Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worthless College Classes

Anybody see the relationship I see?






Anonymous said...

Seven of fifteen from the People's Republic of Kalifornia? Too easy!

Hot Sam said...

UC Berkeley has student-designed and led courses called De-Cals. They have to be approved by a sponsoring professor and the department, but as you can imagine they can get quite strange.

Actually, Strategy of Starcraft could be an AMAZING course. I was going to use it to teach ROTC cadets the Principles of War: objective, offensive, mass, economy of force, maneuver, unity of command, security, surprise, and simplicity.

Starcraft, Warcraft, Sim City, and Roller Coaster Tycoon are also great for teaching kids about economics: resources are scarce and must be allocated carefully among competing objectives.

What's more frightening about UC Berkeley are the courses taught by FACULTY members. Here's a list of courses taught in the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Department:

Note that it includes the "Theory and Practice of Meditation."

Read the description and tell me how many of these courses amount to nothing more than college credit for attending anti-war protests.

The UC Berkeley Executive Committee consisting of flaming liberals like Brad DeLong denied a minor in Military Science because the courses were "professional" in nature, weren't taught by "ladder faculty" and the course plan was "incoherent." But they have approved majors and minors in PACS, theater, and performance dance. ROTC students take more than 20 credit hours on top of all their other major, college, and university requirements but get no academic acknowledgement for it.

Apparently, dance, acting, and activism have social value, but "Leadership" is worthless.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that the #1 strangest class listed there is a legitimate college course. I watched the preview over at GamePro, and it is, by all appearances, a military and game theory class using StarCraft as a more experientially recognizable (and more readily quantifiable) platform than real-life war.

That said, they do have an optional "Practical Lab" that they use for "gathering statistics" (e.g. they play StarCraft).

The_Myth said...

Some of those courses simply use Popular Culture content to discuss complex issues (e.g. the Philosophy and... courses).

I've used Family Guy to teach Sociology before (along with more serious documentary-type material). The students *loathed* me for ruining the show for them! *mwahahahaha*

Kasia said...

I remember one of my undergrad profs wanted to teach a class on the Politics of Science Fiction...and the department chair had basically said "let's talk about it AFTER you get tenure...but you know you're going to get the demographic of a Rush concert..."

Unknown said...

Reminds me of this Minneapolis part-time teacher who had his kids play Halo to teach them economics or something. Who was that again? ;-)

But, really, these classes are legit and, as stated in a previous comment, just using pop culture to make really dry material more fun to learn. I.e. That "physics of superheroes" class is based off of a book, I presume, that I read. It was a fun way to learn some advanced physics, especially for people like myself who who learn better with application of the theory. Also that superhero physics author hails from the Twin Cities.