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Home » Courses of Study » Session I Course Descriptions

Session I Course Descriptions

Advocacy, Argument, and Persuasion:
Classical Rhetoric in Contemporary Times

In a culture of 24-hour news, larger-than-life pundits and a blurring of the line between news and commentary, rhetoric and argumentation are a way of life in modern America. Argument now occurs in settings such as the halls of Congress, evening news talk shows, popular sports programming, and local city councils. Advocacy, in the form of advertising, is everywhere.  As consumers of media and participants in an increasingly adversarial culture, learning the critical principles and practices of advocacy and persuasion provides a basis for informed involvement in the world around us.

This course utilizes a perspective rooted in classical rhetorical theory as a mode of critical thinking and public involvement to study the processes of argumentation and persuasion in various interpersonal, political, academic and pop culture settings. Students will begin by engaging theories rooted in the classical rhetoric of the Greeks and Romans and evolve through contemporary models of argument. As a complement to this discussion of argumentation theories, students will employ various models of debate as a means to practice the ideas they learn.  Students will engage in argument by participating in visual argument, in-class debates, political debates and even humor to test their skills. Finally, lessons learned in all settings will be utilized as a framework from which to engage political discourses and persuasive popular media campaigns.

Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs

Jay Self, Professor and Chair of Communication, Truman State University.  B.A.Communication, Truman State University; M.S. Communication in Human Relations Texas Christian University, Ph.D. Communication Studies , University of Kansas


American History Through Sport

Whether you are an avid competitor, a diehard fan, or someone who just refers to it all as “sportsball,” competitive athletics loom large in American society. With larger than life personalities, labor disputes, battles over civil rights & equality, conflicts between superstition and science, and fights over maintaining tradition or embracing change, sport history is American history.

This course will study topics in American history through the lens of sport covering topics such as: European and Colonial origins of American sporting culture, Urbanization & the growth of organized games, Protest & Resistance on and off the field, Olympic Games & Cold War Politics, Sport & American Identity, and much, much more!

Students will read on a wide array of topics in sport, participate in competitive debates over topics in sport history, compete with each other in historical games (both games that survived to the modern era and those that did not), and conduct research over an American Sport History topic of their choosing.


Matthew Kennedy, Instructor of History, Kirksville High School. B.S. History; M.A.E. History/Social Science, Truman State University


An “Animated” Course

An Animated Course is an introduction and exploration of traditional cell frame animation. Drawing and sketching skills are recommended. Fundamentals of cartooning, character development and storyboarding will be explored and experienced. Photographic and claymation animation techniques are also topics for this course. Students will use Apple computers utilizing Adobe Photoshop and Apple iMovie in addition to their own Smart Phones to prepare and upload their animated creations to YouTube.

The class will be watching a documentary movie about animator Chuck Jones and his long career animating Loony Tunes characters for Warner Brothers. Chuck will impart vital animation tips and secrets. Yes, we will watch some classic cartoons in addition to viewing the summer’s best animation offering at the local theater.

Students should be confident in drawing and/or interested in making their drawings and characters come to life.

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

Character Animation Crash Course! by Eric Goldberg

Rusty Nelson, Professor of Art, Visual Communications. B.F.A. Fort Hays State University; M.F.A. Kansas State University.


Can You Say That With Your Hands?  An Introduction to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture

This course will introduce students to manual communication skills utilized by the Deaf community.   In addition the course will provide insight into the diversity of individuals using manual communication in their unique culture. As a result of this course, students will learn to communicate in conversational situations utilizing finger spelling and American Sign Language.   Students will play word games, role play scenarios, interpret poems or songs and present a children’s book in sign language.  Students will experience communication barriers that will give them a greater understanding of the importance common communication systems.  Videos, lectures and learning opportunities will give insight into the pride of Deaf individuals, the history of Deaf culture and how technology is changing Deaf communities.

This course would be appropriate for individuals investigating numerous careers including Sign Language Interpreters, Audiology, Deaf Education, Speech/Language Pathology, and Special Education.

Signs of the Times by Edgar H. Shroyer

Sheila Garlock, Assistant Professor of Communication Disorders, Truman State University.  B.S.E., Truman State University; M.A., Truman State University.


Exploring the Film Soundtrack: The Role and Aesthetics of Movie Music

How do film composers influence the audience’s emotional response, and in what ways do they create music that elicits a particular location or time period? How do they balance the music with dialogue? This course will provide an overview of the development of movie music from the early improvised organ playing of musicians like Fats Waller for silent films, to more recent music from the biggest composers in Hollywood, including Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Max Steiner, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, and Howard Shore.

We will investigate how the specific musical elements of melody, harmony, counterpoint, tempo, rhythm, and orchestration can be used to enhance scenes that deal with themes such as romance, sadness, chase, horror, magic, and fantasy. Field trips will be taken to the Truman television/radio station and the Kirksville movie theater for a class screening of a new release. Students will give presentations on film music composers, create their own film music trivia board game, and draw an original cartoon strip using the material discussed in class. As a final project, using GarageBand music software, students will compose their own soundtrack to an original movie that they record throughout the session.

Film Music: A Very Short Introduction by Kathryn Kalinak

Jesse Krebs, Professor of Music, Music Department, Truman State University. B.M.E., University of North Carolina at Greensboro; M.M., University of North Texas; D.M., Florida State University


German Language and Culture

This course introduces students to first-semester college German and the rich cultural heritage of German-speaking countries. Students will develop skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing via the “immersion method.”  Every morning session will be conducted as much as possible auf Deutsch: the teacher, preceptors, and students will all communicate in German.  By the end of the three-week session, this intensive approach to language learning will allow students to navigate the German Sprachraum. You should be able to find your way around town, order a meal in a restaurant (and pay for it), and get what you need at the grocery store.

