Friday, December 23, 2016

Creativity: What Students Say

In order to provide support for my (un)grading system, I collected student comments from my course evaluations about grading, and I decided to do the same thing this time for "creativity" since that is way more important. In fact, one of the main reasons I won't put grades on anything is because I don't want students to feel like their creativity is constrained by my judgment in any way.

So, I grabbed all the comments for the course evaluations going back to 2010 (when my school went digital with the evaluations), and I did a Control-F to find every reference to creating and creativity. Here is what I came up with: you can see that students put a high value on the opportunity to be more creative, and it sure looks like they would welcome more creative opportunities in their other classes too!

The numbers refer to these prompts in the evaluation form:
1. What were the strong points of the course?
2. What were the weak points of the course?
3. What should the instructor do to improve their teaching?
4. What is your overall opinion of this course?

1. Allowing the student creative freedom.

1. the creative writing aspects

4. I loved this class. It allowed a lot of creativity from the student.

1. the creativeness

2. i learned a lot of skills about creating websites and useful internet skills

1. It was so much fun. It enhances creativity and thinking outside the box.

1. The class demanded creativity which was fun and kept it fresh.

1. This course encouraged critical thinking about the reading assignments and allowed for creativity on the part of the students.

4. I loved this course. I really enjoyed getting to use my creativity and was definitely a nice break from my regular classes.

1. Allowing us to write creative stories was very different from other classes.

4. This class is a great way to learn to be creative with writing.

1. Laura Gibbs has a gift for making each student feel important. Not only was this a creative writing class over the Epics of India, but our instructor taught us a multitude of applications on the computer.

1. The course really encouraged creativity and exposed the students to a variety of world literature.

4. The course was very good. It successfully encouraged creative thinking.

1. Creative assignments and usage of blogging, as well as exposing students to website design and story writing.

1. This course is probably the best I have ever taken at OU. Wow! It required a lot of work, effort, and time, but I learned SO MUCH. Laura makes it very easy to be successful in this class, but has structured the course so that one must put in the work and time. She also encourages independent thinking and ownership over the work by giving us the freedom to choose topics for our projects and allowing us our own creative liberties.

4. This class was so engaging, fun, interesting, creative, and meaningful! I LOVED it!

1. allows creativity

1. It was enjoyable and creative.

1. absolutely loved the creative writing aspect also, there were many varied assignments, utilizing different strengths and weaknesses, some creative, some analytical. The variety made the class even better.

4. I thought it was a very creative course. I am not usually using my creative side because I am an accounting major.

1. I loved the course! The epics were great reads and I learned a lot about another culture. The storybook project allowed us to be creative and unique.

1. It really forced me to think creatively and be independent and organized.

1. Great format, creative writing assignments, instructor's passion

1. It emphasized much more creativity than most courses that I have taken. It was a very nontraditional course but set up very well.

1. It was interesting and creative.

1. Laura is a fun teacher. Encourages our creative side, which I haven't found often in many of my classes at OU. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the content and format of this class.

4. Awesome. There was a lot of creative writing for this class and Laura took the time to read it all and give feedback. She really believes in her teacher goal and that makes the learning experience more unique and fun.

1. The diversity of the material as well as the creative assignments.

1. Lots of creativity was encouraged. The teacher did a great job of improving my writing skills.

1. This course is what online courses should be. And then the fact that we must read, analyze and rewrite the stories in each unit on our own forces us into a critical thinking mode we could never reach if the stories were being interpreted for us in a traditional setting. This way, our first introduction to the material is only our own initial thoughts and interpretation, and we're forced to create something with that knowledge which requires us to really examine, dissect and understand these stories. And then we are exposed to other students' interpretations, which broadens and challenges our understanding. And the storybook projects teach us both technical skills we may never have been exposed to and literary skills.

1. I love the design of this course. It encourages creativity yet calls for responsibility.

1. I think the strongest point of this course is that is encourages students to be creative. With all the storytelling we get to do, it really allows us to reach into our imagination and come up with something really fun.

1. This course was very interesting, I really enjoyed all of the different readings and creating my own story book was fun too. This class was unlike any class I have taken at OU.

1. Really wide range of subjects was great. The creative writing was also very useful to try again. Great course.

1. I like how the course had many different assignments that allows the student to be creative in their writing. It also gives the students the chance to read other student's work as well.

