This dissertation encompasses three articles concerning Sawyer's (2007) theory of group flow in the context of higher education, including a literature review, and two interpretive studies. In the literature review and in the first interpretive research article, the results of the research illuminated the applicability of themes of group flow in collaborative settings in higher education in themes of vision, ownership and contribution, and communication. The final article provides a description of the roles of student lead and professor in this environment and the unique ways that they may have encouraged those themes in the studio. The context for this study was the BYU Animation Studio, using video footage of students working in the computer lab, in their Daily meetings, and video interviews with students and professors in the program. The footage focused on one year of the senior project, with a core group of students coordinating efforts to create an animated short. Students involved in the senior film were mostly juniors and seniors coming from different academic departments, including Fine Arts, Engineering, and Computer Science. In the descriptive article, we gained further insights into the experience of group flow in a higher education setting. Several of the themes from the data resonated with the literature on group flow. Students working on the project had both project and people-oriented goals. They took initiative to solve problems and work through personal conflicts with group decisions, and made efforts to share their knowledge with other students. As group members communicated, they often validated and built off of others' ideas, putting the interests of the group above personal interests. In the same context, using the same methods, we were able to observe ways that student leads and teachers tried to enhance the group experience. Student leads and teachers made different contributions in that respect. Student leads contributed the actual project vision, breaking up the project into tasks for which students could volunteer and take initiative. Student leads also promoted friendship and communication within the group. Professors taught collaboration skills, and supported student initiatives. Professors also provided opportunities for students to collaborate across departments, while practicing collaboration between faculty members.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





group flow, education, creativity, collaboration, innovation, flow, studio, inter-departmental collaboration