TCU Offers Innovation Design Course and Students Exercise Their Creativeness


Text: Siou-Ling Mao, Wei-Sheng Wun
Photo: Wei-Sheng Wun
Translation: J.B. Willis, Steve J. Lin

“At the beginning of this class, I was scary about source code, but with help from my group members and teachers, I overcame my barriers and completed the Smart Mirror Project. This project gave me a high sense of achievement.” The Innovation Design class was provided by the Center for General Education. A life sciences student, Ting-Lin Cai, shared his experiences in the last session of the class, saying it required everyone to walk out of their comfort zones and create something new, which he did well. On this day, students’ presentations focused on two topics, namely making smart mirrors and carrying out space renovations. Students did their best to apply what they had learned to their projects.

Regarding making smart mirrors, each group started with studying their users’ needs and then creating mirrors to meet those needs. One group put smart mirrors in various places of the Sports Center; some placed mirrors in the open area to tell how many people were in the Center; others put mirrors inside the diving pool to show a diver’s status; other students placed mirrors in the nearby rock climbing site to show climbers ways to reach the top. Another group put smart mirrors in University housing to keep students posted regarding what was ongoing and the results of roll calls.

As for carrying out space renovations, students exercised their creativeness and problem-solving skills for their projects. One group presented ideas to renovate female housing. They applied what they learned during their leisure time and employed three-dimensional images to portray the appearance, before and after renovation. Female students living in school housing felt the space inside each housing unit is too small; furthermore, each unit lacked sufficient natural lighting. Thus, they created more space by replacing single beds with bunk beds. They also substituted the current windows, which have many bars, with floor to ceiling windows that had fewer bars. As a result, more natural light pours in. Another group worked on the Sports Center. Humidity is high inside the Center and natural light is too little. Therefore, the students came up with the idea of installing translucent glass on the top floor. What’s more, they designed a rock climbing facility and a room for storing climbing equipment.

To train students to become professionals with design thinking theory, cross-disciplinary teamwork, industry resources integration, and real-world problem solving skills, TCU actively promotes the Innovation Design Course to students. We invited Professor Kuei-Yuan Chan, Deputy Executive Director of National Taiwan University’s School of Innovation and Design, to be the program adviser and work with OMGA ZONE of Hualien’s Industrial Technology Research Institute to design practical projects for students. Our faculty members also worked together to enhance students’ creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The long-term goal of this project is to cultivate an innovative and entrepreneurial team. TCU plans to offer more micro-courses with the goals of developing students’ creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in mind, and also provide courses for increasing students’ cross-disciplinary skills.