One of the biggest pieces of the First Year Experience at Bryant is that every freshmen will participate in the IDEA program. The IDEA (Innovation & Design Experience for All) program happens each January, where over 800 students, and hundreds of faculty and alumni help students to take part in this one credit-course. Right now you’re probably asking what the IDEA program is and the answer to that is not a simple one. The IDEA program encourages design thinking through groups. Here, groups are working together to solve a real world problem.
This past week every person attending IDEA had to attend an IDEA orientation session. This was a one hour session where we had the opportunity to learn what the program was, what was expected of us, and got to learn about the problems that we would have an opportunity to solve.
The introduction to the IDEA program was really interesting. Because this course is 72 hours of intense team discussion, the presenters wanted us to rate 40 problems in order of our top 6. Then students will be put into teams of about 25, with separate 5 member teams. Then teams will work together with a staff mentor, an alumni, and a student mentor to solve the problem collaboratively and innovatively.
One of the huge benefits of IDEA is the process you go through to solve your problem. The afternoon the program begins, students are bussed off to different locations around this area, Providence, and Newport. This gives students an inside look at their problem and how it affects people in the real world. Then they return to campus and try to solve their problems creatively.
We were told the final solution cannot be a Powerpoint or Prezi, but rather a model of some sort. This would most likely be three dimensional made with materials provided by the school. I thought this was really interesting that our project was going to be constructed with our hands, not with our fingertips on a screen. I think this is really important because as students we are shaped to present off of a wall behind us, and this project hopefully will remind us and inspire us to be more creative along with the power of collaboration.
I’m really excited to finally be apart of this project! Bryant boasts the IDEA when talking to students as a distinctive aspect of a Bryant education, and I remember hearing about IDEA when I was looking at Bryant, so to finally see this in action is exciting! We’ll find out more in January, when the program actually begins, but for now this is all the information that we’ve been given! Hopefully I’ll write another blog or two when the IDEA program happens!