Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jenny Zubricky CRS 205 Fall 2010 What was learned?

This course has honestly changed me a great deal. I can say the same with my other creative studies class. Never before have I had a class where I could actually think about and work on myself. I am so used to just being a number in a lecture hall. It was eye opening for me to realize how I think and how I learn. I never really even thought myself to be a creative person. I was guilty of thinking that there was a certain gene of some sort that only specific people possessed. I now realize that I do have it in me and it was a great confidence booster.

I come from a great history of anxiety issues, and it hindered my social and academic development a great deal in high school. By working on myself this semester, I am definitely moving in the right direction for my future. Yes, I still get a great deal of anxiety at times, but I have gained an inner confidence that I never thought possible. I am creative, I am learning the tools, and I cannot wait to use them when I graduate. People are constantly asking me what creative studies actually is. At the beginniing of the semester I was honestly not able to properly define it. Now I can answer with pride and say that I will be meeting some of the authors of my textbooks in the near future. I don't think many people can actually say that. I look forward to taking more creative studies classes and working with the whole department.

Jenny Zubricky CRS 205 Fall 2010 Recommend the class?

I can honestly say that I have aleady recommended this class to a few people; and the whole minor in general. I believe that these tools are a great way to improve anyone's education. I agree, it was a bit scary to open myself up, but it overall put me in the right direction. Even if students are not interested in taking either of the minors that this course introduces, it is still a perfect elective to take. The "Person" unit really took me by surprise, it gave me time to work on myself, and learn the tools to further my education and keep my goals in sight. In the past I would get frustrated very easily and decide too early that I couldn't do something. Learning the CPS model, and taking the assessments that I did really helped me past that.

Now that the semester is almost over, I can confidently and correctly explain what these classes are really about. My friends were having a hard time understanding why I was taking this class, and now things have changed. I truly hope that the people I recommended this class to will actually take it, and not just blow off my opinion. Taking this class has really given me a positive outlook on the classes I will be taking in the next few semesters.

Nick Sessanna CRS 302w Fall 2010 Songwriting

Earlier on in the semester, my group did a demonstration of the idea box, a fun, divergent tool used to provide the user with several different options for the problem at hand. I decided to take my expertise with this tool and put it to good use.

I was bored and I decided to use the idea box as a way to jumpstart ideas for a subject to write a song about. I gathered up everyone currently in my house and had them participate in a fun idea box exercise. I had them generate ideas for song title, song subject, and words I could use in the lyrics. At the end of the session, I had several different topics to work with, ranging from quite serious, to depressing, to humorous.

I decided to take it a step further and I made an idea box myself with more technical aspects of songwriting like key, chord progression, time signature, and song length. I then used the idea box to generate a few different options for what the song would ultimately sound like.

I ended up writing a song called “Rush Limbo.” The song is in 4/4 time, is in the key of E, and is roughly three minutes long. Using the idea box, I had to write a song including the use of the word “beehive,” “saline,” and “succulent.” Here are a few outtakes from the lyrics. “There used to be a beehive in this tree – I thought all I needed was some succulent honey…” “I felt that icy saline purging away my impurities”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reed Pettys CRS 302 Fall 2010

Final Paper

Throughout my various Creative Studies courses I have learned more than what the syllabi have outlined. It goes beyond generating ideas, creative problem solving, and facilitation. The beauty of these courses including CRS 302W, is that they require and extract so much more from us students. It isn’t history or theory we are learning about, it is practical skills that we can use in ever day life; skills that will make us a better student, parent, employee, friend, and person.

This semester has been no different; I have again obtained new skills that I did not intend on discovering. Through this learning I also realized more about myself, and for this I am extremely grateful. One thing I learned is that I can work successfully in a team. For the longest time I was convinced that working in a group never really works. I believed that most team members would consistently drop the ball, and leave most of the work to one individual. However, this semester has shown me other wise. With my service-learning project and my feedback team, I came to the conclusion that a group can work successfully if all members are committed to the task. It all comes down to the performing stage of group development, the stage where all group members are focused on completing the task while maintaining a positive relationship with the other group members (Miller, Vehar, & Firestien, 2001b). My teams were committed and we did meet our goals. I can honestly look toward future group work without fear or apprehension.

