Vampires, basketball, LEGO robots and sci-fi flicks are only a few of the things you’ll find inside a classroom at Clemson. Some professors are breaking from traditional classroom experiences to explore unique topics and teaching methods that engage students with real-world concepts. Here’s your inside look at five of the “coolest” classes Clemson has to offer.
Bees and spiders aren’t always popular topics, so professor Joseph Culin has found a new way to introduce students to arthropod biology during his spring semester classes: classic insect horror films. The movies fuel class discussion about how society views science (and bugs, of course). “Having students think critically about entertainment encourages them to think critically about everything,” he said.
General engineering is one of the most unique programs in Tigertown and in the nation. Every aspiring engineer must take general engineering courses before choosing a specific area of study. Last semester, students were challenged to build a prototype Roomba out of LEGOs. The fully functional robot had to be programmed to sense walls and sweep an entire floor chosen at random.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day in professor Erica Walker’s graphic communications class. GC3400 focuses on photography, video and web design and gives students experience behind the camera. They work together to plan, shoot and edit the promotional videos shown during Clemson basketball, baseball and soccer games. “Students rarely have the same day twice,” she said.
Professor Kim Manganelli’s senior seminar class is challenged to view vampires in a whole new light — or dark? From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice, students read about the evolution of the vampire figure and analyze its continued popularity. Since these stories are often set in the South, students tour John C. Calhoun’s mansion at Fort Hill and explore how slavery and the Civil War are depicted in vampire narratives.
PRTM sophomores are required to participate in Clemson’s EDGE program. But just because it’s required doesn't mean it’s not fun. In place of traditional classes students work on-site at facilities ranging from state parks to resorts to professional sport arenas. The EDGE program gives students the opportunity to work side by side with mentors who challenge them to refine their skills and think beyond the classroom.
Does your class deserve a shout out? Shoot an email to Crystal Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your innovative classroom experience or extraordinary professor. Who knows — you just might see your story on the Clemson website.