Classes You Should Know About: An Update

With the main focus being on following degree plans and taking courses just to meet requirements, students tend to overlook the variety of courses Tech offers. Our last list of unique, attention-getting courses still gets many hits, so we wanted to give an update.

Some of these classes are full for the fall, but students can watch for people dropping the classes or plan for another future semester. Others are only offered in spring semesters.

Wines of the World (PSS 4311/Fall)

This class introduces the wines of the world through learning materials and sensory evaluation of regional wines.

Instructor Matthias Bougreau began teaching the course a year after it was developed.

Barrels help age wine. Nicole Crites/The Hub@TTU

“It’s all of the basics of wine tasting. How to smell it, how to taste it, how to look at it and the characteristic of certain variety. It gives a little bit of a background to people who actually never tasted wine professionally,” he said.

In this class, students taste wine from different parts of the world such as France, Italy, United States, Spain, Germany, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

“We don’t want people to come just because there is free wine to taste,” he said. “We want people to come already knowing they are interested in the class, in wine, and want to know more.”

According to the course catalog, students must be 21 years of age or older to take this class. It is also a requirement that students have the content and the exam for Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Level 1 Award in Wine as well.

Fashion and Modern Culture (RTL 1320/Fall)

Interested in the latest fads? Want to know how today’s fashion came to be? This class covers the history of fashion since 1898.

Professor Deborah Fowler developed this class in 2007.

“The way I start most chapters is I play music from the era. So the kids are always dying laughing because I pick out things that I like, like Phil Collins “Into the Night” or Mickey Gilley, or Elvis when we’re doing the 1950s.”

She said the typical chapter starts out with general history and putting the era in context of what was happening in the United States during that period.

It goes over topics such as designers, celebrities of the time, the symbolism of certain clothing, such as shoulder pads to represent strength, and clothing vouchers.

“It’s really putting fashion in the context of people’s lives,” she said. “You have to understand the whole big picture of what was happening to understand what happened with fashion.”

There are no prerequisite for this class, and the students who take it typically range from freshmen to seniors.

“If you want to understand dress as a part of our culture, it’s a good class,” Fowler said.

Scuba (PFW 1141/Fall)

Photo taken by Soljaguar

This class has been offered here at Tech for over 40 years. Personal fitness and wellness as a category covers other classes such as golf, swimming, tennis, and other sports.

Ray Edwards is the part-time instructor for PFW 1141-Scuba.

“This class teaches the basic skills that one would use to perform a safe dive in an open water environment,” Edwards said.

There is an open water field trip at the end of the semester, where students apply their knowledge and skills to an actual open water dive.
“I would consider this to be an extension of your every day life,” Edwards said. “Although, there are some aspects of this sport  that I believe can be used by everyone everyday.”

The World of Rome (CLAS 3330/Spring)

This class examines the literature and art and archeology of ancient Rome in its cultural context.

Professor Hannah Friedman has taught this class for five years.

“I had some trouble getting this course declared as a multicultural credit because of modern perception of the Roman world,” she said. “We see it as a boring history filled with a bunch of white rich males in togas, possibly with British accents like in the movies. We assume that the culture and mindsets of the Romans was similar to ours. This is completely false. The Romans were a multi-ethnic, socioeconomically diverse, sprawling, and messy empire.”

She said people in general know very little about the ancient world. Often times, projections of how common people live in America today are placed on how those in ancient Rome lived, when that is not the case.

“I think students are surprised by how often  engineering, politics, economy and more are discussed. They can see links with their own lives and interests.”

Friedman said she believes Americans often use Rome as a touchstone to determine policies and behavior. She said we have made classics important in the modern world through our own actions.

Rome has influenced us, we have not influenced Rome.

Friedman encourages students to join her class to find out more about the ancient world.

“We get a lot of students who are interested in the ancient world, but haven’t had a chance to explore it in their major,” she said.

No prerequisites are required for this course, so anyone can sign up!

“If you want to know about despotic roman emperors, corrupt politicians, famous battles, or enemies of Rome like Carthage and Egypt,” she said, “this is the class for you.”

Writing for Series Television (EMC 4370/Fall)

Interested in script writing for television series? Well this is the class for you! EMC 4370 provides an introduction to the basic skills, professional standards, and creative challenges of script writing for televised entertainment formats.

Professor Robert Peaslee, Ph.D., is the instructor for this course.

He recommends anyone who is looking to improve their writing or understand the writer’s perspective on the production process to take this course.

“It’s fairly focused on training people to write creatively in media environments,” he said, “but general takeaways involve knowing and servicing your audience for a particular message or media text, working collaboratively toward creative outcomes, and understanding the ever-evolving nature of the entertainment industry.”

He said that students are asked to research a series and write a sample episode for that series, and then they are asked to pitch an idea for their own original series. Several students are selected to deliver their pitches to a panel of experts, “Shark Tank style,” and then a handful are chosen as “show runners” and given writing staffs made up of the other students in the class. The entire second half of the semester is collaborative “writers’ room” creativity.

The only prerequisite for this class is a C or higher in JOUR 2310 or MCOM 2320.

About Kayla Black
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