Stanford Professors Teach You About Creativity and Design for Free

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You may have heard about MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, which use the Internet to offer classes and connect people across the world interested in learning particular subjects. Many MOOCs are highly interactive, some are free, and they're available from for-profit companies as well as universities and colleges.

A MOOC that could be useful for CreativePro.com readers begins on July 22, 2013, and ends August 26. Run by Stanford University's Venture Lab, it's called "Design Thinking Action Lab". While taught by the deputy director of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), the class's emphasis on creative problem solving makes it relevant to creative professionals, too.

Here's an excerpt of the course description:

"In this experiential course, Leticia Britos Cavagnaro and her team will take you on a journey to learn the design thinking process. This methodology for human-centered creative problem solving is used by companies and organizations to drive a culture of innovation. The Design Thinking Action Lab will provide the inspiration, tools, and support you need to discover the joy of learning by doing as you tackle an innovation challenge in the real world.

"As preparation for each stage of the challenge, you will explore the main design thinking concepts through short videos, each paired with brief activities to practice relevant methods and approaches. There will be one weekly assignment reporting on your progress, as well as weekly Google hangouts with the instructor. On the last week of the course, you will apply the process to your own context and challenges."

I recently finished another free course from Venture Lab, "A Crash Course on Creativity". Every aspect was expertly crafted by the instructor, Professor Tina Seelig. Some weeks, I worked on my own: For example, I designed a cover for my fictional autobiography. Other weeks, I joined a team on group challenges that stretched our collective imagination. The self-selecting team was global, with participants from South America and Europe, which added to the fun.

I highly recommend that you visit the "Crash Course on Creativity" web page and sign up to be alerted when the class is offered again. It would be worth attending even if it weren't free. 

For more MOOC links, see "Top Universities and their MOOC Websites" and edX.

 

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