Creative Chemical Engineers
I have the unique distinction of teaching almost all of our students in both their first chemical engineering course (Material and Energy Balances) and their last chemical engineering course (Senior Design II). As such, I enjoy offering them an opportunity to reflect on their experience (and gain a small bit of extra credit) by producing some creative expression of their experience in each course:
You may earn up to 10 points of extra credit on your final homework assignment by submitting a creative expression of your experience in this class. This might include a poem, video, craft, song, puzzle, artwork-the sky’s the limit! The only constraints are that your work must be original and your submission must be in good taste (something that could be shared with the rest of the class). You may work in groups if your idea requires multiple people to execute or is too big for one person to complete individually (but group projects will have a higher bar for grading).
I spend the last day of class allowing students to share their contributions, which are generally received with lots of laughter and cheering. It’s a great way to end the semester.
This assignment serves several purposes. First, it encourages students to reflect on their experience in the course and to attempt to express that experience in a tangible way. Hearing other sophomore students bemoan the difficulty of the class or the fear with which they approached it helps incoming students understand that they are not alone in their apprehension. The collective laughter when seniors spoof the faculty in a skit reminds them that they now share a common reservoir of collective memories and inside jokes. Second, it provides an outlet for those students with a creative bent to express their individuality, hopefully dispelling the stereotype that engineers aren’t creative. (Felder offers excellent ideas for integrating creativity exercises in courses throughout the curriculum). Finally, sharing the extra credit submissions on the last day of class ends the semester on a positive and often humorous note and serves to create an indelible memory for both the students and the instructor.
This is the Story of a Boy / This is the Story of a Man
I’m in Thermo (video)