Freshmen: Speak with your adviser in the Office of Freshman Advising before registering for a learning community; she can help you register for the correct courses.
Certain enduring questions plague modern human beings: Why am I here? What is the nature of being human? What is good and what is evil? Is there meaning to my life? In this learning community, you'll explore these and other questions using both science (psychology) and the humanities (literature).
What is criminal justice? How are stories about crime told in literature and on television? What is policing? How does one write persuasively about crime in a democratic society? How do we document or imagine the lives of offenders, victims, survivors, prisoners and communities blighted by crime? In this learning community, you'll probe these questions in a criminological, expository and literary fashion.
We all communicate verbally and in writing every day of our lives. In this learning community, you'll dig deeply into the ways creative writing and oral communication skills help you communicate your deepest thoughts and most profound feelings. You'll learn about writing in several different forms (poetry, stories, drama), how to revise your work to make it more powerful and how to engage in productive group critique. You'll think about your intended audience and hear UB faculty writers talk about their craft. Most importantly, you'll explore the expressive side of communication with other students who share a passion for words and their deepest meanings.
Pop music. Pop art. Pop icons. Things are "popping" all around us, but what do we really know about popular culture? What makes "pop" popular, and how does it affect our lives? In this learning community, you'll examine forms of pop culture from fashion to books and you'll create your own pop culture stories. You'll get to think about mass media, sports, fashion, architecture, amusement parks and religion in ways you never have before. Our English class will support the theme "The Great Zombie," and you'll read stories ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby to Max Brooks' World War Z as well as examples of resurgent and new genres such as gothic and steampunk. You'll also be a part of a student team that will write its own short story to reflect popular culture.
We all know that climate change is a major issue. But how does it really impact the air we breathe and the water we drink? And how does the chemistry of our food and medications affect the larger world around us? In this learning community, you'll examine these issues from a scientific perspective and use online information sources to answer other crucial questions. What are the big scientific ideas behind the news? And where does the news actually come from? How do we know if we're harming the Chesapeake Bay or altering our planet's atmosphere? You'll work to figure out how scientists and researchers use evidence and draw the conclusions we call information. You'll also begin to do all of this more quickly, efficiently and creatively by building crucial skills in computer applications and networks.
How do we adapt to living in an increasingly diverse society? How can we benefit from having our assumptions challenged by people with very different experiences and backgrounds? In the literature component of this learning community, you'll answer some important questions: How does writing reflect selfhood? How are we formed, deformed and re-formed through other people, especially those closest to us? You'll read about various characters and consider how much they shape their own lives and how much the environments they shape them. You'll have many opportunities to share your ideas during class discussions and to explore a choice of texts for written assignments. Authors include Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, Richard Wright, David Sedaris, Ralph Ellison and Eduardo Galeano, among others. You'll discover plays, poetry, prose fiction and autobiography, the four main genres of literary study.
There are at least two sides to every story, especially when it's a story of conflict. Explore dramatic tensions and clashes throughout history and consider their impact on present-day situations. After you investigate a conflict using historical evidence and current research, you'll share what you've learned by creating an informational website. At the end of the semester, you'll be able to support an argument about the cause and/or consequence of a historical conflict.
How does theater build community? This learning community culminates in the theatrical staging of Sean O'Casey's classic 1923 play The Shadow of a Gunman at UB's Wright Theater and at the Maryland Irish Festival. You'll study the literary, cultural and artistic dimensions of the play; place the play within the context of Irish drama and politics; and learn how to act, critique and produce the play. You'll have the option to choose between production assistance or performance. Techies and actors are welcome!
Over the centuries, the enduring myths of ancient Greece and Rome have inspired books, plays, stories, music and other works of art from people and places around the world. But what do these myths have to tell us about modern times? How can we relate these tales of the incredible to our understanding of ourselves? In this learning community, you'll look at examples of re-examinations, reuses and remixes of mythology as you explore ways to demystify myths about literature, information sources and college.
Note that this learning community features a blended-learning approach that balances face-to-face instruction with significant online learning. You'll be expected to plan for at least three hours a week beyond the regular class meeting times (and beyond normal homework load) to accommodate the demands of the online learning material.
How do you define yourself? How does this affect how you view others? Use your individual and shared memories and your imagination to explore both the personal characteristics and outside influences that make you who you are and those that make other people different from you, or perhaps the same. You'll use insights from psychology to understand how human personality works. You'll use communication and speech skills and knowledge to understand how we convince others, explain things to an audience and express ourselves in different situations.
Governments at all levels are going digital in an effort to be more responsive and more effective. Citizens have already gone digital, and this has major implications for citizenship and democratic governance. This brave new world is felt from the local MVA to social programs to the CIA and FBI. Are we ready? In this learning community, you'll engage in activities such as robot golf while learning essential technical skills—skill that will allow you to explore the ways in which emerging technologies effect our health, careers and well-being.
The courses you'll take:
Computer Information Systems
In this learning community, you'll examine the ways propaganda has been used to sell ideas and products to the American public. Through the study of the past (history), images and music (arts) and the accuracy and honesty of facts (information literacy), you'll learn to recognize and analyze propaganda and ultimately be challenged to create your own piece of propaganda.
Steve Jobs of Apple always made his new product launches look so easy and exciting, but a lot takes place beforehand to make the big launch a success. And how did Jobs make new releases look inspiring and inevitable, while other entrepreneurs with good ideas never get to bring their concepts to the public? In this learning community, you'll unleash the entrepreneur inside you and learn the business and communication skills required to pitch your new ideas to your intended audience. Society is continuously looking for new, creative solutions to complex problems, and the courses in this learning community will help you equip yourself with crucial skills in creativity and communication—the keys to innovation.
Take this if you like:
food; cities; figuring things out; knowing a lot about your surroundings