The effects of the undergraduate curriculum and individual differences on student innovation capabilities

Trina C. Kershaw, Carolyn Conner Seepersad, Katja Hölttä-Otto, Paul T. Williams, Adam P. Young, Sankha Bhowmick, Molly A. McCarthy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Innovation is considered a key to competitiveness of the nation. In order to ensure that graduating students are equipped with innovation skills to meet this challenge, we must ensure that engineering curricula are enhancing students' innovation capabilities. In this paper we investigate if the undergraduate engineering curriculum can have a significant positive effect on students' innovation capabilities. In addition, we investigate if individual difference factors, such as engineering design selfefficacy and self-reported GPA, can be correlated with innovation capabilities. To test this, we assessed students' solutions to specific open ended problems for their level of innovation, or more specifically, originality and technical feasibility. The experiments were replicated at two universities and with a variety of cohorts, including freshman students before and after an introductory engineering course and senior mechanical engineering students before and after a capstone course. We found that that students' innovation capabilities were enhanced by the senior-level capstone course at both universities. Similar positive results can be found for the overall four year curriculum at both schools. While individual differences in academic performance and engineering design self-efficacy did not predict seniors' performance, these individual difference factors did interact to influence originality in the freshmen students. At high levels of GPA, increased selfefficacy led to increased originality, but at low levels of GPA, increased self-efficacy led to lower originality scores. Results are discussed in relation to prior research and suggestions are made to track freshmen students to better train future engineers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 11th International Conference on Design Education; 7th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Volume3
ISBN (Electronic)9780791846346
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference - Buffalo, United States
Duration: 17 Aug 201420 Aug 2014

Conference

ConferenceASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
Abbreviated titleIDETC/CIE
CountryUnited States
CityBuffalo
Period17/08/201420/08/2014

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