Another thing I learned, which was not in our textbook, was that confidence can really make a difference in numerous situations. I do not mean cockiness or arrogance. I mean assurance in one’s self to be able to complete the task at hand. Referring back to my facilitation run –thrus and service-learning project, I came to realize that confidence is key. Being so new to facilitation, these experiences really were “off the cuff”. I was learning as I went, but because of that I came to the conclusion that self-belief can assist in the process. Believing that I could push through even though I did not know everything about what I was talking about. Assurance is a state-of-mind that can be used in all situations to help complete a task successfully.

One other skill that this class has honed is communication. I don’t think our class talked about it much, but it is an essential component to facilitation. This is not to say that I didn’t know how to communicate prior to this class. However, it was something we used often in this class, and I no doubt progressed my skill level in communicating to a whole new level. Whether it was just in teamwork or in gathering data for our facilitations, communicating properly can make problem solving a whole lot easier. In fact, it is a skill that can make many situations easier. I learned that I now have the ability to communicate in any situation without struggle. Working individually with someone is almost effortless thanks to this skill, and addressing and working with large groups is something I no longer am afraid to do. I give kudos to the Creative Studies program for making me realize the potential I have in communicating properly.

My feedback team has also helped me learn more about myself this semester. Throughout the course, they gave praise on what they thought I was doing well. They also let me know what areas I could work on. More importantly, they were always there when I had a question regarding myself. They were there to help me, and I was there to help them. It was a mutual partnership that taught me a lot.

One piece of feedback that I received was that I’m a bit too introverted at times. My feedback team described my initial presence as shy. They observed that I was quiet and in the shadows at first. However, they did say that as the semester went on that I did come out of my shell a bit more. I completely agree with their assessment. I would certainly describe myself as an introvert, especially in the beginning of the semester. Introverts prefer to think things through and reflect before forming or stating their opinions (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 2007). Whenever I start a new class or I’m in a new situation, I tend to be a bit more reserved as I scope things out. I like to observe my surroundings first before I act in any way. This helps me determine what is appropriate for that situation. Once I’m comfortable with my new environment, then I open up more. In the future, I could easily make more of an effort to be a bit more outgoing at first. Perhaps such a change will lead to something new and adventurous.

My feedback team also praised me in one area. Despite my shyness, they did say that I have a great stage presence when it counts. They noted that whenever I spoke in front of the class or in a group setting, that I seemed very comfortable in what I was doing. I attribute this to two things. One, all of the Creative Studies courses I have taken. This program has continuously required me to go outside my comfort zone and public speak. Second, is all of the theatre experience I have from high school. Being on stage really helped me develop the ability to conquer my nerves. These experiences have allowed me to be in the right frame of mind when I’m addressing a group of people.

One question I asked my feedback team, was whether or not I showed progression in my facilitation skills. According to Miller, Vehar and Firestien (2001a), a facilitator is the person responsible for keeping track of logistics, idea flow, and group development. This person does not contribute ideas or help converge on them either. In my first facilitation run-thru, I broke this cardinal rule of facilitation. I shared my own ideas with my client (the class). From that point forward, I was always worried that I would break the same rule again. Needless to say, I sought feedback in this matter. My team did report that I did not break that rule again in later facilitations. Not only was I glad for their feedback, but I also was glad to use them as a resource for my own inquiries.

Overall, CRS 302W and all of the Creative Studies courses I have taken, have far exceeded my expectations. I learned the creative problem solving process, I practiced facilitation, I studied various leadership theories, and I even created some things in the process. More importantly, I learned more about myself. I realized my potential, witnessed my strengths, and identified areas I need further work on. This class and the program have pushed me as a creative being, a leader, and have ultimately made me a stronger and more skilled individual.


Komives, S.R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T.R. (2007). Exploring
leadership: for college students who want to make a difference
San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Miller, B., Vehar, J., & Firestien, R. (2001a). Creativity unbound an
introduction to creative process
. Williamsville, NY: Innovation
Resources, Inc

Miller, B., Vehar, J., & Firestien, R. (2001b). Facilitation a door to
creative leadership
. Williamsville, NY: Innovation Resources, Inc.

Nick Kitzrow CRS 302 Fall 2010

The first qualified research article that I found that pertained to me and my personal learning is a piece called "Ambiguity vs. Precision: The changing role of Terminology in Conference Diplomacy" from Language and Diplomacy by Norman Scott. In this article Scott talks about how ambiguity can be beneficial because it allows each person their own interpretation of an issue. This is something I had never really thought about before. I never recognized how something that is open to interpretation can good, but the article explains how something such as a peace treaty can mean different things to different people, thereby allowing them to find meaning within an agreement and solve conflict. Scott says that in diplomacy ambiguity can be used “to allay anxieties on either side or to secure a margin for subsequent interpretation”. I never saw ambiguity as a useful tool before.

