While it’s safe to say finals week is no one’s favorite part of the semester, several College of Charleston professors are changing it up with exciting projects that’ll make you forget the stress of exams.
1. Sociology of Food
In Professor of Sociology Idee Winfield’s First Year Experience final, students will eat. Yep. That’s right. Of course, there’s more to the assignment than that, but the exam period will involve a potluck meal during which student groups will present on an aspect of the industrial food system and its consequences for around 20 minutes each.
“Students will combine multimedia with presentation software and a variety of active learning strategies, such as blind taste tests and game show formats, to teach a topic,” Winfield said.
2. Introduction to Data Science
Data science is the intersection of statistics, mathematics, and computer science applied to extracting knowledge from big data. Consistently ranked as one of the top fields to watch in the next decade, recent graduates of the College’s program are in positions at industry-leading analytic companies or taking on graduate school fellowships to Ivy League colleges. Assistant Professor Paul Anderson is showing students the full range of possibilities for data scientists in his introductory course’s final.
“Each student will play the part of a data scientist hired to analyze a breast cancer diagnostic dataset,” Anderson said. “Their task is to analyze and prepare a report on their findings after developing computational models that predict whether or not a patient has a benign or malignant form of breast cancer.”
3. TV Production
Adjunct Professor Tim Fennell has assigned students of his communication course to produce and/or edit short video projects. One student is editing a music video by multi-platinum Mark Bryan (shot as part of a project for his arts management course) for his song A Little Bit of Everything.
4. Globalization, Governance, and Un-Americanizing U.S. Cities in the 21st Century
In Urban Studies Program Director Kevin Keenan’s First Year Experience course, which focuses on issues affecting major American cities and how those issues trickle through to smaller U.S. cities, he’s requiring students to map urban governance concepts covered in the class, such as approaches to economic revitalization and urban activism to a sensory experience.
Students are also required to integrate knowledge from other courses to achieve “integrative learning,” and they must use all of their senses to engage with this knowledge just as they learn about the world in their everyday lives using these same senses.
“Students will provide that sensory experience in the format of the project to explain how their body in all of its senses is helping them learn,” Keenan explained.
Former College of Charleston President and Chief Justice of the S.C. Court of Appeals Alex Sanders is teaching students in this political science course designed to introduce students to the legal method of deciding disputes through the study of particular areas of legal doctrine.
For his final, which covers only the second half of the semester, Sanders is letting each student choose a social issue (like affirmative action, gun control or same-sex marriage) to analyze. The issues are discussed in class, then the student must write a paper arguing against his or her chosen position on the issue.
6. Theatre and Ethical Choice
Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Susan Kattwinkel’s First Year Experience course examines plays and performances that force audiences to consider questions like which of two moral codes to follow, whom to believe and when to sacrifice personal desires for the greater good.
Students in her course will choose a scene, character or image that illustrates an ethical choice from the 2014-15 College Reads! book The Good Soldiers in their final. They will write and perform (in groups) a short scene based around their selections.
7. Campaigns and Elections
Political science department chair Gibbs Knotts teaches this course, which focuses on American elections, campaigns, and voting behavior within the context of political representation and U.S. electoral rules and procedures. He has assigned students to apply research from the discipline of political science to a recent statewide election.
Specifically, students will analyze candidate profiles, campaign strategy and election results for a comprehensive look at their chosen election.
8. Healing Narratives: Understanding Illness Through Storytelling
In this unique course taught by Assistant Professor of English Kathele Béres Rogers and Adjunct Professor of Psychology Silvia Youssef Hanna, students have worked with community members from local hospice and assisted-living facilities to understand them and their stories. For the final assignment, students will present the narratives of those community members.