Posts Tagged ‘college classes’
Today’s question comes from the 2011 National Survey on Student Engagement:
Only 70% of students frequently seek help when they do not understand course material.
Why don’t all students speak up if they don’t understand class information? What holds the other 30% back from seeking help?
Have a thought or an answer? Leave a reply below.
We’ve also asked our @Cappex Twitter followers to chime in! Here’s what people are saying on Twitter:
I took a couple, something on dinosaurs (which, to my surprise, did have more than one lecture simply stating, ‘And then they went extinct’) and one on Harry Potter. And you know what? Those professors know what they’re doing because I actually learned a lot more than I bargained for–a lot of information on how rocks form, which is WAY more exciting than it sounds, and a bunch of themes in British literature that even J.K. Rowling herself is not immune to (probably because she knew what she was doing while she was writing the best books ever).
What’s super neat-o awesome about a liberal arts education is that you can take a class on the metaphysical mechanics of Doc Brown’s time machine in Back to the Future, and you will leave knowing so much more about the world than you could’ve possibly expected. That’s the beauty of the liberal arts; it’s not just black and white. That’s why it’s important to study different mediums to discuss language, philosophy, science and history. Even if one of those fields is your major, there’s a good chance there’ll bee some cross-pollination (see what I did there?) You’ll have to know how to study history if you’re an English major and vice a versa.
So when you’re looking through that course guide, don’t just skip over the flashy pop culture courses because you think you won’t get anything out of them; you most definitely will.
On that note, here are 11 popular culture classes being offered this semester at colleges across the nation. Do any interest you?
1. Consumerism and Social Change in Mad Men America, 1960-1963
What it’s about: Taught and conceived by Professor Michael Allen, this Mad Men class will assign students to watch episodes of the popular TV series, which Allen believes accurately portrays American life in the 1950s-60s.
2. South Park and Contemporary Social Issues
What it’s about: Dr. Baron (Philosophy) and Dr. Raley (Sociology) of McDaniel College are using South Park–a show which has never shied away from tackling the big social issues from its own point of view–paired with historical and contemporary texts, theories, and concepts from sociology and philosophy to understand and discuss contemporary social issues.
3. Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame
University of South Carolina
What it’s about: Students who take the course with Mathieu Deflem will focus on relevant elements of the societal context of Lady Gaga’s rise to fame, with students better able to engage in scholarly thinking about relevant aspects of popular culture, music, and fame.
4. Zombies in Popular Media
Columbia College Chicago
What it’s about: This course explores the history, significance, and representation of the zombie as a figure in horror and fantasy texts. Instruction follows an intense schedule, using critical theory and source media (literature, comics, and films) to spur discussion and exploration of the figures many incarnations….beware…
5. Wordplay: A Wry Plod From Babel to Scrabble
What it’s about: Professor Joshua Katz teaches this course with the goal to bring together interesting reading, thoughtful scholarship, and hands-on revelry in the exploration of the ludic side of language. Linguistic play is part of many people’s normal experience (think of the daily crossword puzzle and the excitement that surrounds the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee) and yet it is widely considered a trivial pursuit, often childish (Dr. Seuss and counting-out rhymes) but sometimes abstruse (James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov).
6. “Oh, Look, a Chicken!” Embracing Distraction as a Way of Knowing
What it’s about:This course challenges the general conception that being distracted, i.e. students with A.D.D, infringe on “knowing”. T he course is all about ways of knowing, so it embraces the fact that we are distracted as a culture, why are we distracted, how can we embrace it and how do we get back to the thing that we were doing in the first place
7. What if Harry Potter is Real?
Appalachian State University
What it’s about: This course asks questions about the very nature of history. Who decides what history is? Who decides how it is used or mis-used? How does this use or misuse affect us? How can the historical imagination inform literature and fantasy? How can fantasy reshape how we look at history? The Harry Potter novels and films are fertile ground for exploring all of these deeper questions. Wingardium leviosa!
8. The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur
University of Washington
What it’s about: The course explores the philosophical, historical and literary influences of the late rapper and activist, Tupac Shakur.
9. Goldberg’s Canon: Makin’ Whoopi
What it’s about: Simply said, it’s a symposium on the career of Whoopi Goldberg.
10. Philosophy of Star Trek
What it’s about: Taught by Associate Professor Linda Wetzel, this course will go at light speed discussing topics in metaphysics that come up again and again in Star Trek. In conjunction with watching Star Trek, excerpts from the writings of great philosophers, extract key concepts and arguments will be assigned.
11. Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z
What it’s about: The course is taught by Michael Eric Dyson, who wanted to seriously investigate the fuss behind Jay’z rhetorical impact.
Do any of these classes pique your interest? What class would you want taught?