Afternoon sessions will be conducted in English and devoted to German culture. We will touch on German art and history, from the first mentions by Roman writers, through the Dark Ages, the High Middle Ages and into the present. Other activities will include a field trip to a part of Missouri where German was until quite recently the local language, and adventures in cooking and other aspects of daily life.


Adam Davis, Professor of English, Truman State University.  B.A., M.A. University of Michigan, Ph.D. University of Missouri


In Focus: The Art and Practice of Filmmaking

The course will introduce students to filmmaking as both an art and a practice for directors and audiences alike, along with its ability to broadly create and share culture, while also providing a robust platform for individual expression. Through readings and screenings of both classic and contemporary cinema, students will analyze the original “grammar” of film—from its early development to the incorporation of new technologies. Students will write sample scenes and dialogue, casting their classmates as actors to help grasp how actors and directors transform words on a page to visual storytelling onscreen. They will also learn how directors make technical choices to affect audiences’ reactions through the tools of lighting, costuming, music, set design, and editing. Finally, using smart phones and user-friendly editing systems, students will experiment with the basics of shooting and editing video to gain first-hand knowledge about the effects of particular techniques. From learning how to “block” a shot to using close-ups and particular angles, students will study the choices that directors make to encourage audiences to experience a range of emotions and to imagine meaningful connections.

Course fee for supplies is $65.00.



Marilyn Yaquinto, Professor Emerita, Communication and Cultural Studies, Truman State University. PhD. Bowling Green State University; M.A. University of Michigan; B.A. University of Michigan


Protecting the Night: Effects of Light Pollution

At any given moment, half of the Earth’s surface is experiencing night. Electrification and industrialization have altered the nature of the night and the ecological balance in our environment. Today, more than 80% of the world’s population and 99% of North Americans, live under light polluted skies. There is increasing evidence to suggest that indiscriminate use of lights at night is harmful to animal and plant health. Excessive and misdirected outdoor lighting disturbs the ecological balance in the environment by adversely impacting pollinators, insects and bees. Bad lighting affects humans in various ways as well – from disrupting the circadian rhythm, to causing glare that is harmful for pedestrians and drivers, and so on. Thus, light pollution is of increasing concern, especially in the context of the growing use of bright blue-white LED lights.

This course focuses on defining, analyzing, and acting on the problem of light pollution. Light pollution is the inappropriate use of artificial light at night. It is an environmental pollutant that adversely affects human, animal, plant, and environmental health and robs us of the opportunity to experience the wonder of the night sky. Students will engage in multidisciplinary activities to study the harmful effects of light pollution and of ways to mitigate it. In particular, students will learn about ways to participate in civic-engagement and activism by petitioning law enforcement, parks, and city administrators to install night-sky-friendly outdoor lighting for the benefit of all.

This course will address these questions in the classroom, but a significant amount of time will be devoted to group/lab work. Students will be encouraged to think critically through hands-on activities, and participate in data collection and analyses. Several evenings will be spent at the Truman Observatory, where students will learn how to quantify light pollution using ‘dark sky meters’ and by doing night sky photography.

We will not be using a particular textbook for this course. The instructor will provide handouts and online course readings (freely available, for example, on the “International Dark Sky Association website:

Vayujeet Gokhale, Associate Professor of Physics, Truman State University. B.S. Bombay University; Ph.D, Louisiana State University


The Human Lab

The human body is the most amazing machine on the planet. It is a complex arrangement of interdependent systems that is powerful, adaptive…and is made to move. Through examining the systems of the human body and how they interact with the environment you will explore the wonder of movement and its relationship to health.

This course is designed to teach students about the human body, specifically related to movement. Students examine the basic structure of the human body; the skeletal system, the muscular system and cardiovascular system and possibly visit a human cadaver lab. Expanding on that knowledge students explore other bodily systems and how they relate to health and physical activity. A specific emphasis will be placed on disease prevention through physical activity and include Heartsaver First Aid and CPR. Although there will be some lecture-based content, much of the course will be laboratory activities requiring student participation to learn basic concepts related to motor learning, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and health.

Course fee for supplies is $30.00.

The Anatomy Coloring Book (4th ed.) by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence Elson
American College of Sports Medicine Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (2nd ed.)
by Barbara Bushman (Editor)
Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Student Workbook –
American Heart Association

Evonne Bird, Instructor in Health and Exercise Science, Truman State University


Why We Fight: An Historical Perspective of Crusades and Jihad

We explore the ideology and history of war from antiquity to the present.  We begin by considering the ideas in On Aggression, an influential work by the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist, Konrad Lorenz. We then look at reasons to fight beginning with Homer’s Illiad—a tale of war that both entertained and educated ancient Greece. A radically different form of combat confronts us in the 9th-century conversion literature, The Heliand. We next discuss the 12th-century Song of the Nibelungs, the heroic epic that advocates a Germanic warrior ethos tempered by a knightly code of honor. In the same century, the Islamic jihad of Saladin retakes the Holy city of Jerusalem city. We examine his motives and justification for fighting.  We compare them with the aims of the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic superpower of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries whose expansion culminated in the blockade of Vienna. Finally, we explore the reasons to fight during the First and Second World Wars. The course concludes with an inquiry about how our course might relate to contemporary events in the 21st century.

On Aggression; Iliad; The Heliand: The Old Saxon Gospel; The Song of the Nibelungs; All Quiet on the Western Front

Ernst Hintz, Professor of German, Truman State University.  B.A. Fordham University, M.A Ruprecht-Karl Universität Heidelberg, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison