Interesting class: Creativity and Innovations
Oakland University has adapted to students’ needs, expanding intellectual horizons to offer nontraditional courses that stretch beyond core subjects and allow students to explore other areas of interest. OU News Bureau reporter Jenny Jaroneski caught up with Cynthia Sifonis, associate professor of psychology, to learn about a class called Creativity and Innovations (PSY 305).
Describe the class.
It’s different from a lot of other classes or other ways of teaching creativity and innovation. I thought it would be pretty cool to have a creativity class. Not a creative cognition class, not a psychology of creativity class, but a creativity class.
How popular is it?
We started off with the enrollment of 10 people, then up to 20. It’s actually now full every time we offer the class.
How do you teach it?
There’s no textbook for it. Usually, creativity is taught in a business school, the school of education, or in psychology. Business school focuses on innovation, Psychologists focus on personality variables, and cognitive psychologists focus on cognitive variables. I started realizing that all of these things are part of creativity and you can’t have just one without the other, so it is a multidisciplinary course.
Give an example.
The first group project, there is a T-shirt site on the web called threadless Tees where people generate their own T-shirt and the design, and people rank it and vote on it online. You actually create the T-shirt and use the same process. How did being in a group affect your performance? Were you scared of being evaluated? All the things we are talking about in class I apply to the project.
How hard is it?
I treat it as a 300 level class so it is challenging. If you do study and you do the homework you can get a good grade in the class.
What do students gain from it?
They learn how to be more creative and learn tricks and techniques for developing ideas. A lot of them come in creative and learn about resistance that they are likely to face and how to expect it and work around it to persevere. They also learn a little bit about taking risks and tolerating ambiguity and they learn skills like some of the computer skills like second life.
What’s the best lecture?
One of the most popular lectures is the creativity in madness talking about mental disorders and the association of creativity with mental illness. Another one that is pretty popular is on creative rebellion talking about people who rebel against society or the current ways of doing things.
Who takes this class?
Entrepreneurship students, psychology students. I see a lot of bachelor of integrative studies students because they are picking up an entrepreneurship minor. I’m starting to see more people from writing and people with interest in poetry. I actually designed the course so it is open and accessible to any major.
How often is it offered?
It’s every semester.
How long have we offered it?
Since 2008. I’ve taught it four times in three years.
Caitlin Kleist, a senior majoring in psychology, took the Creativity and Innovation class. Here’s what she said:
What do you think of the class?
I absolutely loved the creativity class, and it was the best class I have ever taken at Oakland University. The course is taught in such a unique way and I learned a lot. The class was really interesting, for sometimes we would actually hold class in Second Life and we would also give presentations and do projects in Second Life. We also got to design a T-shirt and had the opportunity to actually get it made.
Why should a student take it?
I recommend this class not only just to psychology majors and those in the entrepreneurship minor, but any student who is interested in design, technology, or even just wants to know more about creativity. Also, Dr. Sifonis is a wonderful teacher. She is understanding and genuinely cares about her students.Tweet
Short URL: http://www.ounewsbureau.com/?p=632