Open-ended problem solving via punctuated dialogue

Anthony M. Starfield, Karl A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Concern over developing students' engineering-design skills prompted the authors to start teaching a foundation of problem formulation-and-modeling skills prior to the senior capstone design project. A description is given of an approach in use that involves the use of expanded problem statements in two classes (applications of operations research for civil and mineral engineering juniors, and formulation, modeling, and analysis for engineering problems for engineering and science freshmen). First the problem statement is handed out and then, as the students progress through the problem, additional written material is provided by the instructors. Students are required to ask questions, make assumptions, build models, and propose solutions at regular intervals. Upon review, and sometimes revision of their responses, the instructor provides additional information. The process is punctuated by students reporting and instructors commenting on and discussing their progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference
StatePublished - Oct 1 1988
EventProceedings - 1988 Frontiers in Education Conference: Tools for Today - Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Duration: Oct 22 1988Oct 25 1988


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