I want to tell you about my favorite day of class as an undergraduate student. Let’s flash back to autumn 2009 (my third year). I started my morning in the basement of Hughes Hall with my History of Rock ‘n’ Roll class. The lecture was on “Pop Music of the 1980s”—my favorite music genre. As expected, we spent the class period exploring the glory of one-hit wonders, synthesizers, and the first music video icons. And much to my satisfaction, we spent significant time learning about the pop icon, Michael Jackson. Not only did we observe the magic moves of MJ on the large projector screen, but we learned about the impact he had on music, dance, stardom, and race in America. We explored the meaning of the feuding characters in his Beat It video, the popularity of the 13-minute Thriller video (FYI, it was played on average twice per hour on MTV), and the historic event of revealing of his signature dance move—the Moonwalk.
I was fascinated to learn the true story behind one of my all-time favorite musical artists in a college academic course. I actually enjoyed learning in this class. I also gained a new perspective on a topic that impacts my daily life more than I realized. For instance…I finally learned how I’d answer the common conversation-starter, “What kind of music do you like?” with a response other than “Everything.” And I can hold my own in a debate over which decade produced the best music. I also have a new appreciation for music and pop culture because of my deeper understanding of its history.
And here’s the kicker: this class was in no way related to my majors or career interests. I took it for a general education (GE) requirement. That’s the beauty of GE classes and electives. By taking classes outside your major or career interests, you’ll become a more well-rounded and informed individual. In fact, in my list of favorite classes I took as an undergraduate, only three of my top ten would be courses within my major.
I hope you take advantage of the variety of GE and elective options at Ohio State. Take a class that sounds interesting or just because it sounds fun. You might discover a new interest, passion, or major/minor! If you don’t know how to find these “fun” classes, never fear. I polled my Facebook friends and Twitter followers (including recent alumni and current students) about their favorite undergraduate class at Ohio State. Here are some of their most interesting responses…
- ARTSSCI 4870: The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World — An introduction to the past and present of Ohio State, its importance, its disciplines, the interrelations of the academic and other components of the institution, and the contributions over the years of Ohio State to the wider world.
- MEDREN 2666: Magic and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance — A study of the history of witchcraft and magic from 400 to 1700 C.E. within sociological, religious and intellectual contexts.
- COMPSTD 2367.07: Religious Diversity in America — Exploration of the concept of religious freedom and the position of minority religious groups in American society.
- EEOB 2250: Dynamics of Dinosaurs — A review of current information on dinosaur biology, emphasizing scientific approaches to reconstructing dinosaurs as living, dynamic animals.
- ECON 4830: Economics of Sports — Analysis of economic and business aspects of sports teams and their strategic interactions in sports markets.
- FDSCTE 1110: Chocolate Science — Introduction to science and business of chocolate. Students develop and market a chocolate product as part of a virtual company. Students taste commercial products.
- ITALIAN 2055: Mafia Movies — Examines Italian and American mafia movies made from 1905 to the present day and traces the history of the Italian and Italian American Mafias. Taught in English.
- DANCE 2181: Social Dance — Learn and practice forms of social/ballroom dance, including fox trot, tango, waltz, etc.
- GEOG 3900: Global Climate Change: Causes and Consequences — Examines the natural and human factors that force changes in our climate and environment and explores strategies for a sustainable environment in the future.
- KNSFHP 1139.11: Rock Climbing — Basic rock climbing techniques, rope handling, and safety systems will be covered.
- ECON 4597.01: Issues of the Underground Economy — Focuses on the informal sector of the underground economy: illegal drugs, arms sales and human trafficking. Applies economic reasoning. Prereq: Jr standing and above.
- EARTHSC 1108: Gemstones — General introduction to gemstones, including the origin of gems, identification techniques, and the history of important gems. Precious metals are also discussed.
- GERMAN 3252: The Holocaust in German Literature and Film — Reading, analysis, and discussion of representative works pertaining to the Holocaust from the perspective of German literature and film. Taught in English.
- COMPSTD 2367.04: Science and Technology in American Culture — Role of science and technology in contemporary American society; their relationship to human values; sources of concern about their impact; evaluation of selected issues.