1. The professor wanted us to expand our knowledge and get better at using the internet and the technology. The professor also wanted us to be creative and use our imagination when it comes to writing stories.

1. The course really encouraged creativity on the students part which I don't get from many other courses.

4. Loved the class. I was able to be creative and she was very good at critiquing our writings.

1. I think this might be the first class I have ever taken that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject matter going into the class. I really enjoyed everything we learned and I was also able to have the freedom to delve into specific topics within the class that interested me. I consider myself to be a highly creative individual and I usually don't learn best in the status quo university situation, so I really thrived on the format of Laura's class.

1. I really enjoyed all the creative writing opportunities because I was able to work outside of my comfort zone (very little creative writing has been encouraged in my schooling) and make associations that furthered my understanding of the subject matter.

4. I loved this class, it was the perfect combination of reading and creative writing! I really loved regaining my creative voice. Thank you!

1. I love the way the course is set up, it encourages creativity well!

1. I really loved that, after reading the required texts, Laura gave us the chance to stretch our creativity by giving us assignments that let us use our imagination.

4. I have been able to be more creative in the class then any other class, which is good, because I like to consider myself somewhat of a writer!

4. I really liked this class. It takes time and effort, it's not an "easy A" or a "blowoff" class. I really appreciate that Laura lets us be so creative in our assignments. In fact, the more creative the better! That's difficult to find on a college campus!

1. Despite the workload, it was very enjoyable. The whole format of the course was very creative and engaging, especially for an online course. Overall, I think the course gave us an opportunity to express our creativity in a way not many other courses on campus do.

1. Flexibility and creative opportunities

1. Laura's classes (I've taken 2 now) are SO creative. They have been a breath of fresh air compared to all of my other college courses. She allows for creativity and flexibility while still sticking to the course objectives.

4. I think the course is excellent! It allows you to be creative which you just don't get in a lot of college courses---unless of course you are taking art classes. This class is excellent.

1. The course was creative and allowed students to get outside of the class room and actually do something creative, fun, interesting and learn at the same time. She goes out of her way to encourage the students to enjoy learning and I know I did.

4. I absolutely loved the course. I'm a creative mind so her class was right up my alley. I enjoyed the challenges her assignments presented to me, and I can honestly say out of all my time at both ECU and OU, I've never enjoyed a course like I loved hers.

1. There is a wide range of classes taught here at the University, but this class is very unique. The learning experience I had in this class was far beyond what was expected. Not only did I learn a lot from the wide range of readings, but I also learned how to write and think more creatively.

1. it allowed the student to be very creative

4. I really enjoyed the class. It was fun to be creative and read and learn about different cultures and their stories.

1. I really enjoyed being able to work at my own pace and the creativity involved in the storybook.

1. Being an art major, all the different stories we got to read really helped aid in my creativity. The way her course is set up is perfect, I really got the most out of her class more than any other class I have taken.

1. The instructor is one of the best in the world. I liked having flexibility in chosing between creative and analytical writing assignments. It was fun!

1. Allowing students to recreate the stories was wonderful.

1. Being offered the freedom of taking the course online as well as the freedom to be creative added to the course

4. It was a really interesting and unique course. Laura is creative and extremely encouraging.

1. There was a lot ways to do well in this course. It was filled with really creative and helpful assignments for the course.

3. Other than find ways to make this class more creative, I would have to say none.

1. The material we read was great. Storytelling is a great way to make sure we understand everything and I loved the creative writing.

1. I really loved that it had a creative component.

1. This course is a dynamic and creative approach to the exploration of myth in various cultures

1. It helped a great deal with my CREATIVE writing

1. The course really let you be independent and creative.

4. I learned a lot in this class and had a great time creating my storybook project.

1. Very interesting course although the course load was extremely heavy I was able to practice skills like blogging, creating a website, and writing

1. This course required a lot of creative thinking and mostly independent work. Every week I was able to provide some of my own work and my own opinion on other people's works.

1. The assignments we had were actually fun and creative. I used the "homework" for this class as a way to relax after the homework in my other classes.

4. I loved this course. I wish all of the online courses, heck all of the courses I have taken at OU, were structured and as much fun as this course. It was a lot of work but it was fun and creative.

1. It was such a great outlet to have a creative exercise, and the grammatical corrections/revisions are spot on. It's really impossible not to learn a thing or two and grow as a writer during this class.

