Class on blowing your (traditional) mind

Syllabus and class calendar, lectures

Syllabus for CAS110, FS14

Class email: Please use this email to contact the instructor instead of his address!


Twitter hashtag: #cas110

Office number: 271 CAS

Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Class time: Tuesdays, 6:00 PM – 7:50 PM
Classroom: 1281 Anthony Hall
Instructor: Karl Gude
Phone: 203-856-0320 (Emergencies only, please!!)


The goal of this class is to teach students creative thinking and brainstorming skills that will give them a leg up on the competition and help them navigate professional challenges they will face in their lives.  A 2010 IBM study of 1,500 CEOs from different industries around the world found that the majority of them valued creativity in new employees more than any other trait. They believe that creativity in their organizations is a critical element for their business to successfully navigate an increasingly complex world.

This class will help students cultivate their own creative abilities, teach them to work in teams and use various thinking techniques for brainstorming ideas. Specifically, students will explore:

What is creativity? Why is it important?
How do we think?
What is the creative process?
What kind of problems can it help solve?
What methods can I use to generate creative ideas?
What are critical and analytical thinking?
What is the difference between imagination, creativity and innovation?
How can I exercise creative thinking with others? Alone?

The course is a blend of lecture, demonstration and individual and group projects. Groups will to present their progress when asked. Smaller assignments will be done individually. All final work will be published on the class website or uploaded to Angel.



93 to 100: 4.0
87 to 92: 3.5
81 to 86: 3.0
74 to 80: 2.5
69 to 73: 2.0
64 to 68: 1.5
60 to 63: 1.0
below 60: 0.0

Assignments and points

Participation points: 100 points total (for Field Game (20) and for Complex Problem solving project (80)

9/2: Welcome, overview of class. Different kinds of creativity.
Homework (50 points): Creativity self-portrait

9/9: Creative vs. critical thinking. Myths about creativity.
Homework (20 points): Show a story

9/16: Making connections to combat traditional thinking
Homework (50 points): Design a game with group

9/23: Let’s connect. Field Day! Let’s play us some games!
Attendance: (20 points)

9/30: Creativity and you.
Homework: Advertisement

10/7: Multiple intelligences.

10/14: Limiting beliefs, Challenging assumptions.

10/21: Where creativity fails. Delta.

(You will earn up to 80 participation points for the group project, “Complex Problem Solving,” which consists of four phases)

10/28: (Phase 1 of project) Complex problem solving: The problem.
Defining a problem
Homework (50 points): Frame a problem

11/4: (Phase 2 of project) Complex problem solving: Knowledge gathering.
Homework (50 points): Research problem

11/11: (Phase 3 of project) Complex problem solving: Idea generation/solution
Brainstorming. SCAMPER.
Homework (50 points): Determine a solution using divergent-convergent thinking

11/18: (Phase 4 of project) Complex problem solving: Analytical thinking
SWOT analysis.
Homework (50 points): SWOT analysis

11/25: Pushing your comfort zone
Homework: None

12/2: TBA



All work is due before class and late work will be accepted by the end of the week for a 20% deduction (see details under each assignment). After that, no late assignments will be accepted. The communication industry lives and dies by deadlines. In this class, project deadlines are just that, final deadlines.

Course requirements

This class will not be held in a lab, and no equipment is provided. There is no textbook. You will need access to a computer to complete assignments and upload them to Angel.


The School of Journalism adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades, and in the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades, which are included in Spartan Life: 1998 Student Handbook and Resource Guide and on the MSU Web site.

Academic honesty

Students are expected to do their own work on all assignments. Students who cheat, fabricate or plagiarize will receive a 0.0 on the assignment and may fail this course. Plagiarism means the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving proper credit. Article 2.3.3. of the Academic Freedom Report states that “the student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the School of Journalism adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades, and in the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades, which are included in Spartan Life: Student and Handbook and Resource Guide.

Classroom conduct

Students are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner in the classroom. As noted in the University’s Code of Teaching Responsibility, this involves “the right of faculty members to conduct classes, and of students to participate in those classes, without interference or disruption.”  Additionally, section 2.3.5 in the “Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University” report states that, “the student’s behavior in the classroom shall be conducive to the teaching and learning process for all concerned.”  If a student’s behavior is so disruptive that it interferes with the teaching and learning process, the student may be required to leave the classroom and could be referred to the student judicial affair’s office for a disciplinary hearing.

Disability accommodation

If you need or want to request an accommodation for a disability, call the Office of Programs for Handicapper Students at 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY). You will be required to provide instruction from OPHS to your course instructor.


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