SPRING 2018

Unclasses! And EX[L] Assisted Classes

Looking for something different?  Unclasses are real, for-credit classes with a twist!  UA’s EX[L] Center also works with professors on regular classes with strong, innovative experiential components. 

What are you doing this Spring?


Unearthing the Paranormal: Ghosts of Akron's Past unclass

3230:472 or 3230:460 or contact behrman@uakron.edu

TTH 1:45-3:00

Dr. Mira Mohsini (Anthropology)

This un-class takes students outside the typical boundaries of the classroom to explore stories of ghosts and hauntings in Akron. Students will interview Akron residents about their experiences of paranormal activities and present their findings to the public. Some questions to be considered by this un-class include: How do stories of ghosts and experiences of hauntings shape people’s perceptions of their environment? What is real and what is imagined? How do we know the difference? In addition to working on a final class project, students will learn about the fundamentals of fieldwork and gain skills in analyzing data.


Civil Dialogues, Civil Communities: An unclass in Civil Engagement

3400:496 or contact behrman@uakron.edu

MW 1:10-2:25

Dr. Toja Okoh (History) in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Lee (Sociology)

Taking the University of Akron’s annual series on “Rethinking Race” as a point of inspiration, this unclass seeks to expand the conversation to cover broader themes in the context of civil discourse, and extend this discourse into our immediate Akron community. The lack of understanding and will to engage alternative or opposing visions in our public life has reached a toxic level. This was made apparent in the 2016 election season. The primary goal of this unclass is to collectively reflect, imagine and forge the future of our communities – both locally and nationally. We will read critical voices from the past and present to help us reflect and engage in our current moment, and to inspire us to engage in our immediate communities.


Digital Humanities in the Archives unclass

3300:489/589 or contact behrman@uakron.edu

TTH 10:45-12:00

Dr. Hillary Nunn (English) and Dr. Jodi Kearns (Center for the History of Psychology)

This unclass focuses on experiential learning through a collaboration with the Archives of the History of American Psychology, housed at The Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP). Students will work in teams to 1) make images of the CCHP's immense postcard collections available online, in properly cataloged, searchable format with rich metadata, 2) transcribe the handwriting on these postcards, and 3) interpret these materials through a series of blog posts and research reports, which will be made available on the CCHP website and through UA's IdeaExchange Institutional Repository.


Synergistic Teams unclass

6600: 496, as a Computer Science elective, or contact behrman@uakron.edu

TTH 6:40-7:55 (Enrollment LIMITED)

Lauren Houser (CBA)

Have you heard the joke that the definition of a programmer is a person who fixed a problem you didn’t know you had, in a way you don’t understand?  Programmers and non-programmers often need to work together and it is no joke that this sort of failed communication can cost organizations in an array of direct and indirect ways.

This unclass focuses on cultivating effective individuals within contemporary business teams.  The class has two goals.  First it seeks to provide current students with opportunities to hone disciplinary skills and gain leadership experience by challenging them to work together on interdisciplinary teams to solve complex, real world problems.  Second, it challenges students to create the basic materials for a future class, Coding for Non-Coders.

The Synergy Unclass students will include computer science, business and other students together around two problems sourced from regional business partners that require integrated business and coding solutions.  The semester will encompass two projects.  In the first 10 weeks, students will play to their strengths, bring their own expertise to this real-world, client-based problem (that can be reasonably undertaken in ~8 weeks). At the same time, they will be challenged to articulate their work to peers from other disciplines in order to create teaching units.  At the close of this portion of the semester, students will present their work to relevant faculty and the business partner.

In the remaining 5 weeks, roles will be traded challenging students to take on less comfortable work and requiring students to be more dependent on their fellows.  The class will take on a simpler real world business/coding problem. Testing and refining the educational units developed in the first 10 weeks, non-computer science students will learn basic coding skills that are in demand in today’s competitive job market, while mentoring computer science students through some of the critical aspects of business and communication.


Open Science for Clean Water unclass
Open Science for Clean Water Natural Science Honors Colloquium

5300:495 or contact behrman@uakron.edu

Dr. Hunter King (Polymer and Biomimicry) in collaboration with Kelly Siman (Biomimicry)

One Natural Sciences Honors Colloquium section and a separate unclass will introduce issues concerning water resources around the world, and explore present open-source hardware and citizen-science based efforts to address them. Students will work on team projects in the classroom and in the field, and informally share their progress.  The Honors Colloquium and the unclass with have 3-4 joint meetings to share work and inspire innovation. 


Difficult Dialogues and the Life of Meaning

1870:360:008

TTH 12:15-1:05

Dr. Matthew Lee (Sociology) in collaboration with Dr.  Okoh’s (History) unclass

How should we interact with those who have a perspective that is very different from our own?  How can we live a life of deep meaning and purpose?  Answering one of these questions helps us to answer the other.  This course will provide you with skills for engaging in difficult dialogs with others and for enriching the meaning in your life.  With support from UA’s Center for Experiential Learning, we will engage with students enrolled in another course (“Civil Dialogs, Civil Communities: An Unclass in Civil Engagement”) as we put into practice the lessons from social science about transforming conflict and living a life of meaning.