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Session II Course Descriptions

Big History: Finding Humanity’s Place in the Universe

Even though human civilization has only been around for roughly 5000 years, most historical studies focus only on this period, ignoring the 13 billion years that led up to it. In this course, we will widen the scope of history to include the whole timeline, analyzing and exploring how the momentous events that took place before the earliest humans have impacted our lives and societies up to the present.

Using David Christian’s Maps of Time as a guide, we will incorporate astronomy, geology, and environmental science to develop a more complete account of history and humanity’s place in it. We will challenge common misconceptions of cause and effect in history, and provoke students to look at human history with a more critical lens. In doing so, students will be better equipped to understand modern society as it stands today by having a fuller appreciation of the colossal forces that have and continue to impact our daily lives in countless ways. To achieve this goal, course activities will include reading, discussion, and research into a wide array of topics.

Textbook
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History by David Christian

Instructor
Andrew Peake, Instructor, Special School District of St. Louis County. B.A. History, M.A.E.History/Social Science, Truman State University.

 

Bright Ideas: Exploration of Light’s Role in our World

Why is the sky blue? How do rainbows form? How do our eyes receive images from the outside world? How does your cell phone display cat memes? Why can I actually see myself in the mirror? What’s going on with the album cover for The Dark Side of the Moon?

Equipped with lenses, mirrors, prisms, and a host of light sources, we will carefully develop three models of light to help explain these phenomena and more. By the end of the course, you will have a detailed understanding of what light is and how it makes the world remarkable. You will never see the world in the same light again. There will be lasers.

Textbook
TBA

Instructor
Joe Milliano, Instructor of AP Physics, Parkway West High School. B.A.Physics, B.S. Mathematics, M.A.E. Math/Physics, Truman State University.

 

Computers in Art and Design

Explore how the computer has been integrated into the image-making processes by incorporating traditional art processes such as drawing and markers with modern Graphic Design software. Learn how professional artists, designers, and illustrators utilize the power of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other software to create digital artwork and enhance images to create digital graphics such as maps, posters, and postcards. The basic features of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be explored through tutorials and original artwork will be produced when techniques are mastered. By the end of the course, students will have a digital and print portfolio consisting of several projects. Students will also utilize digital cameras, scanners, and output to laser/inkjet printers. Quad-Core Intel Macintosh computers (the industry standard platform) power this exploration into the realm of digital imagery.

Enrollment limited to 20 students. Course fee for class supplies and materials is $65.00.

Badges
This course awards digital badges for completion of certain competencies.

Textbook
No textbook required.

Instructor
Matthew Derezinski, Professor of Art, Visual Communications, Truman State University. B.F.A., Visual Communications, Kansas State University. M.F.A., Visual Communications, Kansas State University.

 

From Page to Stage: The Performance of Literature

When we think of literature, we often think of curling up with a book and enjoying the experience alone, engaging with a world co-constructed by the author and our own imagination. However, reading and experiencing literature does not have to be a solo. It can be shared, part of a communal experience in which we gather together to discover the meaning of a literary work through the art of performance. This is the focus of our class, finding new ways to experience literature together as we take it from page to stage.

In this class, we will explore how performing literature can be a method of communication and argument. As part of this exploration, We will discuss the theoretical, practical, and ethical principles of oral interpretation of literature. We will learn about the characteristics of three primary literary genres (prose, poetry, and drama), their unique performance demands, and how we can bring them to life through our voice and body. We will also discover the different ways we can communicate through oral interpretation of literature, such as communicating identity, exploring culture, constructing argument, and performing social protest. To learn performance and literary interpretation is to work with it, so much of our class will include active work shopping and discussion of different literary works, playing with readings and practicing performance as a way to understand our material. Additionally, each student will be building building toward a final performance where representatives from class will be selected for a final showcase event!

Textbook
TBA

Instructor
Christopher P. Outzen, Instructor of Communication, Truman State University. B.A. University of Northern Iowa, M.F.A., Minnesota State University, Mankato.

 

Introduction to Chemistry

The course will introduce you to the scientific process by exploring fundamental concepts in chemistry in the context of contemporary environmental and societal issues.  A broad range of topics will be explored throughout the session, including the atom and atomic structure, molecules and chemical bonding, chemical nomenclature, writing and balancing chemical equations, the mole and molarity, and the relationship between chemical structure and function. You will participate in several laboratory experiences in which you will learn to work safely in the laboratory and make careful observations of chemical reactions and phenomena in order to draw useful conclusions from your experiments.  You will also have the opportunity to explore and share new topics through brief class presentations.

A key component of the course involves inquiry based learning as a means to understand the process by which new scientific knowledge is developed.  For example, in the laboratory you will synthesize a compound of unknown composition and use a variety of tools to deduce the structure of this new material.  Examples of other experiments include determination of water hardness of samples from local sources, the synthesis and analysis of biodiesel, chromatographic characterization of chemical mixtures, analysis of artificial blood, the study of dyes through the making of tie dye T-shirts, as well as the opportunity to develop and perform chemical demonstrations for your peers.

Textbook
Chemistry Essentials for Dummies and a course packet which includes laboratory experiments and supporting materials for the lecture.

Instructor
Brian Lamp, Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Truman State University.  B.A. Augustana University (SD), Ph.D. Iowa State University.

