Welcome to Creativity 101

An article in yesterday's New York Times profiles the rise of courses in creativity, the singling out of creativity as its own subject matter, as something worth studying in its own right and not incidentally. In "Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline," Laura Pappano writes:

Nearly 20 years ago "creating" replaced "evaluation" at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy of learning objectives. In 2010 "creativity" was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days "creative" is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.

Traditional academic disciplines still matter, but as content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about "process skills," strategies to reframe challenges and extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.

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Creative studies is popping up on course lists and as a credential. Buffalo State, part of the State University of New York, plans a Ph.D. and already offers a master's degree and undergraduate minor. Saybrook University in San Francisco has a master's and certificate, and added a specilization to its psychology Ph.D. in 2011. Drexel University in Philadelphia has a three-year-old online master's. St. Andrew's University in Laurinburg, N.C., has added a minor. And creative studies offerings, sometimes with a transdisciplinary bent, are new options in business, education, digital media, humanities, arts, science, and engineering programs across the country.

How do you become creative? One avenue: fail. Or, at the least, be willing to fail.

Jack V. Matson, an environmental engineer and a lead instructor of "Creativity, Innovation and Change," a MOOC that drew 120,000 in September, teaches a freshman seminar course at Penn State that he calls "Failure 101." That's because, he says, "the frequency and intensity of failures is an implicit principle of the course. Getting into a creative mind-set involves a lot of trial and error."

Full article here.

 

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