformation of its undergraduate programs. The strategies pursued to accomplish this transformation included comprehensive curricular reform, and the integration of industrial environment in the undergraduate education process. This major reform led to two questions: (1) Did participants exchange information about their implementation by email or in other ways? (2) What teamwork skills did they learn? This paper provides quantitative and qualitative evidence that examines the group learning process of an open-ended creative mechanical design course for technological creativity cultivation. Surveys and semi-structured interviews were collected and analyzed to evaluate the curriculum, and to understand students' learning difficulties to determine directions of improvement. Overall, the top three abilities students gained were: (1) Efficient use of time to reach consensus; (2) Growth of problem-solving ability; and (3) Development of teamwork strategies. Finally, lessons learned from this study are presented to help develop a cooperative classroom atmosphere and to improve the effectiveness of this course in following years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4411-4421
Number of pages11
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2004
EventASEE 2004 Annual Conference and Exposition, "Engineering Researchs New Heights" - Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Duration: 20 Jun 200423 Jun 2004

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