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In her Human Centered Design class at the Weatherhead School of Management, Tiffany McNamara noticed that some students stalled out before they even began. Many felt inhibited by limiting beliefs (e.g., “I’m not creative,” or, “I’m not artistic,”) when putting pen to paper or creating abstract designs with Play-Doh. She wanted to create an immersive atmosphere that freed students from these inhibitions and biases — a “level playing field” — where she hoped students would approach design prompts with more freedom and willingness. 

In the app developed by McNamara during her fellowship (Creativity Engine) users are given an array of familiar 3-D shapes (e.g., rectangle, cylinder, sphere) and a simple prompt (e.g., “Build a tool that could rescue a cat from a tree,”) and then sprint to create a prototype. So far in her classes and workshops using the app, she has seen a lighthearted, play-based approach, which in turn generates interesting discussion, ready collaboration, and unique results.


The IC Fellows Cohort is Provost-sponsored initiative since 2022 to expand CWRU's homegrown mixed reality (MR) educational programming throughout the university in ways that benefit learners. This one-year fellowship is free and open to all CWRU faculty and staff. Once selected, Fellows meet weekly at the IC to become fluent in the application and best practices of MR as a teaching tool and receive support in the design, build, and execution of customized MR applications.