In an article in Time magazine by Kate Stinchfield called "The Science of Risk Taking" I have found that some skills are not necessarily completely ours to control. The article references research that explains why certain individuals are more likely to take risks. There are genes that change the re-absorption of dopamine and serotonin levels in people’s brains. The article said about serotonin: “The chemical helps inhibit impulsive behavior, and it could be in short supply in people who take chances”. I never took into consideration that there might be more to decision making than just cognitive skill, but this article has given me a new outlook on risk taking.

I found an article entitled "Creative Knowledge Environments" by Sven Hamlin, Ben Martin and Carl Allwood in Creativity Research Journal. The article discussed work-team environment studies and said “work teams should encourage diversity among members so that an element of creative tension exists and conformity is not overemphasized”. I believe this relates to my studies because the groups I have worked with in class have been very diverse, and I believe this diversity has made us more productive.`

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kelly Orme, CRS 302, Relate a movie to class learning

A recent film that I watched was Freedom Writers. This movie is about at-risk students that have no hope for success. A school district assigns them a new teacher with not much experience and no real knowledge of how they live and what they are struggling through. The teacher ends up connecting with the students and helping them succeed not only in school, but also with their families and day-to-day drama. She gets them motivated to learn and succeed. The title comes from what they end up calling themselves as they produce a book with all of their journal entries from the four years in high school. This movie proved to be very relevant to what we have learned in class.

1. This movie emphasizes working in groups and group communication. The kids initially dispute with each other over outside circumstances. The teacher connects them together and shows them that they achieve more in a diverse group. Once they became united they showed more success and improvement.

2. Throughout the movie you see the stages of group development. The first stage forming is when they were trying to all be accepted by one another considering their backgrounds. Then came a great deal of the storming stage. They fought and even got violent over many issues with one another. No one wanted to end the arguments and no one wanted to listen to one another. Eventually the teacher smoothed relations as the leader and the made it to the norming stage in which they started excepting each other and appreciate the situation they were in. They then moved to the performing stage where they achieved most of their success and became loyal to each other. Adjourning was shown at the end of the movie in which they begged to not leave the teacher and was emotional when they had to move on. They felt as if leaving the group would give them another excuse to fail again.

3. The teacher used the facilitation technique more than a teaching approach. She guided them, but did not push them. They made majority of decisions regarding their learning on their own. She put them in the right direction and then stood back and let them learn for themselves and solve issues themselves.

4. The class became a resource group rather than individual students. They bounced off of each other’s ideas. They united not like a typical class, but more like a group dependent on each other. They had problems to solve together and diverged and converged to get to solutions

5. They resolved conflicts the whole movie. The teacher, facilitator, stepped in to resolve issues amongst each other. They also learned techniques to resolve issues at home, in the community/hood, and with themselves.

6. The class used the Brainstorming Technique. There were multiple scenes that they used it, however one in particular was how they were going to raise money to get the proper resources, books, fieldtrips, etc., they needed to learn.

7. They used proper and constructive feedback with each other. They switched from bashing each other with negative feedback to helping improve one another with good feedback techniques and how to improve from it. The teacher knew that constantly providing them with bad feedback was not encouraging and actually holding them back.

8. They used creativity in the way that they learned instead of traditional lecture. They fulfilled the terms novel and useful. They had field trips to engage them in what they would be reading about. They created events to raise money for learning. They developed a toast for change, which was a toast to what they would become and not what others expected them to be. They invited had dinners to speak with real Holocaust survivors and they invited the German girl who harbored Anne Frank. They also wrote in journals about their personal feelings to vent and not have their struggles inhibit their learning.

9. They showed many different learning styles and the teacher created material and experiences to improve learning based on these. Some needed hands on material. Some learned better with applying emotion. Some were innovators and thinking outside of the box. Some enjoyed just simply reading and learning from that.

10. They developed a Plan for Action on the idea of how to get the German girl from Anne Frank to come and meet with their class. They all wrote to her and what they thought of the diary. They then assigned different roles to everyone on their fund raising idea and when and how it needed to be done.