Over the weekend I began going through the ever-growing tower of past schoolwork I’ve kept from high school and college. I read through probably a hundred different papers I’ve written over the years. With each one, a little flood of pride swept over me–Wow, I knew what ‘Defenestration‘ meant?–and, ultimately decided to keep a bunch of them (and by ‘a bunch of them’ I really mean every single one).
You’re probably reading this post as a cry for help from my secret hoarder life, but it’s not (it is), it’s really not (I had to tunnel through my hallways filled with every newspaper since 1987 just to get to my room filled with 48 cats).
No, we’re talking about great college papers. With hindsight being 20/20, I was able to see what made some of my college papers works of, dare I say, genius, and others just kinda lumps of complicated words that didn’t really add up to much in the end.
Here’s my words of wisdom, which include the comments scribbled in the margins from professors who’ve read my papers:
1. You need to stop procrastinating now!
This one’s a bit obvious. But hey, here’s the simple fact: If you start your paper 5 hours before it’s due, chances are it will not be thoroughly researched, thought through, or finely edited. I’ve had my share of “let’s watch this marathon Law & Order all day and start writing at midnight” experiences. It shows in the work. If you start your paper when it’s assigned, you’ll have a chance to write an outline, fine-tune your thesis, and even sleep on your ideas. Letting your ideas marinate a bit will help them grow stronger, or will help you realize what works and what doesn’t. Give yourself the gift of time!
2. I’m confused, what’s your thesis?
Sometimes the things our teachers told us in high school don’t quite sink in. If that’s the case with what they taught you about a thesis, it’s definitely time to learn what a thesis is. The thesis in your paper is the argument you’re making. It can be as simple as “Juliette was stupid” or “Hamlet was a nutjob.” You can argue whatever you want, but it has to be a strong and interesting enough argument to carry through your entire paper.
3. Do you even know what this word means?
Avoid trying to sound smarter than you are. You are probably a very smart person. Using words because they sound esoteric will turn your paper into something pedantic and alien. Your teachers don’t care how much you can impersonate an academic voice as much as hearing YOU argue your thesis smartly and thoughtfully.
4. Did you read the book? I’m seriously concerned you didn’t read the book.
Read the book. They always know when you don’t read the book.
4.5 Please never write an essay in 15 pt Comic Sans Again. Please, I beg you.
5. Where’s the proof?
Once you have your thesis, go back carefully through the text to come up with evidence. Think of yourself as a little Sherlock Holmes and gather all the evidence you can for your argument. The proof is in the pudding. And in this case, the pudding is the text, not your memory of it.
Do you have any tips for writing a great college essay? Leave a comment!
If you’re a recent high school grad getting ready for college next fall, you probably cannot contain your excitement. College is the reason you’ve been working your butt off the last year and a half–and sometimes way longer. You’ve put blood, sweat and tears into your college applications (hopefully just metaphorically), and in just a couple of months you will finally reap the benefits of your hard work.
Often times, college freshman are so excited about just being in college that they lose sight of their academic aspirations. There’s so many other things to worry about–your living situation, new roommate, that guy down the hall who gave you some spare quarters so you could do a load of laundry, the 15 or so a capella groups you’re auditioning for, and not to mention the football game on Saturday.
So when it comes time to register for classes, you might be thinking the following thoughts:
What should I do? I gave this college classes thing no forethought. I’m never going to graduate. What do I want to do with my life?!
If that’s the case, here are 5 tips to help undecided freshman decide what they should register for their first semester:
1. Get your general education requirements out of the way
Most colleges and universities require that their students take a core curriculum. A lot of times, these classes might not have anything to do with your interest or major–English majors might have to take some quantitative reasoning and biology majors might have to take a a fine arts credit. Whether or not you know what you’re going to major in, getting your gen ed requirements out of the way is a great strategy. You don’t want to have to take a physics class you’ve been dreading your second semester senior year.
2. Follow your passions
Even if you’re not sure what you want to major in, you still have subjects you’re passionate about or at least enjoy. Chances are, your genuine interests will lead you to your field of study.
3. Choose by professor
Sometimes you don’t choose a class for the subject matter as much as you do because of the world renowned professor who teaches it. There might be a beloved or even quite famous and influential professor who teaches at your college that you have the opportunity to learn from!
4. Word of mouth
If you chat it up with upperclassman, your RA, friends of friends who go or have gone to your school, you might hear about a must-take class. It could be super interesting, it could be a great way to get a gen ed credit taken care of, just keep your ears open for what students are saying.
5. The “cool” factor
While browsing through your college’s course catalog, you might come across a class that makes you say, “Woah, they teach that here?” It could be a class about the Beatles, Harry Potter or even Star Wars. You never know! If you’re undecided, following what piques your interest is a great way to get started.
Do you have any tips for undecided college freshman? Comment and share!
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