artificial intelligence

Module 1: Growth Mindset


This assignment will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

  • Read the webpage itself (5-10 min)
  • Watch the videos (25 min)
  • Post your thoughts to slack (15 min)
  • Complete the declaration in canvas (5 min)

What is a growth mindset?

Have you heard about the idea of a “growth mindset?” Or perhaps the alternative a “fixed mindset”? Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford University, introduced the idea that if you believe you can change and you believe you can grow and learn, that you will.  This is related to the idea that the brain is a muscle.  If you exercise a muscle, it gets stronger!  If you believe that your intelligence is not just a fixed quantity but rather something you can exercise and grow, you have a growth mindset.  


Why is a growth mindset useful to you?

I have two reasons I want you to learn about a growth mindset.

  1. It is useful for you, as a lifelong learner.  
  2. It is useful for the topics we are covering here, which are difficult to address (and which I hope you bring to the rest of your life!) and it is related to the idea of focusing on learning and curiosity, which we are doing with ungrading.

Learning that your abilities can grow and stretch and that you are not just a fixed learner changes your whole outlook on life.  My goal is that you take what you have learned in this class with you into the rest of your life.  You will be creators of technology, with or without AI.  You need to think hard about the impact of what you are creating or even what you are asked to create.  Stretch yourself, set high goals, and keep learning so that we create the best future world that we can!

On the diagram on the right, you see some of the differences in outcome between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.  The growth mindset is associated with lifelong learning and curiosity and overall with reaching a higher level of potential.

Learning more about a growth mindset

Let’s learn more about the growth mindset from Prof. Dweck herself!  There are books and articles out there on the web as well as some great videos.  The article where I found the image above is a nice summary article of Prof Dweck’s book.

First, let’s watch Prof Dweck’s TED talk called “The Power of Believing you can improve”.  There is also transcript available.  This video is about 10 minutes.


This a short video on the need to make challenges the new comfort zone (2 minutes).  There are no captions on YouTube for this video so go to this page to get a transcript.


Finally, another quick (10 minute) video with Prof Dweck.  This one is an animation so it is cute.  The transcript is autogenerated from YouTube.  If the transcript shows up in Hebrew for you (as it did for me!), click on settings to switch it to English (if needed).


Implementation of a growth mindset in the classroom

We know for a scientific fact that the brain is not fixed and it can learn and change over time.  Neurons are replaced, if there is trauma, we know other parts of the brain can help to adapt or even learn new tasks!  

Even with that knowledge, some people have criticized the growth mindset.  These criticisms are more about how it has been implemented rather than the idea itself.  As with any idea, it can be implemented well or poorly.  We aim to implement it well in this class!  One way we are focusing on enabling this is with the ungrading.  If you focus on the learning and engagement in class rather than “what will get me an A?” you are really focusing on a growth mindset!

Discussion post

Now that you have learned about growth mindset, go onto slack and post some of your thoughts about this.  Here are some ideas for questions to answer but please feel free to post your own thoughts and questions as well!

  • How do you see yourself on this spectrum?  Do you envision yourself with a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?  Do challenges discourage or invigorate you?
  • What do you know about your learning?  What are your biggest challenges when you start to learn a new thing?
  • How do you see a growth mindset applying to your learning outside of class?

Submit your grading declaration

OU students should log onto canvas and complete the grading declaration titled “Module 1: Growth Mindset.”