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Inspiring Innovative Aspirations among Undergraduate Students using Self-Motivated Project-Based Learning

Jong-Hoon Kim Department of Computer Science Kent State University Kent, OH, USA jkim72@kent.edu
Gokarna Sharma Department of Computer Science Kent State University Kent, OH, USA gsharma2@kent.edu

Nagarajan Prabakar School of Computing and Information Sciences Florida International University Miami, FL, USA prabakar@cis.fiu.edu
S.S. Iyengar School of Computing and Information Sciences Florida International University Miami, FL, USA iyengar@cis.fiu.edu

Abstract— Current computer science curricula primarily focuses on formal aspects of computing that are essential for IT professionals and CS researchers, but are weak in developing innovative thinking which is more important for the new generation workforce to cope with soft-power revolution. We believe that students will gain valuable experience through Project-Based Learning (PBL) with their initiative, and this will enable them to achieve success on their projects. The Discovery Lab at Florida International University (FIU) has provided creative activities and research environment for undergraduates with cutting edge technology and active learning. It allowed them to be trained for creativity and innovation as well as with expertise for IT and CS professions. In this paper, we present our approach to foster innovative aptitude among undergraduate students to meet the challenges of emerging technologies. Outcomes of this approach demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed educational methodology.