The Creative Project: Design, Implementation, and Assessment

Teresa L Larkin


One of the primary objectives in most STEM classrooms is to provide educational experiences that will build and enhance students’ ability to think critically and to solve a wide set of different types of problems. To be competitive in the increasingly global society of the twenty-first century, scientists and engineers must often be able to innovate and “think outside the box” when solving a problem or designing a new tool or product. Within a typical STEM classroom, however, assignments often focus primarily on solving textbook-type problems that allow little room for innovation and creative thinking. While these textbook-type problems help students develop their critical thinking skills, they do little for helping them learn to think creatively and innovatively. There is a need for pedagogical activities that include a creative component that would all students to become creative and innovative thinkers. The objective of this paper is to showcase some examples of assessment activities that can be used to facilitate the creative component of student learning in a physics course. The course is entitled Changing Views of the Universe and is often taken by students to satisfy the university’s general education requirements towards graduation. The activities assessed in the course include reading quizzes, free-writing assignments, a short paper activity, a creative project, and a final exam. Emphasis will be placed on the design, implementation and assessment of the creative project activity which was first piloted in spring 2014. A discussion related to student perceptions of the activity will be included. In addition, a summary of some of the lessons learned during the implementation phase will be shared.


alternative assessment, authentic assessment, creativity, formative assessment, innovation, student learning, written and oral communication

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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