Donald Welch & Joseph McDowall

A Comparison of Creative Strategies in Teaching Undergraduate Students in the Visual Arts and Design

Abstract:

A Comparison of Creative Strategies in Teaching Undergraduate Students in the Visual Arts and Design Donald James Adrian Welch Design Department, Queensland College of Art Griffith University Joseph James McDowall Photography Department, Queensland College of Art Griffith University Abstract In higher education, the visual arts are generally considered to provide a creative milieu for students. The corollary, as frequently assumed, is that students undertaking visual arts education are themselves creative people. However, even if they are, can this ability be enhanced? The hypothesis for this paper was that the systematic teaching of creativity using established strategies could alter selfperceptions of creative ability, and increase individual creative ability. A cohort of 79 first year undergraduate design students were surveyed before and after completing a course in creative thinking in terms of their perception of their own creativity. In addition, they were asked to rate the usefulness of nine strategies employed in the course for teaching creativity. Their perceptions of the learning experience were then compared with the individual mark they received for the course. Results showed a significant difference in the usefulness of strategies and that, after completing the course, students believed they had enhanced their creative abilities. Unfortunately, overall, only a moderate correlation was found between perceptions of creativity and assessed course achievement. It appears that students’ perceptions of their own creativity, and their ability to produce more creative outcomes, can be enhanced by taking a specific course on the subject if it is taught appropriately. Keywords Creativity, Visual Arts, Design, Creative strategies

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Donald Welch & Joseph McDowall:

Donald Welch Senior Lecturer, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University Donald Welch has worked as a designer in both the UK and Australia, specialising in visual communication design, with an emphasis on typography. He has worked on major wayfinding projects for public and private sites, branding for government and private institutions and publication design. His research interests include developing effective methods of teaching creative problem solving, particularly when applied to visual communication. He is the Convenor of the Off-Shore Design Program at Queensland College of Art Griffith University and is a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia.