Collaborative Creativity for Social Innovation and Human-Centred Design

Now being offered fully online


Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma (4 course program) towards the MEd Interdisciplinary


Fully Online


Four course topic delivered over Summer, Fall, and Winter terms


Graduate Program Administrator:
Brenda Tschanz

Academic Coordinator:
Dr. Robert Kelly

Program Overview

Be a changemaker. Learn to leverage collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking to achieve innovative outcomes in educational and other professional settings that would be unlikely or impossible to accomplish working as individuals. Collaborative creativity enables us to come together in a shared vision to leverage the diverse strengths of group members on the path for innovative solutions. Collaborative creativity is an educational imperative in 21st century education as it is essential to equip educators and learners with the capacities to innovate to adapt to perpetual change and to affect positive perpetual change. Truly collaborative cultures enhance innovative potentials exponentially by enabling the free flow of ideas in trusting, caring and inventive environments characterized by empathetic and generative listening. A central feature of this program is continual collaborative engagement in contextual personal and professional creative problem solving through design thinking and design practice across a wide range of real world contexts from the United Nations Sustainable Global Goals to the classroom or professional workplace. This is supported against a backdrop of both action and literature-based research into the fields of creativity, collaboration, social innovation and human-centred design. The research and experiential practice of program participants enables the application of collaborative creativity to the individual professional context of each cohort member.

Course/program textbook review

Program Details

Courses in this program are offered fully online. Courses are held in both an asynchronous environment (D2L) and a synchronous (real-time) environment (Zoom) which allows instructors to virtually meet and talk with students and experience a live exchange of ideas, hear class presentations and do group work with access to a whiteboard. For additional information regarding online delivery, refer to the Online Delivery eLearn website.

This program is for those wishing to become positive agents of change through the development of the capacities for innovation in a variety of real world applications through collaborative creativity and design practice. This program is for those wishing to develop collaborative cultures of creativity in their professional workplaces, classrooms, and across connected networks through a combination of first-hand action research supported by traditional literature-based research. This program is for those who wish to engage in interactivity and communication in a way to achieve high levels of collaboration that leverages the strengths of each group member to achieve what would be difficult or near impossible as individuals.

The Collaborative Creativity for Social Innovation & Human-Centred Design program is designed for educators from early childhood to post-secondary levels, and professionals from across the discipline spectrum who wish to develop comprehensive, design practice tactics and strategies to affect positive, innovative, collaborative change across a wide range of real-world contexts. This is accomplished through the establishment of a collaborative culture for creativity that is carried throughout the program to support the design work of all participants. Each program participant will be engaging in a highly supportive and interactive online regional, national and international community of collaboration and creativity throughout the program through the development of collaborative innovation networks to support the growth and development of their own work as well as the work of others in the cohort.

A registration package will be sent to new students after they have been admitted. Registration for the summer term will be available in late winter. Fall and Winter registration opens in the spring. Your Graduate Program Administrator will send more information about registration to you.

Fee details are available through the University Calendar. An explanation of fees is available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies' website.

The University of Calgary offers multiple ways to meet the cost of your education. Please refer to the Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries page to learn more about options available to students. For additional information, please contact Student Financial Support.

Connecting Research to Practice Conference

Collaborative Creativity for Social Innovation & Human-Centred Design


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Program Schedule & Course Descriptions

  • Program begins each Summer term (refer to the Academic Schedule for specific dates)
  • Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L
  • 3 units per course

Term 1 - Summer

The Collaborative Culture of Creativity

This course focuses on establishing foundational understanding of the central concepts of creativity, collaboration and design thinking for innovation through effective communication and interactivity. Emphasis is on establishing a collaborative culture of trust, caring and idea generation and sharing through large group and small group design tasks. Through action research, learn how to establish a collaborative culture of creativity that can apply to educational and professional environments. This collaborative culture is maintained throughout the program to support the creative design practice of each participant. This course marks the launch of a design initiative for an innovation relevant to the professional practice of each participant that is developed throughout the program.

Registration info:
EDER 678.75

Term 1 - Summer

Human Centred Design, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This course focuses on the theory and practice of human centred design, social innovation and entrepreneurship behind applying design thinking strategies and tactics for initiatives that benefit other people in the local, regional and global environments. Emphasis is also on the development of the entrepreneurial mindset to imagine new ways to solve problems and create value. This course marks the launch of a collaborative, small-group design initiative in the fields of human-centred design, social innovation and entrepreneurship that develops as action research throughout the program. Problems that can be tackled are based on individual interest and can range from local and professional environment problems all the way to the United Nations Sustainable Global Goals.

Registration info:
EDER 678.45 

Term 2 - Fall

Research in Creativity, Collaboration and Design Thinking

This course explores the foundational literature base and supplemental research resources in the fields of creativity, collaboration and design thinking. Participants will be engaging in an online community of inquiry to enhance the growth and development of research awareness as it applies to personal and peer research interests. This development is based on evidence of metacognitive growth and articulation of process documentation fortified with pertinent citation of research resources to enhance the depth of understanding of developing research contexts of ongoing design work. The group will collaborate to assemble a comprehensive academic literature review resource to serve group members in their professional environments and future graduate studies in education. Ongoing group and individual program projects that carry on through this course serve as an action research base for this course.

Registration info:
EDER 678.03 L01 (3349)

Term 3 - Winter

Sustainable Collaborative Creativity in Professional Practice

This course focuses on the long-term development of sustainable cultures of collaborative creativity in the educational and professional settings of cohort members. Design thinking methods and creative design practice are applied to a wide range of components that encompass professional educational practice and diverse professional environments transcending disciplinary contexts. The design of organizational structures, assessment design, learning experience design and education of the professional culture are just some of the areas of exploration for sustainable implementation. Program-long group, social innovation projects and individual collaborative creativity projects culminate in this course.

Registration info:
EDER 678.04 L01 (3241)