INTERDISCIPLINARY PROBLEM SOLVING

A CASE STUDY EXAMINING SKILL DEVELOPMENT IN AN UNDERGRADUATE INVENTION ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
Author:
Louise R Manfredi, PhD
Company/School:
Syracuse University

 

The Invent@SU invention accelerator teaches collaborative problem solving and necessary communication skills to students from multiple majors during an intensive six-week summer program. This iteration of the program blends both engineering and industrial design methodologies to enable students to define a problem, develop a novel solution, and pitch the journey to a panel of non-expert judges. The educational goal of the program is to enable students to exchange skills with their peers from other disciplines, learn about the complexities of inventing, and further develop key soft skills that enable success through their educational and professional pursuits beyond the program. Data collected through skills self-assessments and focus group studies  begins to elucidate links between the structure of the program to perceived gains in visual and verbal communication ability. Limitations of the study and plans for future development are discussed which focus on not only the relationship between undergraduate design students and engineers, but also with other disciplines across campus.

 

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