The 10 Coolest College Courses

Looking for a college class to take this Spring? Inventive faculty members are finding different ways to spice up college courses.

lady gaga performing at monsters ball-resized-600Popular culture by its nature celebrates the here and now.  But how has the ‘here and now’ changed over time?  That’s just one of the questions that the course entitled From Elvis to Lady Gaga: American Pop Culture 1950-2010 at Saint Leo University (Write a review of Saint Leo Universityand tell perspective students why they should go) in Florida will explore.  The instructor of this course notes that the class is full with numerous other students asking permission to take the course.

At Texas Christian University (write a review of Texas Christian University and tell others why they should go) students will be producing their own campus reality television program this fall.  The show, titled “Top Grad,” will choose 10 students to compete in a series of academic challenges.  For example, one week students may be asked to perform a ballet and the next dissect a fetal pig.  Dance majors could not win the ballet challenge.  Students will write and produce this year’s show.  Three TCU classes help to write, direct and produce the show.  It’s the first time that students and faculty have produced a reality television show.

Video game fans will like a course taught by Jeff Ritchie, professor of digital communications at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.  This semester-long course entitled Video Games: History, Theory and Social Impact examines video games as cultural artifacts, narratives and works of art. (Write a review of Lebanon Valley College.)

For young independent filmmakers, the Sundance Film Festival is a yearly attraction not to be missed.  Students at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, have the option of taking the January term class entitled Beyond Hollywood: The Sundance Film FestivalIn this course, students will explore the paradox between the mainstream and independent cinema since the 1960s.  The course culminates with a trip to the festival held in Park City, Utah.  Eckerd, an institution that founded the January term back in the 1960s, has more than 15 off-campus destination trips including to places such as Tokyo, Italy and Africa. Write a review of Eckerd College and tell prospective students why they should attend.

why do fools fall in loveAs college students try to gain a greater understand of themselves, courses on relationships and cognitive thought are increasingly popular with students.  At Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, a course entitled Perception is being taught this spring.  The course will study the various senses; how they function; and how one’s needs, desires, expectations, and previous experiences influences perception.  (Be the first to write a review of Meredith College.) Howard Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver will teach a course entitled Why Do We Fall in Love?  Understanding the Magic, Mystery and Meaning of Love this spring.

If you like novels by Vonnegut, movies such as Dr. Strangelove and The Graduate, and music from The Beatles to Motown, then you’ll love the Birmingham-Southern College January term course entitled The 1960s in Fiction, Film and Song.  If the music and life of Bob Dylan is more suited to you, BSC offers Bob Dylan: A Complete Unknown, which examines the life, times, music and poetry of Dylan.  If you prefer branch out to learn more about rock and roll, the course History of Rock and Roll at York College of Pennsylvania might be the best option. (Be the first to review York College of Pennsylvania.)

Baseball has long been seen as a point of fascination for some scholars, both statistically and historically.  Jeff Barton teaches a January term class at Birmingham Southern College entitled Baseball Statistics.  The course examines when bunting is an effective strategy, the statistics behind pinch hitters, and conventional wisdom that baseball has been slow to accept. 

mayan calendar-resized-600Observing societal behavior has often a favorite among college students.  For those folks who enjoy doomsday predictions, the Lebanon Valley College course End Times could be of interest.  For centuries, religious people have harbored the suspicion that at some point in time known only to the gods, those gods would bring about the culmination of human history. This course will look at the development of these ideas, considering the Biblical material, as well as the influence of other Near-Eastern religions, and the sudden interest in Mayan prophecies centered around the year 2012. (Write a review of Lebanon Valley College.)

On a much lighter note, Robin van Tine at Saint Leo University entitled Creating Sustainable Societies.  This course is designed to help the student consider how human societies must change in order to create a long-term sustainable interdependent relationship between humans and the rest of the ecosphere. Current rates of human population growth, habitat destruction, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, soil erosion and desertification, extinction of species, air and water pollution, living and mineral resource depletion, and waste production point towards an unsustainable future without significant changes. (Be the first to write a review of Saint Leo University.)

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