Class on blowing your (traditional) mind

Syllabus and class calendar for CAS110

Fall syllabus (for early field day)


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?


  • Class email: Please use this email to contact the instructor instead of his address!
  • Twitter hashtag: #msucas110 (we are not monitoring this for queries)
  • Office number: 271 CAS
  • Office hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3 pm to 5 pm
  • Class time: Wed., 6:00 PM – 7:50 PM
  • Classroom: 1281 Anthony Hall
  • Instructor: Karl Gude
  • Phone: 203-856-0320 (Emergencies only, please!!)
  • There is a Facebook page for this class.  “CAS 110 FS15”

Class logistics:

  • There is no textbook. You will need access to a computer to complete assignments and upload them to D2L.
  • Assignments:
    • There will be group projects and each person will be individually evaluated on their contribution to the group.
    • There are two extra credit opportunities worth 10 points each.
    • All assignments must be turned in to D2L exactly as explained. You will be deducted points, or receive no points at all, for blurry or illegible images, un-rotated images, improper file formats and the like.
    • All assignments must be uploaded to the appropriate dropbox. Failure to do so will result in a 20% deduction.
  • Deadlines: 
    • See individual assignments for due dates and times.
    • No late work is accepted, except for extenuating medical reasons with a doctor’s note or prior approval of instructor. The communication industry lives and dies by deadlines. In this class, project deadlines are just that, final deadlines.
  • Teaching assistants: There are teaching assistants who will be grading, monitoring and responding to email and answering your questions about grades, etc.
  • Queries:
    • Send all questions to the class email address, which is “
    • Please do not send emails directly to me unless they are of a personal nature. The TAs will be monitoring the class email and can check on grades, answer some assignment questions, and the like. Any question they can’t answer they will forward do me.
  • Tests: There are no tests or quizzes in this class. All grades are based on homework projects and in-class activities.
  • Attendance: Attendance is not taken, however there will be several in-class assignments that will be turned in for points. You may not make up these assignments for being absent without prior approval from the instructor or a medical reason with a doctor’s note.


90 = 4.0

85 = 3.5

80 = 3.0

75 = 2.5

70 = 2.0

65 = 1.5

60 = 1.0

0 = 0



Total homework points: 350 points

Total in-class points: 35

Total points: 365



Be sure to read ALL assignment instructions each week. Students lose points because they missed an important part of the assignment and neglected to do it. 

9/8, week 1: In class: Welcome, overview of class. Traditional vs. creative thinking. Complex problem solving. Improv

Homework (40 points): Interview a professional about creativity in their work.


9/15, week 2: In class: Creativity, self-actualization and you. Limiting beliefs, Challenging assumptions,

Homework (Two assignments, 20 points each): Free drawing and S-drawing


9/22, week 3: In class: How imagination, ideation, inspiration, incubation, and innovation come together. Fluency, Frequency, Originality and Elaboration

Group Homework (40 points): Invent a field day game that we will play on a field.



Attendance will be taken (5 points)

Homework: Write three things that in your game that could be improved.


10/6, week 5: In class: Our uniqueness. Intelligences. Meditation: reconnecting with our original selves.

Homework: none


10/13, week 6: In class: Guest

Homework: none


10/20, week 7: In class: Barriers to creativity. Myths about creativity. Word association and other techniques for generating new ideas.

Homework (40 points): Create an advertisement


10/27, week 8: In class: Design thinking. Critical and creative thinking.

Homework (60 points): Five chairs


11/3, week 9: In class: To be announced.


11/10, week 10: In class: Using creative problem solving models. Venn diagram of problem solving. Begin solution finding group project. Research.

Homework (20 points): Research


11/17, week 11: In class: Group project, phase 2: Talk: Problem finding & framing

Homework (30 points): Define/frame a problem


11/24, week 12: In class: Group project, phase 3: Define a problem. Talk: Brainstorming, idea generation

Homework (30 points): Brainstorming


12/1, week 13:  In class: Group project, phase 4: Talk: Analytical thinking. Implementation.

Homework (30 points): SWOT


12/8, week 14: In class: Review of semester. (Group activity rain date)



The instructor reserves the right to make alterations to the curriculum and syllabus as the semester progresses.


The College of Communication Arts and Sciences 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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