Re-focusing the Creative Process: Blending Problem-Based Studio Practice and Online Reflection

Refocusing the Creative Process

  • Ben John Cunningham Millersville University


To promote the development of greater creativity in my students’ design work, I created an online tool—called Reflective Inquiry (RI)—that accompanies all of my open-ended assignments  and that I require students to submit with each project.  The RI is composed of a series of prompts that students must respond to, almost daily, to explain and illustrate their thinking processes and decisions.  I ask students to think critically about questions such as “what don’t you understand about this assignment?”  “what materials are you exploring?” and “why these materials?”  In addressing a series of questions about basic ideas, historical research, materials, production, and future application of concepts, students articulate their thinking, acknowledge their confusions, identify creative concepts, and observe their own artistic development.  Being digital, RI can house student audio and video examples of their work in progress as well as serve as a dynamic platform for critiquing and classroom sharing.

Author Biography

Ben John Cunningham, Millersville University
Associate Professor, Freshmen Foundations in Art and Design Coordinator
Case studies of PBL and reflections on PBL in practice