Teaching strategies to promote imagination and creativity through student choice

Darlene A. Smucny, Courtney Baker, Monisha Tripathy

Session Information

Year: 2016 | Time: 1:50pm-2:30pm | Location: Innovation Hall (Room 208)


High-agency learning activities empower students to take more active roles in their own learning, directed by their interests, curiosities, and choices. Educators, particularly K-12, have long asserted that student choice of learning activities encourages a greater degree of personal engagement with instructional content, leading to more confident, interested, imaginative, and creative students (e.g., Kohn, 1993; Ronan, 2015).  However, implementing these strategies at the college level often proves challenging as course instructors merge learner engagement strategies, such as student choice, while still sufficiently addressing course objectives and content. Additionally, creating  supportive classroom environments that promote “open-ended” assignments at times are met with student resistance. This session is designed to provide ideas and tips to instructors wishing to employ student choice to enhance active learning, imagination, and creativity in their courses.  Presenters will share best practices for implementing student choice in learning activities and assignments, primarily using examples from asynchronous and synchronous online courses across various disciplines at George Mason University. We also will encourage participants to reflect on how learning activities and assignments in their own courses might be adapted to include student choice to promote imagination and creativity in university-level learning across course delivery formats.


Kohn, A. (1993). Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide. The Phi Delta Kappan, 75(1), 8–20. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20405017

Ronan, A. (2015, March 20). 7 Ways to Hack Your Classroom to Include Student Choice. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.edudemic.com/7-ways-to-hack-your-classroom/


teaching online; creativity


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