1. The wide range of creativity and ability to work independently was great. I loved creating a storybook and being able to put my own spin on fairy tales.

1. I loved this class because it encouraged independent thinking and creativeness more than any other class I have taken.

1.  I loved how creative I was allowed to be in this class and I did not get docked any points from having differing opinions. I really appreciated being able to develop my own ideas.

4. This was one of my favorite courses of my college career. It was fun and I learned a lot. I also got to expand my writing styles. I am a History major so I wrote mostly about facts and there is not much room to put your own ideas into a paper. This class, however, allowed me to be more creative and really have fun with my writing.

1. This course encouraged a lot of independent and creative thinking.

4. I loved this course! I had so much fun with it and I loved being able to write creatively again.

1. I loved the creative writings, and they were a perfect break from essay writing.

4. I loved the storybook assignments. They were very open, and I could really create a dialogue I wanted about the epics.

1. the assignments encouraged creative thinking and helped keep my writing skills sharp

4. Great course. The teacher allowed me to be creative and really wants the students to enjoy the learning experience.

4. The assignments are combined with one's own creativity and knowledge of the subject which was a breath of fresh air.

1. The great collection of folklore and myths. Also, the way she evaluates comprehension. A great mixture of information based tests along with creative rewriting of the topics. It allows people to absorb the material in many different manners.

4. It was an awesome course with great readings and creative assignments, and I loved it.

1. Gave us the opportunity to be creative in many different writing styles. I really enjoyed doing the blog post and getting to interact with other students through them

1. My favorite assignment is the Storybook. I was able to do whatever I wanted, and it allowed me to be truly creative in a way that I don't get to in other classes.

1. It stimulated creative writing, something which I haven't experienced in any other course I've taken, and I enjoyed that thoroughly. It was challenging, but rewarding at the same time.

1. The strong points of the course were that I could work at my own pace and it made me be creative. SO many college classes are all about regurgitation of material but this class was structured so that I was able to use my mind and learn the material in a way that I will remember.

1. Types of homework (e.g. storytelling assignments) are put together extremely well and allow for creativity - Storybook assignments are perfect for this course because they allow for more study and creativity on a topic of the student's choice

4. I loved the course as a whole. It was constructed so wonderfully and it really sparked my creative abilities.

1. creation of collaborative classroom in an online course -positive nature of professor

4. This course allowed for students to develop and grow with their writing abilities in the funnest and most creative ways possible. The course is writing intensive, but for students who truly enjoy writing, this class is a breath of fresh air from typical textbook/exam-structured courses.

1. Laura uses a lot of the technological capabilities of Google and other services. I've learned how to incorporate these technologies into my life in a very creative way.

1. I like that you allowed and encouraged students to have different opinions and interpretations of the stories we read and that I could be truly creative with the assignments.

1. She really encouraged creative thinking which is very important.

1. Laura did an excellent job in creating structure and staying organized. She allowed the students to work independently and ahead if they so chose to.

1. Instructor enhanced students overall creative writing abilities in addition to course studies.

1. Retelling stories was a good way to practice writing and creativity, as well as to better understand the meanings behind the stories.

4. This has been one of my favorite courses thus far in college! I really loved the storybook project; it challenged my creative ability and my writing skills.

1. I loved this course! It really allowed me, as a science major, to use my creativity. I have never had a class where I just get to write for fun and use my imagination so I really enjoyed doing so in this class.

4. Now I still use Google docs and I had a lot of fun creating stories and reading about different countries myths and folk tales.

4. I loved that I was able to read about different countries' myths and legends and exercise my creative writing skills.

1. broadness of material covered in terms of temporal, thematic, and geographic range; interesting creative writing aspect;

4. I very much enjoyed this course. Through it I improved my creative writing abilities by learning to let my imagination do the work, which I have always wanted to do. I'm not as bad a writer as I thought, and that is comforting and encouraging. :)

1. It develops creativity and writing skills

1. the idea of making a storybook was creative.

1. This course strengthens the students' reading, writing, creativity, tech skills, and time management.

1. I loved how this course worked on an open point system. The interactive and creative assignments were so much fun to accomplish. I felt like I learned so much more by creating instead of taking a test.

