EPSY 5750: Creativity

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” – George Bernard Shaw

1) Course Title and Number: EPSY 5750: Creativity

2) Instructor: Del Siegle, PhD
    Class Location: Gentry 119E
    Office Phone: 860.486.0616
    Home Phone: 860.456.2361
    Email: del.siegle@uconn.edu
    Web:  http://www.delsiegle.info
    Office Location: 249 Glenbrook Road (Gentry Bldg – Room 119C)
    Office Hours:
    Mon., Wed – Fri.: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.;
    Tues: 9:30 – 3 p.m.
    (You may wish to call before visiting the office, since I am department head and serve on a number of committees that often schedule meetings during my office hours).

3) Course Description
The major purpose of this introductory course is to study the theoretical and practical aspects of creativity, namely, what is creativity, and how do we develop it in ourselves and students? The course is an introductory overview of major definitions, theories, and research related to the study of creativity and the creative individual. Class members will practice techniques for stimulating creative thinking as well as strategies for adapting existing curricula to develop creative thinking abilities in students. Topics also include the assessment of creative thinking, methods for enhancing personal creative abilities, and techniques for examining the creative process.

4) Goals and Objectives
As a result of participation in this course, students should:

  • Describe the major theories and models of creativity that attempt to describe creative people, creative processes, and creative products.
  • Describe factors that influence the development, assessment, and evaluation of creative potential in individuals.
  • Apply techniques for stimulating creative thinking abilities in students, including brainstorming, attribute listing, metaphorical thinking, SCAMPER, and Creative Problem Solving.
  • Discuss class activities, practices, and organizational strategies that support the development of creativity.
  • Analyze programs, such as Future Problem Solving and Odyssey of the Mind, as well as curricular materials designed for the development of creative thinking abilities.
  • Increase personal creative abilities.

This course is aligned with the University of Connecticut Educator Preparation Program’s Conceptual Framework. Specifically, content and objectives address:

  1. Learning by providing strategies that enhance creative teaching and develop students’ creative thinking and problem solving.
  2. Leading by enabling students to develop expertise in promoting creativity in a variety of teaching and learning environments.
  3. Lighting the way by incorporating the knowledge they gain from this course to become a creative educator who appreciates and develops students’ creativity through classroom learning activities.

5) Class Meetings and Topics

January 22

  • Video: Why Man Creates
  • What is Creativity?
  • Productive Thinking:  Fluency/Flexibility/Originality/Elaboration
  • Creativity Strategy: Transformations
  • Games Magazine: Sketchwords

January 29

  • Creative Product Assessment
  • Creativity Strategy: SCAMPER
  • Games Magazine: ConQuest
  • Assignment Due: Can Transformation

February 5

  • Barriers to Creativity
  • Creativity Strategy: Metaphorical Thinking (Cartoon Class Activity)
  • Games Magazine: Now We’re Cookin’
  • Assignment Due: Topic Sketchwords 
  • Video: The Many Faces of Vincent VanGogh

February 12

  • Video on Creator of “It”
  • Creative People
  • Games Magazine: Hold It
  • Creative Strategy: Attribute Listing
  • Discuss Csikszentmihalyi’s The Creative Personality
  • Assignment Due: SCAMPER (random selection of object)

February 19

  • Creativity Strategy:  Types of Brainstorming
  • Video: Dilbert Cubical
  • Games Magazine: View from the Top
  • Wallas Four Stages Model (Archimedes)
  • Assignment Due: Metaphorical Thinking Cartoon

February 26

  • Previously read “Theories of Creativity”
  • JigSaw Activity with Jeopardy
  • Games Magazine: Opening Moves
  • Creative Competitions (Odyssey of the Mind/Destination ImagiNation
  • Video: OMs

March 5

  • Creativity Strategy: Creative Problem Solving (CPS) – Future Problem Solving
  • Games Magazine: Classified Chaos
  • TED Talk with Ken Robinson
  • Assignment Due: Web Site


March 12

  • Review Interview Findings
  • Barron-Welsh Figure Preference Test
  • Gough Personality Scale
  • Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students – Creativity
  • Williams Creative Assessment Packet (CAP)
  • Khatena-Torrance Creativity Perception Inventory
    • Something About Myself
    • What Kind of Person Are You?
  • Creativity Strategy: PMI   
  • Games Magazine: Pict-Analogies
  • Assignment Due:  Interview

March 19

  • Spring Break — No Class

March 26

  • Correcting Torrance Tests
  • Word Association, Uses for Things, and Fables Assessments
  • Games Magazine: Arm and Leg
  • Creative Strategy: Direct/Personal/Fantasy/Symbolic Analogies
  • Work on OM problems in groups
  • Assignment Due: Lesson Plans

April 2

  • Games Magazine: Get the Picture
  • Assignment Due:  Team Creativity Competition

