August 15, 2014, BY Heather Johns

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Welcome to "Cool Classes," a regular feature that highlights the interesting, intriguing and unexpected in Bucknell University's course catalog.

What class? Impact: Exploring Innovation Across Disciplines

Who teaches it? Professors Seth Orsborn, management, and Steve Shooter, mechanical engineering

"Our class is co-taught by two professors with complimentary but different perspectives. Then, we bring in a ton of guests that help us as a class build our understanding of what innovation really is.

"The class seems to be geared toward engineering and management, but students find themselves in groups with majors from across disciplines. They discover that innovation doesn't belong to just one or two disciplines, but that innovation is all around us. Maybe we don't all call it the same thing, but everyone that is doing something novel and valuable is innovative.

"There are almost no lectures. The class is a bunch of fun interactions, field trips, guests and projects. All of it makes for an intense but rewarding learning atmosphere.

"The semester-long project is focused quite broadly on 'Children at Play.' The interdisciplinary student teams have to come up with an innovation around this theme and create their own constraints and requirements.

"One of the best days is when we teach them about project planning. We give them a list of locations around Lewisburg and Bucknell. Each one is worth a certain amount of points, and they have one hour to go and take pictures of themselves at those locations. The team with the most points wins.

"What they don't realize at first is that the points are based upon proximity to the classroom, and if they take five minutes to locate where things are, they see that there's a pretty easy loop that enables them to get about half the total points in an hour (if they move quickly). Most of the teams take the list and just run out the door, not planning a course of action.

"We push their creativity and critical thinking. All of our students say it's the best class they've had at Bucknell. They love the challenges we provide."

See what else is being offered by the School of Management and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Are we missing out on a cool class? Send suggestions to