Examining Creativity with IT in Engineering Design (X-CITED)

Aditya Johri ajohri@vt.edu(Principal Investigator)
Vinod Lohani (Co-Principal Investigator)
Deborah Tatar (Co-Principal Investigator)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
1880 Pratt Drive
BLACKSBURG, VA 24060 540/231-5281


This project examines creativity in a series of activities involving the use of IT in a freshmen engineering course sequence spread across two semesters. The technology we will focus on primarily is pen-based direct input computers or Tablet PCs. The fundamental idea behind this study is to understand how students engage in creativity within the constraints of engineering design activities (EDA). EDAs are bound by design guidelines and limitations of space, time, material resources, and use of specific technologies, forcing students to be inventive and creative in accomplishing their goals, whether with artifacts or with people. The study will consider how students ?make do? and what role does technology play, and how creative practices develop over time. The project uses a longitudinal study comprising of an ethnographic field study component and laboratory based studies of interaction, spread over 18 months. Rather than relying solely on pre-designed instruments that measure creativity, the project assesses creativity contextually to try and understand the full spectrum of creative practices. In addition to serving as data, the video records collected during the study will also serve as the basis for building a digital video case library to teach creativity to undergraduate and graduate students.