April 9

  • Games Magazine: Seeing Things
  • Synectics (Make-up)
  • PMI (Make-up)
  • Receive Take-Home Test
  • In Class Activity: Scavenger Hunt (bring digital cameras) USE THIS TEMPLATE
  • Assignment Due: Torrance Test

April 16

April 23

  • Games Magazine: Handiwork
  • Evaluate Inventions
  • Take Home Test Due
  • Assignment Due: Inventions

April 30

  • Games Magazine: Illustrated Explanation
  • In Class Activity: Creativity Dramatics (one word play)
  • Assignment Due:  Creative Project

6)  Texts
Required: NONE
Recommended (Optional):

Starko, A. J. (2010). Creativity in the classroom:  Schools of curious delight (4nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

7) Assignments and Projects:

  1. Can Transformation: In class we will practice transforming lines into new figures. For this assignment you will transform a common beverage can (empty) into something. You may wish to manipulate (bend, cut, twist, etc.) your can. You may wish to paint it or attach other objects to it. Bring your transformed beverage can to class on January 29. (5% of your final grade)
  2. Sketchwords: Create eight Sketchword problems related to a discipline you plan to teach. Submit an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper with the eight Sketchword problems. Use a fine, black felt marker to draw the Sketchwords. This should resemble a student worksheet (provide directions and a place for the student’s name). Bring the Sketchword and an answer key to class on February 5 (5% of your final grade)
  3. SCAMPER. You will select a common object. Create seven modifications of that object using the SCAMPER technique (one for each letter). Bring samples or drawings or your modifications to class on February 12. (5% of your final grade)
  4. Metaphorical Cartoon:  In small groups in class we will create cartoons based on metaphorical thinking. For this assignment you will create a cartoon on your own based on something you expect to teach. Bring the cartoon to class on February 19 with a paragraph describing how you would use it in your classroom. (5% of your final grade)
  5. Web Sites:  Locate a web site that provides information related to developing creativity or that could be used to develop creativity.  Also include the address of the site. Write two paragraphs: one describing the site and a second listing how the site could be used with your students. This is due by March 5. SEND THIS INFORMATION TO ME IN AN EMAIL (del.siegle@uconn.edu)t(5% of your final grade)
  6. Interview:  You may complete this project individually or with a partner.  Develop a set of questions to ask someone you consider to be highly creative.  The purpose of your interview is to learn about the interviewee’s characteristics and the creative processes the person uses.  Your interview should last about 15 minutes.  Type a 3-4 page paper (12 point font, Time or New Roman type, double spaced, 1 inch margin) describing what you found. This assignment is due March 12. (5% of your final grade)
  7. Lesson Plans: Create two lessons: one which teaches students a creative process and one where you build creativity into your teaching of a topic for the curriculum you expect to teach. Provide a 3/4 to 1 page (12 point font, Time or New Roman type, double spaced, 1 inch margin) description of each lesson. This assignment is due March 26. (5% of your final grade)
  8. Team Creativity Competition: Each of you will be assigned to a team with five members. In class on April 2 we will hold an Odyssey of the Mind (Destination Imagination) type competition where your team will compete. Include all of the required competition paperwork when you compete. Your grade is your score in the competition. (10% of your final grade)
  9. Creativity Assessment:  In class we will learn how to score the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Figural and Verbal). Ask someone you know to take the figural and verbal versions. Administer and correct the tests. Submit the following by April 9: 1) Subscale and total raw scores, 2) Brief narrative (one or two paragraphs) describing the person’s creative strengths or weaknesses according to the tests, 3) Brief essay (one or two paragraphs) describing why you believe each test accurately or inaccurately assessed the individual’s creativity, and 4) The tests you administered. (10% of your final grade).
  10. Invention:  Create an invention.  Design a model or prototype (not a drawing) of your invention that responds to a personal or societal need (no Rube Goldberg’s please). Create a background poster for your invention. This exercise will allow you to experience the creative process and the role of “problem finding” in it.  You will share and discuss your invention with the class on April 23. Bring your invention and poster to class and submit a description of how it works, the need it meets, and how the idea for the invention came to you (a sample poster will be shown in class). Your invention will be graded by your peers on the following criteria:

Novelty (Newness in the product)

  • Original (Unique – Ordinary)
  • Surprise (Unexpected – Expected)

Resolution (How well the product does what it is suppose to do)

  • Valuable (Significant – Insignificant) Logical (Makes sense – Senseless) Useful (Workable – Unworkable)
  • Understandable (Understandable – Mysterious)

Elaboration and Synthesis (Style—including attention to detail)

  • Organic (Complete – Incomplete) Elegant (Elegant – Coarse)
  • Well Crafted (Durable – Flimsy) (10% of your final grade)

11. Exam:  The examination will be a take-home test that is due on April 23. The exam is open-book/notes and requires application of the course content. (20% of your final grade)

