What is TICON about?
In recent years, the HE engineering curricula has evolved from providing purely technical knowledge to providing training in management competences and innovation skills. Such changes are a response to engineering trends demanding increased competencies in visionary problem-solving such as responsible production and sustainability.
Moreover, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics threaten engineering jobs as many traditional labour intensive tasks can now be automated. However, creativity was recently identified as a cornerstone skill of future engineers because it cannot be replaced by technology. Hence, HE engineering teachers must now focus on teaching creativity to engineering students.
At the same time, we witness increased use of technology in the classroom. This development was amplified by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, when HEIs were forced to move learning online due to nationwide shutdowns, resulting in a massive shift towards hybrid and online learning settings. These new ways of teaching are assumed to remain. Thus, the awareness, knowledge, readiness and capacity of HE teachers in using digital learning materials and distance learning techniques in general has increased dramatically.
However, literature on creativity in engineering shows that creativity relies on personal connections with others, and on teaching settings that enable face-to-face experiences. This constitutes a challenge to teaching engineering and related creativity topics online. In addition, systematic approaches to guide engineering teachers in incorporating creativity methods into online teaching settings are still missing. Moreover, student anxiety and discomfort increase in online spaces, thereby inhibiting the willingness to participate in creative tasks that require the presentation of ideas outside of the normal thinking paths.
Together, this creates a serious barrier for providing HE engineering students with the creativity skills needed for their future jobs.
The main objective of TICON is to identify and overcome the barriers in engineering HE for using creativity methods in online teaching, and to upskill the teachers in terms of digital teaching with appropriate pedagogical approaches. Being able to use creativity methods in online teaching brings opportunities for students, and these may be defined as the secondary objectives of TICON. The learning environment will also enables disadvantaged and vulnerable students to join the courses. Furthermore students from different regions and countries may participate and work on projects .
Acquire the knowledge and skills to become proficient in using creativity methods in online teaching for engineering and related creativity topics and techniques.