1. Allowed my to express myself creatively through writing.

1. Professor Gibbs helped me learn more about grammar than any other teacher I have had. The storybook creativity was my favorite part.

1. Laura Gibbs has established a creative learning environment. We were able to read and write creatively while receiving constructive feedback on our work.

1. A multitude of resources were provided, creativity was highly encouraged

4. I loved this course. It has been quite a bit of work, but it was work that I liked doing and it was not stressful to do. The course has really inspired me to further my leisure reading of mythology and folklore tales. It's also made me realize that there's more creativity in myself than I thought. Anyone is capable of telling fun, interesting stories when they set their minds to it.

1. Not only were the topics each week extremely interesting, but the assignments ensured we understood the material while allowing us to be creative.

1. The assignments were consistent each week, and challenged us to explore the creative side of our brains.

1. It challenges you to be creative which is not something that is often seen in my class. It also greatly helped my writing ability.

1. Independent thinking, critical thinking, the teachers knowledge of the subject matter and creativity

1. I loved being able to write what I wanted and not be graded subjectively. It made it easy for me to be creative!

1. Not having exams alleviated a lot of unnecessary stress from the course. Being graded based on completion rather than content encouraged me to be creative with my writing.

4. The content was relevant to the class and I learned so much about perspective and creative thinking from the other students.

1. Truthfully, everything. Every aspect of this course was planned and executed perfectly. I love that the course was graded on accumulated credit instead of percentage of credit; it encouraged exploratory learning that was perfect for the material. I also really liked the storybook project as a semester-long creative expression, inspired by course material.

4. It was great and a lot of fun. I learned a lot about folklore and stories from the past. Everything was super interesting and the writing assignments were fun as well since it was creative writing.

1. Taking this course, you learn to write creatively and manage your time well.

4. I loved it! I absolutely love the format of this class, because it inspires students to be creative and take advantage of their ability to write and create, which is something I haven't done in years, unfortunately. I used to think that having fun in class was not possible, when you're constantly bombarded with heavy science courses and students are mostly suppressing any form of creative thought. But, this class has really revitalized that fossil of me years ago, where having fun, being creative and inspired through writing and reading about other cultures is celebrated. Overall, a wonderful course!

1. Laura is great. She really allows you to think freely and write in creative ways.

1. This was the best class. I loved how I was able to set my own schedule and that I could do my work when I wanted. I also loved that I was able to be creative while improving my writing skills!

1. The Internet setup and the ability to freely voice our opinions and not be criticized for our creativity.

1. Fantastic readings, assignments bring out creative side of students, medium for doing assignments teaches students more computer-based/internet usage skills (indispensable)

1. This class really encouraged creativity and critical thinking.

1. The final storybook project is always my favorite thing. It really allows for my creativity to shine, and I always love moulding the pages into what I want.

1. The freedom to be creative and put our own perspective into the stories was amazing. I've never taken a class like this before, and I loved every minute of it.

1. It allowed for critical and creative thinking and improvement in writing skills.

2. The only weak for me was that I had a hard time thinking outside the box and being creative with my posts. It took me a while to get the hang of it.

1. Definitely encouraged and developed my creative side, all while enhancing my knowledge of a completely different and totally captivating culture.

4. Fantastic! Really loved this course! Professor was accommodating and knowledgeable, and encouraged creativity while fostering learning.

1. VERY VERY organized. Allowed for the students to be creative. Wasn't boring.

1. The Professor was very good at staying engaged with the students. She showed a willingness to adapt to individual students to allow them to strengthen their writing skills and be creative.

1. I also like that some of the course was taken off of D2L and were were given the okay to be as creative as we wanted with out blogs. This made the class enjoyable.

1. The readings and creative writing assignments.

4. Amazing course, really improved my appreciation for writing and stirred up my creativity

1. The material was interesting and fostered creative learning. It helped my learn that I could write creative fiction effectively and that my writing could be interesting. I was able to retain a lot of the information from this course from the learning style fostered by the instructor.

4. I enjoyed this class. It encouraged me to be a more creative writer as well as a more independent thinker.

1. You were able to work well on your own and exert some creativity.

1. She did a fantastic job in promoting creativity and I loved every second of the class.

4. In my entire college experience, this class probably rates in the top 5 of classes I have taken. The way the course is structured and the other educational experiences that are involved with it (not just readings, but learning about social platforms and honing creative writing skills).