 

Monsters: Using Big Screen Frights to Think Critically About the World Around Us

This course teaches our students much more than the “do’s” and “do nots” of surviving a horror movie. Using a combination of films, literature, and discussion, we will study the horror genre, using monsters as a metaphor to explain the nuances of different cultures and societies. Students will explore many STEM fields along with the humanities, learning practical skills of disaster preparedness alongside critical thinking skills in the classroom.From shelter building, to crisis management we will learn to take care of ourselves and others in times of disaster.  Surviving is only half of the battle. The films and literature of the horror oeuvre will serve as a jumping off point as we use monsters as a metaphor for exploring current and historical cultures and societies.The students final project will be to use what we have learned about disaster preparedness and horror movies to create a Public Service Announcement that uses their critical thinking skills to link our new knowledge of these ghouls with an actual problem we could all face.

Badges
TBD

Textbook
TBD

Instructor
Tyler Unsell, Director of Debate and Forensics, Park Hill School District. B.A., Truman State University. M.A.E., Truman State University.

 

Reading Between the Panels: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Sequential Art

In his book Understanding Comics Scott McCloud explains that the potential of comics is limitless, but has been constrained by its perception in popular culture. In this course we will explore the true potential of the medium by reading and analyzing comics (also known as graphic novels) as a form of both art and literature. Using McCloud’s Understanding Comics  as a guiding text we will learn about the history of comics as well as ways to interpret the combinations of words and pictures within comics. We will put our understanding of sequential art into conversation with other mediums that use words and pictures to make meaning such as advertisements, art, and film. This course will also invite students to think critically about what they read and to consider the ability of literature to shape our understanding of who we are and  how we interpret the world around us.

Daily activities will include reading, writing, and discussion. While we may try our hand at producing some comics ourselves, artistic ability is not a requirement for this course.  

Badges
TBD

Textbook
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, fiction and nonfiction graphic novels TBD

Instructor
Rachel Brown, Instructor of English, Raytown High School. B.A. English, M.A.E. English, Truman State University.

 

Science of Secrecy

Can you keep a secret a secret?

Suppose you need to get an important message to your best friend Remington, but you are afraid that your arch-nemesis, Sly (a master of cryptanalysis!) might try to intercept the message and read it for his own evil purposes.  How can you encode your message so that Sly will not be able to decipher it?
What if you need to establish communications with your ally Natasha, and the only channel of communication available is one that can be accessed by anyone. How can you agree out in the open on a procedure for Natasha to encipher her message, which will permit only you to decipher it?

In this course we will study the mathematics of cryptology as we look at the most famous methods of encryption dating back two thousand years to the age of Caesar right up through high-tech applications for securing communication on the internet.  Students will have opportunities to make and break many of the codes we study.  We will discuss dramatic historical events in which cryptography played a key role, including the breaking of the German Enigma code in World War II.  Along the way we will see how methods of cryptanalysis were used to interpret Egyptian hieroglyphics, and we will study unusual methods of encryption, such as the use of the Navajo language during World War II. We also peer into the future and contemplate what impact quantum computers will have our ability to keep our communications secret.

Textbook
TBA

Instructor
Tony Vazzana, Professor of Mathematics, Truman State University.

 

Targeting the Message: A Hands-on Approach to Strategic Communication

With vast amounts of information bombarding people every day, understanding how to break through the noise and effectively deliver a message is becoming more important. Businesses and organizations have many tools to choose from when trying to reach out, but effective communication means understanding who to target and crafting a message that resonates with the recipient.

In this course, students will learn about public relations and how it is used by organizations to build a stronger relationship with its publics. Class discussions will include ethical concerns in Communication, Journalism’s and Public Relation’s role in society, and the use of social media as a tool for effective communication. Students will also learn the art of interviewing and editing. Students will create a Public Relations campaign, including identifying key publics and creating targeted messages. Activities will include writing press releases, basic graphic design, photography and promoting activities within JBA.

Textbook
None

Instructor
Don Krause, Associate Professor of Communication, Truman State University.  B.A., Western Illinois University; M.A, Ball State University.

 

Why We Fought: American Wars from World War I to Iraq

The course covers the major American conflicts from the start of the 20th century to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the focus of the course will examine these conflicts from the U.S. foreign policy perspective, some attention is given to the role of domestic public opinion as well as foreign perspectives on the conflicts.

There are three learning objectives for this course. First, students should gain a deeper understanding of US conflicts over the past century and how these conflicts shaped the US into the global leader. Second, students will attain a better theoretical understanding of why countries fight. Finally, students will discuss and attempt to determine what countries can attain from conflict and if it’s worth the price.

Aside from the normal classroom activities, the class will take two field trips. The first will be to Laclede, Missouri to visit the Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site. Students will take a tour the famous US Generals boyhood home and see how he lived and discuss his accomplishments. The second trip will be a two day trip to the World War I Museum in Kansas City Missouri and the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. There they will explore wartime documents and memorabilia before undertaking role-playing activities where students will decide how to deal with the growing differences between the U.S. and its Soviet allies near the end of the war in Europe.

Course Fee for the overnight field trip is $150.00.

Badges
This course awards digital badges for completion of certain competencies.

Textbook
International Politics and Zombies

Instructor
Michael Rudy, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Truman State University. B.S., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; MA, Eastern Illinois University; Ph.D., University of Missouri.