Special Topics in Past Semesters Have Included:
Lights, Camera, Class
Interpreting visuals is a major component for good critical thinking. In this section of IS 105, we will explore various ways to interpret films, such as symbolism, characterization, and theme. We will view many scenes from selected films, and class members will be encouraged to share examples from other films they have seen. For any students who are interested in making films, the opportunity to submit a created scene for course credit will be available. This class will engage in studies and activities likely to help students succeed in their first year of college and in the remainder of their college and professional careers.
Lady GaGa, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne: The iPod Shuffle & Popular Music
In nine short years the iPod has changed the way we experience music. Taking the shuffle feature as our cue, this course will examine a variety of topics associated with popular music. We'll look at the cultural impact of music and how fans use music as an expression of personal identity and how music artists deliberately confuse issues of masculinity, femininity, and sexual orientation in their performances. We'll examine music from a historical lens, from a business perspective, and in the context of the digital revolution.
Facebook me, Text me, Talk to me
In the years since Facebook was launched in 2004, the way we express ourselves has undergone a complete transformation. This course will begin with foundational communication theory, and examine of the challenges and opportunities of communication in the information age. We will look at topics such as selection of communication channels, conflict, and social media and through reflection and discussion, relate them to college and career success.
Reality TV: Leadership and Ethics
Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Project Runaway, and America's Next Top Model are all popular reality television shows. Reality television is a genre of TV programming that allegedly presents unscripted dramatic and/or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people instead of professional actors. Through "reality" television we will explore the topics of leadership and ethics. So please join Snooki, the Situation, the Kardashians and your professors as we make your college experience work for you.
Branded! The Power of Marketing
Oprah, Disney, Nike, Coke, Gaga – what do all of these names have in common? Some are individuals and others are companies; all are brands. When you read or see these brand names you experience instant feelings, associations, and perceptions – this is the power of brands. Everyone in the class will explore a brand of their choice to be investigated, discussed, and analyzed. Through this process you will be introduced to core concepts in business and marketing, explore career opportunities and develop critical skills for a successful college experience.
What do phantom hitchhikers, giant rats and alligators in the sewers, and ghosts in dorm rooms have in common? They're all urban legends, and are told every day by people around the world. Some of these stories are funny, some are frightening, and some downright embarrassing, but they all have one thing in common: they're considered important enough to be told and told again, even if no one actually believes them! This course will examine urban legends, looking at both the scope and spread of these stories in Boston. Understanding the reasons behind the existence, popularity, and importance of these legends will help students navigate the many stories they will encounter during their college experience, and will ultimately provide them with a useful set of tools for understanding the world they live in.
The Right Stuff
Is there a Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg, Stacey Bendet, Brian Scudamore, or Andrew Mason hiding inside you? Find out what qualities made these entrepreneurs so successful. Together, we will explore drive, ambition, confidence, motivation, goals, risks, and the communication skills needed to reach such success and how to apply these qualities to your college experience.
Do the "Write" thing: Chronicling your Freshman Year Journey
Freshman year can be a time of great discovery and change. In this course, students will read and write personal essays and experiment with other kinds of non-fiction writing that will be shaped into a memoir reflecting on who they are during this time in their lives. Students will also be introduced to the tools and skills needed to make a successful transition to college.
Infamous: Popular Crime and the "Celebration" of Violence
Why do some crimes captive the public, playing out on the evening news for weeks on end, serving as inspiration for crime entertainment and occasionally as platforms for new policy, while others barely register with the public? This course will explore infamous criminals, their victims and the reasons these particular crimes captivated the attention of the American public while providing students with an understanding of the skills necessary to achieve college and career success.
The End of Fashion?!?!
According to Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfeld, "the future of fashion is six months." What does that mean? What changes have emerged in the field in 21st century? This course will use Wall Street journalist, Teri Agins 1999 bestseller The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed The Clothing Business Forever and the films Valentino: The Last Emperor (2009) and The September Issue (2010) coupled with articles from the fashion press to discuss issues facing fashion insiders today. Discussion topics will include retail conglomerates, fashion journalism, trend forecasting, and the future of fashion.