Affinity Diagramming

Here are the key ideas from each of the seven sessions of the 2011 MDW, according to each respective session moderator.

S1: Characterizing Innovation
(1) Students grasp the importance of descriptive but not predictive components of modeling.
(2) Defining what innovation means is major step in the process of teaching it. Once we can concretely define the term, we can measure different levels of it and work to improve.
(3) Designers use a variety of reflective practices, many of which can be classified as “out-of-action reflection.” These do not even appear on our radar, in textbooks, etc, and yet they form a huge percentage of the many reflective practices that lead to new ideas and insights.
(4) Trying to step back to a more objective perspective, using metacognition, can be a useful critical thinking tool.

S2: Students Seeing Innovation
(5) Encouraging results from an all-female first year engineering course show that the course helps boost initial technical confidence for females in their college careers.
(6) Design teams with a balance of learning styles typically are better able to assess their own progress in the course.
(7) Different aspects of personality types can correlate to aptitude in different aspects of engineering design projects.
(8) Having a personal connection between student and project instructor facilitates a more productive engineering design process.

S3: Improving Innovation Learning (I)
(9) Faculty knowledge and culture matter.
(10) Apparent either/or conflicts are often resolved by realizing one can choose both.
(11) However, we do need to map the various alternatives to help the students choose.
(12) Belief that “I/we can do it” is critical to innovation.

S4: Improving Innovation Learning (II)
(13) There is a distinction between teaching necessary design skills and teaching design processes.
(14) Peer learning is a very powerful tool in developing strategies to foster innovation.
(15) It is important to recognize that it is difficult to ask students to truly innovate when all we do is surround them with structure.
(16) Learning teamwork and critical thinking must be an emphasized component of a progression of courses rather than one single course.

S5: Views from on Top
(17) While North American engineering education includes an explicit focus on ethics, European and Asian universities generally consider this to be part of a more general personal, legal or social aspect (perhaps related to notions of citizenship). This has implications for how international design activities are conducted.
(18) Helping students to understand the social culture and environmental significance is an integral part of teaching problem-solving skills.
(19) Notwithstanding the many collaborative environments in which engineers practice the profession (e.g., outsourcing in virtual companies, collaboration without teaming, fully formed functional teams), there is a consensus that teaching engineering students to work in teams is a valuable undertaking.
(20) There has been a noticeable trend in the growth and success of team-based engineering rather than individual, isolated work, in large part due to the increased complexity of problems addressed by engineers.

S6: Entrepreneurship
(21) Teaching students to become better entrepreneurs can help them become better engineers because it adds emphasis to traits such as creativity and persistence.
(22) Students can learn from both successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurship. Although, the lessons learned are typically valuable on case by case basis.
(23) Regardless of the progress made here, we need to recognize that we still must help our fellow faculty see the importance of teaching design-based engineering.
(24) There is a lot of crossover between the values taught for entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. The difference often depends on the work environment rather than skill set.

S7: Curriculum Matters
(25) There is a need to understand industry practice and needs better as we innovate new approaches and curricula in design education.
(26) Need to better understand the relationships and methods to integrate design and analysis.
(27) How many experiences are enough? Throughout many courses, not just design courses?

Below are the results of the affinity diagramming exercise. The MDW participants were split up into seven different groups and each group was given physical copies of each of the key ideas. They were then asked to collaborate amongst themselves and organize the ideas into pertinent categories. Those categories are shown below for each group, along with the identification number of the different key ideas that belong to each category.

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Group 1

Interpersonal Relations: 7, 8
Choices and/or Tradeoffs: 10, 11, 27
Modeling Integration: 1, 26
Teamwork: 6, 16, 19, 20
Background Matters and Contribution: 5, 12, 17, 18, 21
Understanding Definitions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: 2, 24, 25
Methods: 3, 4, 14, 22
Faculty Relationships and Philosophy: 9, 13, 15, 23

Group 2

Culture of Engineering Education: 2, 9, 23
Nature of Engineering: 1, 20, 26
Diversity Issues: 5, 17
Curriculum Structure: 11, 15, 16, 27
Who teaches? How do we teach?: 8, 14
What we teach?: 3, 4, 10, 12, 13, 18
Project Teams:  6, 7, 19
Intrapreneurship/Entrepreneurship: 21, 22, 24, 25

Group 3

Design Process and Methods: 1, 3, 4, 11, 13, 22, 25, 26
Faculty/Student Connections: 8, 9, 15, 23
Confidence and Attitudes: 5, 7, 10, 12, 27
Teams: 6, 14, 16, 19, 20
Context: 2, 17, 18, 21, 24

Group 4

Faculty Impact on Teaching: 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 23
Teaching Design: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 25, 26, 27
Teams: 5, 6, 12, 16, 19, 20
Entrepreneurship: 21, 22, 24

Group 5

Teacher/Student Relationship: 8, 9, 10, 11, 23
Teacher’s Tool Box: 3, 12, 17, 18, 21
Group Process: 5, 6, 7, 14, 16, 19, 20
Student Cognition: 1, 4, 13, 26, 27
Sources of Innovation: 2, 15, 22, 24, 25

Group 6

Maintaining Quality & Knowledge and Culture Matter: 1, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18, 23, 25
Entrepreneurship: 21, 22, 24
Teamwork: 5, 6, 7, 14, 16, 19, 20, 27
Efficacy, Confidence, and Innovation: 2, 12, 15
Design Process and Analysis: 3, 4, 10, 11, 26

Group 7

What do we teach?: 10, 11, 13
Teamwork and Collaboration: 6, 16, 19, 20
Analysis: 1, 26
Society and Ethics: 17, 18
Reflection and Metacognition: 3, 4
Attitudes and Personality: 5, 7, 12, 24

How do we teach?
Definition of success: 2, 27
Who is teaching?: 8, 14
Industry and Entrepreneurship: 21, 22, 25
Academic Context: 9, 15, 23

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