Evaluation of creative problem solving abilities in undergraduate structural engineers through interdisciplinary problem based learning

Daniel Patrick McCrum

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    432 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    For a structural engineer, effective communication and interaction with architects cannot be underestimated as a key skill to success throughout their professional career. Structural engineers and architects have to share a common language and understanding of each other in order to achieve the most desirable architectural and structural designs. This interaction and engagement develops during their professional career but needs to be nurtured during their undergraduate studies. The objective of this paper is to present the strategies employed to engage higher order thinking in structural engineering students in order to help them solve complex problem-based learning (PBL) design scenarios presented by architecture students. The strategies employed were applied in the experimental setting of an undergraduate module in structural engineering at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK. The strategies employed were active learning to engage with content knowledge, the use of physical conceptual structural models to reinforce key concepts and finally, reinforcing the need for hand sketching of ideas to promote higher order problem-solving. The strategies employed were evaluated through student survey, student feedback and module facilitator (this author) reflection. The strategies were qualitatively perceived by the tutor and quantitatively evaluated by students in a cross-sectional study to help interaction with the architecture students, aid interdisciplinary learning and help students creatively solve problems (through higher order thinking). The students clearly enjoyed this module and in particular interacting with structural engineering tutors and students from another discipline
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages17
    JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
    Early online date28 Jul 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusEarly online date - 28 Jul 2016

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