Photo by Mariah Wilson

Four cool classes to fill your winter semester schedule

By Tina Shaygan, December 8 2017 —

Having the chance to take courses that genuinely interest you is one of the best aspects of university. Here’s four of the most interesting courses offered at the University of Calgary this winter semester for students still looking to fill in their schedule.

 

POLI 481 — Politics of Human Rights

This course explores the origin and evolution of politics surrounding human rights. Through analyzing struggles to protect human rights in different contexts, this course provides students a new lens to explore issues around the globe. In times of political turmoil, POLI 481 provides students with the tools and skills necessary to think critically about the world around them.

“We have the opportunity to examine diverse and profoundly human experiences from around the world and understand how human rights are created, defended, violated and continue to be one of the most central aspects of life,” says Andrew Basso, the course instructor.

Basso added that students should be prepared to learn how Eleanor Roosevelt — one of his favourite historical figures — became a central figure in the shaping of modern human rights regime. For those with an appetite for politics and historical facts, this course will deliver new insights.

 

PHYS 325 — Modern Physics

Hey, we didn’t say this was a list of GPA boosters. PHYS 325 looks at the topics such as special theory of relativity, electromagnetic waves and blackbody radiation. For those with a strong science background, this course provides a historical perspective on challenges faced by classical physics in the 20th century and how these challenges have impacted the way we understand the world.

According to the course instructor Michael Wieser, one of the most interesting aspects of the course is gaining insight into the most exciting mysteries of the world.

How do my observations shape my reality? What does it mean to make an observation and how have I changed the system through my interactions?” Wieser says.

“Students can expect to learn in this course is that you cannot trust your intuition,” he added. “It IS possible for a 10-meter long pole to fit inside a five-meter barn.”

 

PHIL 399.2 — Topics in Philosophy (Philosophy of Money)

This course analyzes the concept of money through a philosophical lens, exploring topics such as the relationship between money and happiness. The instructor, David Dick, was also named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in October. Dick’s students have often said his class material is not only interesting, but his teaching also constitutes a stand-up comedy routine. Dick said one of the best aspects of this course is seeing something students interact with every day in a different light.

“Even though we think about it all the time, much of our obsession with and stress over money rests on assumptions we rarely question,” he said. “This class is about looking carefully at those assumptions.”

“Students should expect to read, think and talk about some of the most interesting and surprising ideas about money from the last 2,000 years,” he added. “They should also expect to teach me some new thing about the philosophy of money. It’s still a new class and has lots of room to grow.”

 

ART 503 — Computer Game Design

This course focuses on the creative, rather than the technical process of creating video games. It explores the historical aspect of design, development and creative processes while providing students with a chance to design their own game and apply their skills to other forms of media.

Course instructor James Parker said that the course’s multi-dimensional nature is one of its best features. The Range of topics includes programming, graphics, music, design, storytelling and psychology.

“A key aspect for the students is that it is fun,” Parker added. “They get to see games from a completely different perspective.”

According to Parker, another great feature of the course is that two classes are never the same.

[Students] work in groups to design a game and each year the games are different,” he said.

“A takeaway is a set of skills for using the computer as a communications device to the fullest extent possible.”

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