Myth and Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings
Tiny Centre College makes their second appearance on our list, this time with a class focusing on contemporary epics. Students not only study Stars Wars, The Matrix, and The Lord Of The Rings, they also discuss television shows like Star Trek, Stargate, Dr. Who, The X-Files, and Babylon 5. The course weds these modern day tales to classical myths, showing that many of the narrative devices and patterns employed then are still used in today’s epics.
Seriously. Stargate and Star Trek? I would get a A+. I am ready to take the final exam right now.
The Science of Superheroes
University of California at Irvine
Students at UC Irvine can learn about physics by using familiar superhero icons such as Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The professor teaches the physics of flying and fluid dynamics using Superman as his example, and the students also learn about super strong spider silk as used by Spider-Man. The professor explains it saying "It gives me a chance to talk about real science but in a context that is very familiar to the students".
The Art of Walking
This might sound like the epitome of college fluff, but it’s actually a class dealing with Immanuel Kant’s "Critique of Judgment". The course offers a mixture of lectures and walks around the Danville, Kentucky area including strolls through "nature preserves, battlefields, cemeteries, the nearby Shaker Village, campuses and farms". Students are also given freelance walking assignments in addition to more traditional college work like reading and term papers.
Philosophy and Star Trek
Georgetown University Philosophy classes often use pop culture to start discussion, there are even plenty of books out there with similar themes as this college class (here’s Seinfeld and Philosophy for instance), but still, when it comes down to it, this course and the philosophical under trappings are just being used as an excuse to talk a little Star Trek. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. >>> Course Listing
Learning From YouTube
Pitzer College This college course literally involves watching YouTube videos to study the impact on culture that the video sharing site has had. Students also upload their own videos to the class YouTube channel. The teacher started the course after being "underwhelmed by the quality of the video content on the site". You can actually see some of the classes if you’re so inclined, here’s 10 minutes from their November 16, 2007 meeting. >>> Pitzer Class YouTube Channel
I am apparently getting much too serious a degree........where are these classes at my school?