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Fall 2013 Learning Communities

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.

  • Baltimore Writers: Past and Present (Tuesday, Thursday)

    Throughout its history, Baltimore has been an attractive place for novelists, poets, filmmakers and songwriters. Why does Baltimore have such a rich literary tradition? What specifically is it about Baltimore that has inspired so many different writers, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Billie Holiday, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, John Waters? In this learning community, you'll look at several different types of media--including literature, film and music—and at various genres, such as poetry, detective fiction, jazz and independent film. You'll also talk with contemporary authors from the UB faculty and student community.

    The courses you'll take:
    The Experience of Literature
    College Composition
    Take this if you like:
    ghost stories; jazz songs; indie films; mysteries
  • The Meaning of Life (Tuesday, Thursday)

    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).

    The courses you'll take:
    Origins: In Search of Self
    Introduction to Psychology
    First-Year Seminar: Introduction to University Learning
    Take this if you like:
    thinking about what makes others 'tick' and why they care about what they care about
  • Law and Order (Tuesday, Thursday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    The Experience of Literature
    Criminal Justice
    College Composition
    Take this if you like:
    exploring why things happen like they do; expressing your ideas about issues
  • Creative Writing and Communication (Tuesday, Thursday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Introduction to Creative Writing
    Communicating Effectively
    Take this if you like:
    words; writing about things you care about; reading and speaking about others' ideas
  • Pop and You: Engaging Popular Culture (Monday, Wednesday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    The Experience of Literature
    Interpreting Pop Culture
    Take this if you like:
    movies; books; writing about your ideas; zombies
  • The Air We Breathe, the Water We Drink (Tuesday, Thursday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Human Ecology
    Introduction to Computer Technologies
    Introduction to Information Literacy
    Take this if you like:
    the Earth; current issues; using facts to prove a point; computers; science
  • Living in a Diverse Society (Tuesday, Thursday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Origins: In Search of Self
    College Composition
    Take this if you like:
    stories from different cultures; thinking and writing about thoughts and ideas

     

  • Conflicts in History (Monday, Wednesday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Conflicts in History
    Introduction to Information Literacy
    Take this if you like:
    how the past affects the present; using evidence to decide what's real
  • The Play's the Thing (Tuesday, Thursday)

    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!

    The courses you'll take:
    The Experience of Literature
    Topics in the Arts I
    Take this if you like:
    drama; stagecraft; critiquing performance; words; other cultures
  • Think Again: Classical Mythology in American Literature (Monday, Wednesday, hybrid)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Origins: In Search of Self
    First-Year Seminar: Introduction to University Learning
    Introduction to Information Literacy
    Take this if you like:
    dramatic stories; mythology; learning using computers
  • Understanding Self and Others (Monday, Wednesday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Introduction to Psychology
    Communicating Effectively
    Take this if you like:
    thinking about how you fit into the world; analyzing people's actions and reactions
  • How the World Works: Information and Government (Evening: Tuesday, Wednesday)

    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
    American Government

  • Propaganda: Do You Buy It? for Helen P. Denit Honors Program students (Monday, Wednesday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Music & Arts as Craft
    Great Issues in History
    Introduction to Information Literacy
    Take this if you like:
    finding out what's really true; knowing how things work
  • From Inspiration to Presentation for Helen P. Denit Honors Program students (Monday, Wednesday)

    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.

    The courses you'll take:
    Imagination, Creativity and Entrepreneurship
    Communicating Effectively
    Take this if you like:
    selling your ideas to others; using your creativity to be a successful person
  • Crab Cakes and Pit Beef: Baltimore’s Food Ecology for Helen P. Denit Honors Program students (Monday, Wednesday)

    Everyone needs food, but we often take food for granted in modern society. Extraordinary effort goes into feeding the Baltimore metropolitan area. The food supply system stimulates the economy, forms a large part of our cultural identity (think Baltimore and crabs!) and heavily impacts our environment. In this learning community, you'll explore the connection between food habits and the environment, one of the key barriers to a sustainable society. You will use a variety of information sources as you investigate what it takes to provide an urban populace with a stable, continuous, nutritious and ecology-minded food supply.

    The courses you'll take:
    Introduction to Information Literacy
    Human Ecology

    Take this if you like:
    food; cities; figuring things out; knowing a lot about your surroundings