|New and Special Topic Courses for Fall
With each semester comes a slate of new and special topic course offerings. Here is a look at six of these courses guided by the professors that constructed them. Each description examines the course’s makeup and the ways in which it fits into Lebanon Valley College’s curricula.
ITA-290: Italian Conversation
Beth Underwood, lecturer of Italian, introduces this course as a continuation of the study abroad department’s program in Perugia, Italy. However, the course is also open to students who have completed ITA-102 at LVC or are using Italian to fulfill their language requirement in the international studies program.
“We talk about Italy and positive and negative experiences while there,” Underwood said. “For those who haven't been there yet, it's an opportunity to learn more about the language and culture. We also use the book ‘Da Capo’ as a basis for conversation examining topics like food, shopping, and entertainment, and listen to Italian music and watch videos.”
The final examination may be the courses’ most enticing selling point. Students will share a meal at Signora Lucia Vella’s house, where they will “ask her questions in Italian about life in Italy and her experience coming to America.”
PSC-190: Campaigns & Elections
Campaigns & Elections is a special topics course led by Michael Worman, adjunct associate professor of political science, that will cover exactly what its title implies but with the added benefit of having an active presidential campaign trail and election to examine.
“We will be doing a number of things in class, the most important of which is breaking into two campaign teams that will role play the basic elements of a presidential campaign, including the selection of issues, tactics, campaign finance, debate preparation, responding to unforeseen campaign events, voter turnout activities, and other aspects of campaign,” Worman said.
Lessons from the course will be expected to extend beyond the presidential election. Worman will work to ready students for real-life elections by scaling lessons back from presidential to local politics. “After the election, the last three classes of the course will involve students planning their own campaigns for a local office,” Worman said. “I would like to encourage individuals to actively participate in American politics through this exercise.”
DCOM-390: Package Design
By its official course description, Package Design requires students to find “creative solutions for a variety of packaging needs” and will task students to develop “functioning prototypes” that they could present to potential clients. The importance of the class, according to assistant professor of digital communications Mat Samuel, lies in the current job market.
“Package design is a growing part of our industry and there are many job opportunities available for our students in this field,” Samuel said. “Having a basic understanding of the functional and technical aspects of package design will provide our students with a broader knowledge base.”
The class approaches design through both model building and 3-D design software to demonstrate the connection between physical and digital packaging elements.
MBS-290: Milestones in Music Recording
English students have always had courses designed to examine the great works of literature. Jeff Snyder, professor of music and director of music business, looks to introduce the same idea into the music business department with Milestones in Music Recording, a course that will examine some of the great albums of the last few decades.
Included among the list are the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Each will be seen as “high art,” with students exploring album covers, songwriting, recording methods, marketing, and other facets of the industry.
In his course syllabus, Snyder writes that “by gaining an appreciation and understanding of the collaborative process that these works exemplify, students will be able to apply the principles learned to their own pursuits of greatness.”
Grading is based completely on essays, so students need to come prepared to bring out their inner music critic and keep their minds open to a wide scope of genres.
INT-100: Globalization and Global Studies
Globalization and Global Studies is more of a reboot than a new course. Chris Dolan, associate professor of political science and international studies, redesigned and retitled INT-100 to reflect more contemporary and modern objectives and core competencies in general education.
The course examines “world interaction, cooperation and conflict, contemporary global issues, and the multidimensional processes of globalization,” and asks students to see themselves as members of a world community. It also looks at ethical reasoning – a subject that Dolan says “requires students to be able to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramifications of alternative actions.”
INT-100 fits the curricula of both the international studies major and the core competencies of general education. “But the overall goal of the course is to not simply fulfilling major requirements and the foreign studies component in general education,” Dolan said. “It also serves to promote the importance of curricular globalization and more prominently feature international goals and objectives.”
DCOM-290: Programming for Digital Media
As part of the expanding digital communications program at LVC, Brandon Rubinic, adjunct instructor of digital communications, is teaching this technical course on the technologies behind creating dynamic and data-driven websites. Students will learn the various elements of Web application and how they are orchestrated so that they may construct, design, and code a dynamic site of their own.
“Understanding the technologies that allow us to interact with the endless amounts of information found on the Internet is vital in today's fast-paced, ever-changing world,” Rubinic said. “These technologies have the methods in which we interact socially, and produce new markets for business.
“With just a little bit of knowledge of technology, a single person can have an enormous impact on the information we receive and how we receive it. Because of this, teaching students how to make their ideas accessible on the Web empowers them to elicit change on an unprecedented scale.”