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Course adds color to learning

An advertising class uses unconventional learning strategies to help students develop their creativity and employ new thought processes.

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Coloring, karaoke, arm wrestling: This is not kindergarten – this is the curriculum for Creative Thinking, an advertising requisite taught by Kimberly Cassady.

Cassady said the unique curriculum of the course is all in the spirit of achieving the class’ ultimate goals, which are encouraging creativity and inspiring new ways of thinking.

“We learn about steps to becoming a more creative person, sort of like marathon training,” Cassady said. “We do all sorts of activities to correspond with the step of the day. So, if we’re learning to be more like a child, crayons or Play-Doh will definitely be involved in the day’s activities. And Disney radio will be playing on Pandora.”

Cassady has been teaching fall, spring and online summer classes since 2008. She said she loves being involved with Temple, her alma mater.

“After graduation, I jumped from place to place trying to find my perfect job,” Cassady said. “My role was always graphic designer or marketing coordinator. It wasn’t until I joined the advertising department as an adjunct that I found what I was looking for. I love teaching, and I still get to do freelance graphic design. Outside of work, you’ll find me looking through my camera lens, playing with fondant and other cake decorating goodies or Pinterest crafting away.”

According to the class mission statement, this course uses team-oriented sessions to develop the creative skills necessary for solving advertising problems. A cross-discipline approach is utilized, and people whom Cassady called “creatives” from various advertising and nonadvertising disciplines participate as guest facilitators and speakers.

The description excludes the “acting, music and laughing” that Cassady highlights as integral to the curriculum, which students seem to readily accept.

Senior advertising major Victoria Sklar named a plethora of unconventional classroom activities that students would be hard-pressed to find in other jurisdictions on campus.

“We made monsters, talked about campaigns and played plenty of games,” Sklar said. “We watched a couple Disney movies and looked for branding in [them].”

While the unorthodox exercises and relaxed atmosphere create a classroom environment appreciated by many students, Sklar said she has not forgotten the core values and lessons instilled by her enthusiastic educator.

“The class inspired my brainstorming process,” Sklar said. “I actually taught an advertising class and used one of the techniques. It was how to sell ice to an Eskimo and it really worked.”

Brynn Kelly, a senior advertising major, said she believes Cassady’s influence lasts much longer than a semester.

“I thought she was very energetic and really cared about everyone doing well,” Kelly said. “You were never bored in her class. She is a really great resource to have for letters of recommendation and she’ll always remember you.”

Kelly said no advertising course has challenged her to think outside the box quite like Cassady’s Creative Thinking.

“I would have taken the class even if I wasn’t in advertising,” Kelly said. “I still remember when we learned origami. I couldn’t really do it, but I made a little bunny and thought it was cute.”

Although Cassady describes her schedule as “pretty busy,” she said het interests and experiences outside the classroom translate into teaching tactics.

“Creativity rocks,” Cassady said. “It has so many facets and is never dull. I love taking students on a journey outside of advertising to explore other creative endeavors like cooking, music, interior design, party planning and all sorts of other things. Learning to be a more creative person is such a fun process, and I love watching my students blossom.”

John Corrigan can be reached at john.corrigan@temple.edu.

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