I asked three creative writing classes last semester what was creative writing. Only one student in one class ventured an answer, "Writing outside the boundaries."
It was the first day, and a lot of students were shy. I think some of the 75 students I faced that day knew the answer.
Yet, research shows that students sign up for classes primarily based on the time it is offered. Many are working jobs 20 or more hours a week to pay the high tuition. Many never bother to read the college catalogue.
I read the college catalogue out loud to them--I had a rare hard copy--and I wrote a definition of CW up on the black board. It's not fun, or it's at least disconcerting, to take a class and have your expectations blasted.
About 8 out of the 25 dropped. Of course, 8 new people added the next time, and some of them didn't know what creative writing was either. I repeated the definition in the second class.
I told the class that CW could involve genre busting--creating new boundaries--but as an intro class we'd be writing inside some boundaries, such as the form of the short story.