Sacred knowledge: how does the graduate student in engineering innovate?
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In the beginning, there were no stories. This very basic statement is the core of all experiential learning. Experiential learning means learning by doing, learning in practice, or on-the-job experience. An experienced person, from master chef to commercial diver, is one with many many stories.Submitted for the degree of doctorate of philosophy at Curtin University, this thesis seeks to provide a definition of innovation in the graduate engineering student case. This task has been accomplished via an intersubjective journey which did commence in a laboratory of Australian electronic engineers and ended in the innovative and fast paced oil and gas industry. The fundamental thesis question which guides the journey is: How does the graduate student in engineering innovate? Two subordinate questions provide signage for the quest: How is knowledge acquisition driven in a graduate engineering laboratory? and What is the nature and purpose of the PhD? The concept of quest or journey is a metanarrative of the storied lives of the researcher and researched. Major milestones include II Context which describes the landscape of the study.It includes a Rationale, a Literature review, Representation & theoretical framework, Method & methodology and Validity Criteria. The II Context section will provide the reader with two sets of criteria by which I suggest the thesis be judged: Academic and Literary. A second milestone is III Analysis where I share supervisor, student and innovation stories to consider five major phenomena: APPRENTICE LEARNING, SOLVING TO SOLVE, CARE AND CONCERN, VOLUNTARY IN ATTENTION, and MANUFACTURE OF KNOWLEDGE. The third milestone on my quest is IV Linkages which considers why the students are undertaking their quests. As oracle, I query the students: What is your most rewarding experience? What is your definition of engineering? and What is the most valuable skill you will take away from your experience? V Findings offers a definition of innovation with supporting discussions. VI Epilogue discusses an intersubjective method and methodology of research which lends new understanding to communities of practice and commercial innovation.
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