Class on blowing your (traditional) mind

Syllabus and class calendar for CAS110


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. All final work will be published on the class website or uploaded to D2L.


• This is the class website for CAS 110:

• The syllabus is not on D2L, nor are the assignments. You will only be use D2L to upload your homework and to check your grades. For everything else you will use the class website.

• 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.

• You will find each new assignment under the “Assignments” tab at the top of the page.

  • Class email: Please use this email to contact the instructor instead of his address!
  • Website:
  • Twitter hashtag: #msucas110 (we are not monitoring this for queries)
  • Office number: 271 CAS
  • Office hours: Tuesdays, 3 pm to 5 pm, Wednesdays, 12pm-2pm
  • Class time: Wed., 5:00 PM – 6:50 PM
  • Classroom: 102 Conrad Hall
  • Instructor: Karl Gude
  • Phone: 203-856-0320 (Emergencies only, please!!)


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: 310 points

Total in-class points: 55

Total points: 365



1/14: In class: Welcome, overview of class. Traditional thinking.

Homework: 20 points


1/21: In class: Creativity, self-actualization and you.

Homework: none


1/28: In class: Panel discussion. Creativity in different fields

Homework: 50 points


2/4: In class: Creativity: fitting the pieces together.

Homework: 20 points 


2/11: In class: Guest speaker.

Homework: 20 points



2/18:  In class: Entrepreneurship

Homework: 10 points


2/25: In class: Habits of creative people. Intelligences.

Homework: 20 points


3/4: In class: Barriers to creativity.

Homework: 50 points


3/11: In class: Spring Break, no class.


3/18: In class: Why are cartoons funny? Where do creative ideas come from? Creative thinking techniques. Myths about creativity.

Homework: 20 points


3/25: In class: Knowledge and problem finding & framing

Homework: 30 points


4/1: In class: Idea generation

Homework: 30 points


4/8:  In class: Analytical thinking. Implementation.

Homework: 30 points


4/15: In class: Group activity

Homework: 5 points


4/22: In class: Field day.

5 points for attendance


4/29:  In class: Review of semester. (Group activity rain date)

Group activity rain date



All work is due one week later, by 11:59 pm on Wed. nights. No late work will be accepted except for extenuating medical circumstances with a note from your doctor. 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 instructor reserves the right to make alterations to the curriculum and syllabus as the semester progresses.


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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