Impacts of Course Culture on Student Creativity Development in Engineering Course Projects

Haifeng Wang, Shirley Campbell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This full paper is unique and fits the innovative practice strategy category because it explores effective strategies for promoting creativity among engineering students in course projects in a teaching and learning culture where professors are supportive, caring, and connected to their students. Establishing a supportive and caring relationship between professors and students, where students are comfortable making mistakes and seeking assistance, can further enhance students' sense of ownership and motivation in completing their projects, leading to better engagement and learning outcomes. At the same time, critical thinking skills and academic rigor are requirements in engineering courses and must be addressed in all projects. The paper also emphasizes the importance of self-learning experiences, which can help students stay current with emerging technologies and develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes for success in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. Establishing a supportive and caring relationship between professors and students has been shown to improve the teaching quality of professors, creating a cycle of positive change. Professors who care about student success frequently reflect on their teaching and seek new methods and strategies to increase student success. Environmental factors, as well as personal attributes, have been shown to enable creative teaching practices. Innovative teaching occurs when a professor incorporates strategies and processes that encourage cognition. Professors who display self-efficacy, are experienced, and reflect on their teaching are seen as creative. They create supportive environments designed to encourage, nurture, and value creativity. They seek out teaching strategies that support these goals. This paper explores the use of specific strategies identified to support creativity, including open-ended questions, facilitating brainstorming, fostering collaboration, incorporating real-world problems, encouraging experimentation, and helping with hands-on learning. Educators can use these strategies to create an environment that encourages students to think outside of the box, experiment with new ideas, and collaborate. Students in this program report experiencing an encouraging environment providing a comfortable atmosphere for risk taking, and increased motivation to learn based on firsthand knowledge of work environments. Best practices from various course projects and senior project design courses at a medium-sized higher education institution are showcased. Hopefully, this experience will offer valuable insights, particularly to new faculty members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2023 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2023 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9798350336429
StatePublished - 2023
Event53rd IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education International Conference, FIE 2023 - College Station, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2023Oct 21 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference53rd IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education International Conference, FIE 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCollege Station

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this