12. Creative Project:  Now is your chance to tackle a project that you’ve always wanted to do, but have lacked courage, motivation, or time.  You may wish to create a web site, music enhanced slide show, short story, book of poems, play, teaching unit, etc. The project must result in a product that is creative (by the definition we discussed in class) for you. Your product is due on April 30.  (5% of your final grade)

13. Participation: You will receive 1 point (up to 10 points) for each class you attend/participate. Participation will be recorded with Weekly Knowledge Checks. Please complete a Weekly Knowledge Check at the start of each class. Attendance/Participation is only granted through the Knowledge Checks. (10% of your final grade)

All assignments must be submitted in order to receive a grade. Percentages for grades are as follows:


8)  Additional Comments:

  • Each week you will complete a Knowledge Check of material covered in class during the previous week. These are not graded, but must be completed. They will serve as an attendance/participation check.
  • We have all accomplished creative things and hearing about them will allow us to realize this. Throughout the semester, each student will share at least one creative thing he or she has accomplished.  This is a low stress, non graded activity.
  • Examples of creativity can be found everywhere.  If you see something in a newspaper, a magazine, on a video tape, etc., that relates to creativity and the content of the course, consider bringing it to class to enhance our discussions.
  • Articles will be distributed throughout the semester for you to read.  We will discuss them on the week following their distribution.

Academic Integrity
A fundamental tenet of all educational communities is academic honesty; academic work depends upon respect for and acknowledgement of the research, ideas and intellectual property of others. When we express our ideas in class assignments, projects or exams, we need to trust that someone else will not take credit for them. Similarly, others need to trust that our words, data and ideas are our own. We find the intellectual property of others in textbooks, periodicals, newspapers, journals, solution manuals, dissertation abstracts, emails, the Internet and other sources electronic or otherwise. Regardless of where we find information, protecting and acknowledging the rightful originators of intellectual property is vital to academic integrity.

Academic misconduct is dishonest or unethical academic behavior that includes, but is not limited, to misrepresenting mastery in an academic area (e.g., cheating), intentionally or knowingly failing to properly credit information, research or ideas to their rightful originators or representing such information, research or ideas as your own (e.g., plagiarism). Knowing what constitutes academic misconduct is so important to an educational community that all students are encouraged to go to their advisors, instructors, counselors, or assistant deans of students whenever they need clarification. When an instructor believes there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate a clear case of academic misconduct within a particular course taught by that instructor, the instructor shall notify the student in writing, and also orally if possible, that unless the student requests a hearing to contest the instructor’s belief, the instructor shall impose the appropriate academic consequences warranted by the circumstances. This should occur within 30 days of discovery of the alleged academic misconduct. The appropriate academic consequence for serious offenses is generally considered to be failure in the course. For less serious offenses regarding small portions of the course work, failure for that portion is suggested, with the requirement that the student repeat the work satisfactorily for no credit.


Students with Disabilities
Students with special needs should contact the instructor early in the semester so accommodations can be made. Additional help is available through the university. Through the merge of the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and the University Program for College Students with Learning Disabilities (UPLD), one office now serves all students with disabilities. All students may contact the office by visiting the Wilbur Cross Building, Room 204, calling (860) 486-2020 or emailing csd@uconn.edu.


Snow Closing
As this semester starts with the season of snowstorms and ice, we will not hold class if the University announces a snow closure that goes into effect at or before 5 p.m. If the university announces that it will be closing at 6 p.m., we will hold class from 4-6 p.m.

If the decision is made to keep the university open in questionable weather conditions (as opposed to obvious decisions like closing for a definite severe, lengthy storm or remaining open for a dusting), students should consider safety first in deciding whether to come to campus or not since road conditions vary widely across the region. Commuting students are given the opportunity to make up work missed under such circumstances.  Commuting students should contact their professors as soon as possible if they must miss a class or other activity due to treacherous conditions. The decision to keep the university open in questionable weather does not mean that it is safe for everyone to travel to campus from any location.  Students should evaluate their routes and exercise appropriate judgment when making a decision. Please put safety first.


Absences for Student Activities
Students will be allowed to complete work missed by absence resulting from extra-curricular/co–curricular activities performed in the interest of the university and/or those that support the scholarly development of the student.  Such accommodations are made in ways that do not dilute or preclude the requirements or learning outcomes for the course. Examples include participation in scholarly presentations, performing arts, and intercollegiate sports, when the participation is at the request of, or coordinated by, a University official. Students involved in such activities should inform the instructor in writing prior to the anticipated absence and take the initiative to make up missed work in a timely fashion.


Cell Phones and Texting
As an educator, or future educator, you understand the importance of “engagement” for learning. You also understand how nonacademic tasks detract from engagement. Please be respectful of your other students and me and do not electronically text during class. If I notice that you are texting, I will ask you to turn off your cell phone. If this becomes a problem, I will ask you to drop the class.

Some of the ideas used for this course came from Dr. Karen Westberg,
Dr. Susan Baum, and Dr. Jonathan Plucker.