Date of Completion

Spring 5-26-2013

Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter J. Taylor


This project describes the development of an online Creative Thinking course designed specifically for community college students. This interdisciplinary college course will be one component of an entrepreneurial certificate program aimed at business students, but will be open to all students seeking to improve their creative thinking abilities. While developing the course the author engaged in the process described in Cameron’s The Artists Way as a structured reflective practice.

In this writing, selected theories of creativity are described in their connection to course content and approach. The course was informed by traditional western ideas on creativity as well as an eastern holistic view. Western theories of creativity draw from the works of Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, and Sternberg, while Eastern concepts of creativity are addressed through the Taoist notion of ching or quiescence. In addition, the course has been informed by the emerging field of Positive Psychology due to the observed effects of positive attitudes on increasing creativity in individuals and Positive Psychology’s compatibility with eastern viewpoints. Approaches to pedagogy were influenced by the particular needs of community college students. The unique learning needs of community college students include a desire for connection to practical applications, as well as high levels of interaction and personal meaning. The course was also designed to address critical viewpoints on the limiting nature of our educational system on creativity as described by Robinson in Out of Our Minds.

Major assignments and learning activities are described in detail including the Sci-Fi SCAMPER—an adaptation of the well-known SCAMPER activity, and the Problem of Personal Interest Project—a long term project in the domain of the student’s choosing, identifying a problem, and developing and testing a solution. The course outline and syllabus are also provided.

The first decade of the 21st century has presented us with complex problems at both local and global levels. The economic crisis and social changes emerging from the clash of cultures in an increasingly shrinking world has created the requirement for all Americans to work smarter and innovate in order to remain competitive and find new ways to create positive interactions. It is for these reasons that creative thinking has become a crucial tool for everyone in our society.