10 Freaking Awesome College Courses Found Around The United States


1. 21st Century Skills in Starcraft

Course Description:

21st Century Skills in Starcraft is an 8 week entirely online course that uses the popular real time strategy (RTS) game Starcraft to teach valuable 21st Century Skills through a hands-on approach. With society becoming increasingly technology-based and fast-paced, it is important for professionals to be highly proficient in skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making. These skills are fundamental in Starcraft and therefore make the game a highly effective environment for students to analyze and take action in complex situations. Computer and video games of all types have become a major part of today’s entertainment and technology worlds. Also, online education is an area of intense growth with many employers and professions using online courses and workshops for career development. This course synthesizes the three threads of 21st Century skill development, gaming, and online education into an innovative and experiential approach that encourages students to identify, learn, and practice crucial skills and apply and relate them to real-world situations. It does not teach about Starcraft, but rather aims to utilize the game and the complex situations that arise within it to present and develop the important skills professionals will undoubtedly need in the 21st Century workplace.

This course includes required weekly game play, viewing and analysis of recorded matches, written assignments which emphasize analysis and synthesis of real/game-world concepts, and collaboration with other students. Due to the unique and innovative nature of this course, there are several requirements that students must meet. Students taking this course must have access to computer (PC or Mac) and Internet resources outside of UF labs since it requires the installation and playing of a computer game. Students must also have at least basic knowledge of and experience playing Starcraft. Students must also be independent, self-motivated, and able and willing to learn in an entirely online environment. Enrollment is limited to 20.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: Anywhere from 1 to 10

Reason For Difficulty: It depends if you’re in a class with Koreans.

This professor has taken micromanaging and applied it to real-life situations. From critical thinking to problem solving, even decision making and taking risks, Starcraft makes for a useful educational tool. Too bad I couldn’t think of these reasons when my mom would scream at me to go bed playing FFA into the wee hours of the night. Not gonna lie though, I loved them UMS maps. The things you get to apply to real life could be what makes you successful: nr10 (no rush 10 minutes) — which we can translate to, don’t get married until you add 10 years to your current age; glhf (good luck, have fun) — enjoy life; among other things you newbs wouldn’t know about.

2. God, Sex, Chocolate: Desire and the Spiritual Path

Course Description:

Who shapes our desire? Who suffers for it? Do we control our desire or does desire control us? When we yield to desire, do we become more fully ourselves or must we deny it to find an authentic identity beneath? How have religious & philosophical approaches dealt with the problem of desire?

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 6

Reason For Difficulty: While I can enjoy chocolate, I can’t enjoy talking and listening about the path of my spirituality at the same time. Whenever chocolate is in my mouth, I consider that heaven.

3. Rhetoric 024: Learning How To Argue Using TV “Judge” Shows

Course Description:

TV “Judge” shows have become extremely popular in the last 3-5 years. A fascinating aspect of these shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or perversions of standard logic, and yet are used over and over again. For example, when asked “Did you hit the plaintiff?” respondents often say, “If I woulda hit him, he’d be dead!” This reply avoids answering “yes” or “no” by presenting a perverted form of the logical strategy called “a fortiori” argument [“from the stronger”] in Latin. The seminar will be concerned with identifying such apparently popular logical fallacies on “Judge Judy” and “The People’s Court” and discussing why such strategies are so widespread. It is NOT a course about law or “legal reasoning.” Students who are interested in logic, argument, TV, and American popular culture will probably be interested in this course. I emphasize that it is NOT about the application of law or the operations of the court system in general.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 3

Reason For Difficulty: You have to sit through episodes of Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown, what else do you want?

4. Sport for the Spectator

Course Description:

Develop an appreciation of sport as a spectacle, social event, recreational pursuit, business, and entertainment. Develop the ability to identify issues that affect the sport and spectator behavior.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 3

Reason For Difficulty: You’re out in the stadium and the objective of the course is for you to develop an appreciation for the sport. Pretend you love the game and you get an easy A. Unless, of course, you’re watching a football game in the dead of winter. Good luck to ya.

5. Zombies in Popular Media

Course Description:

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 figure’s many incarnations. Daily assignments focus on reflection and commentary, while final projects foster thoughtful connections between student disciplines and the figure of the zombie.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 5

Reason For Difficulty: You’ll have to read some material — that’s a given, but you’re also going to have to fit in watching poorly made zombie movies and catch up on the amazing The Walking Dead. Do you have enough time for this? Remember, you’ll be following an intense schedule.

