Enhanced Creativity and Problem Solving: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Michael V. Doran, John Shelley-Tremblay, Robert L. Coleman, Becky McLaughlin


The University of South Alabama has established an interdisciplinary course to expand and foster creative thinking and problem solving using appropriate and readily available technology. This creative approach when linked with an aspect of technology will appeal to and benefit many diverse student populations. This educational approach to encourage creativity incorporates: design experiences, technology skill development by practical hands-on events, an open-ended challenge to solve, multiple documentation and presentation expressions of the work, and evaluation of work for enhancing creativity and problem solving. This course was structured to take advantage of a multi-disciplinary teaching and learning environment. The course is being team taught by faculty from the disciplines of Computer Science, Psychology, and English. The targeted student population initially consists of Computer Science majors and members of the Honor’s College (any major). Based on the results of this work the course would be open in the future to any major. The role of each instructor is to provide guidance on how each discipline contributes to the creative process of solving an interesting and challenging problem. The aspects of the disciplines considered include: the narrative or descriptive documentation of the process (not just the usual software documentation), an understanding of the relevant cognitive issues needed to address the problem, and the technology needed to solve the problem. The challenges consist of a task that is of wide appeal not only to the students solving it but a larger audience who might benefit from the knowledge of the solution. Sample challenges include problems involving robotics or game development which can be easily understood and visually appealing to all students involved.

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