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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Heidi Steveson

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Amy Scott


The ability to think creatively has been recognized as a skill necessary for design students’ personal and professional development and success. Therefore, in recent years, the core educational aim of design education in China shifted emphasis from training students in skills such as drawing and painting, toward encouraging them to be creative and become problem-solvers. Based on a non-equivalent control group, pretest- posttest design, this quasi-experimental study examined the effectiveness of a creativity course in developing creative thinking in Chinese university design students. The researcher developed a ten-week course plan in concordance with Davis’ AUTA model (1982) (a model of creativity development based on Awareness, Understanding, Techniques, and Self-Actualization) to improve students’ creative thinking. This research design used a convenience sample of two first-year design classes that comprised a treatment group of 31 students and a control group of 31 students, making a total of 62 participants. The treatment group took the ten-week creativity training course, whereas the control group did not attend the course. ANCOVA was used to analyze the pretest and posttest scores for the Figural Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The results showed there were significant differences between the treatment group and control group on overall posttest scores and three subscores of creativity thinking in Fluency, Originality and Elaboration. Although there were no significant differences in two subscores of creative thinking, the treatment group did show improvement on all five subscores. The results demonstrated that the ten-week creativity training course improved design students’ creativity level, especially in the overall creative thinking. Recommendations for both educational policy makers and educators based on this study include: a) allowing creativity enhancing instruction as separate courses to become an integral part of the design educational process and no longer consider it as the inessential of the design curricula; b) providing students more opportunities to use creative skills and creative thinking techniques to solve real design problems; c) providing pre-service and in-service teacher training programs to implement creativity instruction effectively.





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