6. How to Watch Television

Course Description:

This course, open to both broadcasting majors and non-majors, is about analyzing television in the ways and to the extent to which it needs to be understood by its audience. The aim is for students to critically evaluate the role and impact of television in their lives as well as in the life of the culture. The means to achieve this aim is an approach that combines media theory and criticism with media education.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 2

Reason For Difficulty: You actually get graded on watching television — okay, you analyze it, but don’t you do that already when you talk about the show with your friends?

7. Science of Superheroes

Course Description:

Have you ever wondered if Superman could really bend steel bars? Would a “gamma ray” accident turn you into the Hulk? What is a “spidey-sense”? And just who did think of all these superheroes and their powers? In this seminar, we discuss the science (or lack of science) behind many of the most famous superheroes. Even more amazing, we will discuss what kind of superheroes might be imagined using our current scientific understanding.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 8

Reason For Difficulty: Sounds like Professor X is dropping some knowledge buckets on us. I bet you that you’ll be reading up on some physics and advanced chemistry in this course.

8. Your Best Foot Forward

Course Description:

Everyone wants to make a good impression on others. A critical element to doing that is to have good manners – knowing how to write a proper thank you note to family vs. business associates vs. friends, knowing how to properly address people, knowing what fork to use at a dinner party. These are the type of topics which will be the focus of this course.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 3

Reason For Difficulty: Are you an unrefined mole rat? This is the course for you. Learn how to hold a fork and knife, write a thank you letter and a follow up e-mail. Learn some basic etiquette. In fact, this course should readily be available to everyone. Yes, you. I’m talking about you, ya beast.

9. Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond

Course Description:

Why would anyone want to learn Klingon? Who really speaks Esperanto, anyway? Could there ever be a language based entirely on musical scales? Using constructed/invented languages as a vehicle, we will try to answer these questions as we discuss current ideas about linguistic theory, especially ideas surrounding the interaction of language and society. For example, what is it about the structure of Klingon that makes it look so “alien”? What was it about early 20th century Europe that spawned so many so-called “universal” languages? Can a language be inherently sexist? We will consider constructed/invented languages from a variety of viewpoints, such as languages created as fictional plot-devices, for philosophical debates, to serve an international function, and languages created for private fun. We wont be learning any one language specifically, but we will be learning about the art, ideas, and goals behind invented languages using diverse sources from literature, the internet, films, video games, and other aspects of popular culture.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 7

Reason For Difficulty: Learn how to navigate syntax and be part of one of us. That’s right, being able to speak Klingon opens numerous doors that wouldn’t have been otherwise. majQa’ Sucheghmo’, jup!

10. Things That Go Bump in the Night

Course Description:

Introduction to mysterious experimental topics in the philosophy of mind. Brain-bisection and “split-brain syndrome” (two independent consciousnesses seem to inhabit the two separated brain hemispheres); “blindsight” (subjects see without visual sensations); “phantom limb phenomena” (pains are felt in an amputated and non-existent limb) after-image color (internal visual sensations with strong colour); “OOBEs” (out-of-body experiences, experimentally induced in recent experiments); the ambiguous figures, e.g. the “duck-rabbit” (without a change in stimulus, what is seen will assume a new aspect); “mental rotation” (experiments show subjects rotating mental images); and Libet’s experiment on free will (the physiological activity leading to an action precedes the conscious decision to act by 300 milliseconds). The leading idea of the course to uncover and study the premises in our conception of mind that make each experimental result so baffling. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or psychology required.

Course Difficulty [Scale 1 to 10]: 4

Reason For Difficulty: You’ll have to read a ton of scary stories, which will presumably keep you awake at night. Doesn’t help that Hamilton College is haunted as hell. Enjoy being alone at night!

Some of you are currently shaking your head asking yourselves, “Why? Why are we paying money to these fools? For this nonsense? These aren’t relevant to anything.” Well, an educational institution, although it fosters critical thinking, shouldn’t always be just purely academics — at least, how I see it. A little fun goes a long way. In a way, these courses are teaching students lessons about life that they won’t forget — unlike the three homologous series you find in aliphatic hydrocarbons. Engaging students means you’re going to get more out of them. These are just alternate and unconventional ways to get students to learn, and what’s so bad about that?

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