4. I loved the storybook that I wrote and had a lot of fun exercising my creativity this semester.

1. I liked that we had to dig into our creative side of our brain and create stories that build off of other stories.

4. Not only was this by far the best online course I've taken at the university, but it is up there with my on-campus classes as well. I learned more than I thought I would, not only about the subject matter but also about things I can apply in my other classes and in my life in general. This class was extremely helpful in learning about technology and expanding myself creatively.

1. This is by far the most amazing course I have taken in my whole college experience. The strong points that stand out to me include: time management choices, extremely well organized, creative, lots of choices, fun, encourages the use of technology, and let's not forget the instructor that created this whole amazing class.

1. There was a lot of activities that required creativity which made the course fun.

1. we created our schedule

1. Creativity

1. My creative writing skills greatly increased along with my storytelling ability. This class provided me with an ample amount of practice in these areas.

1. Being in a STEM major, I never get to write creatively anymore. Being in a class that encouraged me to write every day made me get back in the habit of reading and writing, which was fantastic.

1. Creative writing environment. I felt I grew as a writer and learned about new cultures! Very exciting to me.

1. Schedule available online, ability to write creatively, diversity of reading options, strong support and knowledge from the professor

1. I loved that we were able to break out of our shell and be creative. I also learned a lot.

4. It was very creative and helped with developing my writing skills.

1. I really liked how there were a lot of assignments and grades were given based on participation. I felt that I learned much more this way because the emphasis was on learning and creativity rather than a test.

1. Ability to think creatively, easy grading rubric, great help from the teacher

1. huge amount of creative freedom that made the class very fun

4. I really enjoyed this class and had fun doing the assignments. I felt like it gave me a creative outlet that I didnt have in my other classes.

1. The class encourages creativity and provides many helpful starting points for those creative projects. It's a GREAT tool for aspiring writers, or students who need to sharpen their writing skills, or anyone wanting to broaden their academic horizons.

4. I am very happy I took it! I think I learned a lot more about different cultures and their values than I ever had before, which was cool. I also learned a lot about myself- beliefs, likes, dislikes, etc.- than I thought I would since a lot of the assignments provoked personal thought about how my reactions. I think I also became a more creative writer through the class simply because I was exposed to more styles.

4. I LOVED THIS COURSE! Every student should take it, it teaches time management, organizations, creativity, and how to become a better technical writer with no judgements.

4. Thank you for a wonderful and creative semester!

4. It was amazing! I wish that it could last longer. I feel as if there is more to learn, know, create and dissect.

1. I think the weekly stories are very important in developing creative writing skills.

1. I love this class - it encourages out of the box thinking and creative thinking which i love.

1. I loved the format of the course. I enjoyed taking the readings and synergizing them into a story of my own. It allowed for so much creativity and upper-level thinking about form and topics, it was just a blast

1. Everything! It was a great class to explore one's own creativity and trying our best!

1. I loved the ability to be creative in this course while still learning about Indian epics and culture.

1. Having the option to do what we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted. I think that she was very encouraging, and that she was very good at nudging us in the right direction. I also think that the free reign on our creativity in the class was very cool. It was a nice break from writing classes that want a regurgitated form of the rhetoric they expect.

4. Very fun and self paced. It really encouraged creativity, something I feel most college courses lack.

1. The subject matter for this class is interesting, and we had the opportunity to express our creativity by writing new stories each week.

4. I loved this class, and I would recommend it to anyone! I had the opportunity to read stories from multiple cultures/areas of the world, and think creatively by writing my own stories. I'm very happy that I took this class because it helped me realize how fun storytelling can be.

4. I really enjoyed the course! I was able to express my creativity and work on my writing skills at the same time.

1. Very fun, got to express myself creatively

4. This was by far my favorite class I have taken at OU. I love that it encourage creative thinking in a fun and interesting way. It also encouraged learning in new technological ways. I had never made a blog before, but I thought that this was the perfect way to learn how. It was a fun and engaging course and I enjoyed it very much.

1. I love that we are able to complete the course more or less on our own time.  I also loved that it gave me the opportunity to work more creatively than most college courses.

1. My favorite part of this course is that I get to be really creative and I'm not writing to please the prof like in other classes. She is always interested!

1. I love how Professor Gibbs allowed us to express our creativity, and she helped us get there with small steps.