In this chapter, we describe how a bioengineering professor and a theatre professor collaborated to implement a creativity curriculum in a bioengineering capstone design course. Starting in 2015, the team has not only embedded theatre-based creativity instruction in the fall semester class but researched the impact of the pilot training projects. In order to measure impact, the team utilized an instrument that was designed and validated to evaluate engineering design self-efficacy (Carberry AR, Lee H.-S, and Ohland MW, J Eng Educ, 99(1):71–79, 2010). The survey includes 36 items and four factors: confidence, motivation, success and anxiety. Pre-post test results indicated that students who received creativity instruction improved their self-efficacy in engineering design twice as much as the control group. Noted psychologist Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. Freeman, New York, 1997) is relevant to creativity, since experts such as Robinson (Robinson K, Out of our minds: Learning to be creative, (Rev. ed.). Capstone, Chichester, U.K. 2011) point out that many students are conditioned by parents, society, and the school system, to believe they inherently lack creativity. Any approach to creativity education must address this issue and help students rediscover their innate creative potential.
The second pilot (Fall 2016), funded by a campus interdisciplinary research grant, not only replicated the self-efficacy results of the first pilot but added a second evaluation step to determine if the quality of the ultimate capstone project outcomes differed between the experimental and control groups when evaluated by content experts. The second pilot resulted in our team receiving another campus grant for a third pilot and convinced the Bioengineering Department to embed creativity training permanently into their capstone course.
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