Searching for the perfect elective to complete your fall 2015 class schedule? Enroll in one of these courses, recommended by Daily Cardinal staff members, and show Student Center who's boss.
History of Science 201: Origins of Scientific Thought
History of Science 201 is the perfect class for anyone who has ever asked a teacher, “Why do we need to learn this?” only to be disappointed by the answer.
What most teachers fail to explain is that everything we learn in K-12 was figured out in the last 2,000 years by brilliant, flawed and eccentric people who dedicated their lives to solving the greatest problems of their times. History of Science 201 traces the development of science from the dawn of civilization until the 16th century. In the process, it provides much-needed context for everything you (willingly or not) dedicated the first quarter of your life to learning.
Requirements: Open to freshmen; not open to students who have taken ILS 201 or HIST SCI 323, except with consent of instructor
History 319: The Vietnam Wars
Perhaps your class got behind schedule and the year came to an end with World War II. Or maybe you went to school in Oklahoma. Whatever the reason, you probably didn’t learn much about the Vietnam War in your high school history course.
When I enrolled in professor McCoy’s History 319 class, I came in with very little knowledge of America’s involvement with Vietnam. But McCoy, who had to dodge the CIA when he was researching the war, eloquently explained how the U.S. became embroiled in Southeast Asia, from our initial naiveté to our failure to withdraw on time. And McCoy is by far the best lecturer I’ve had on this campus.
What happened in Vietnam remains an integral part of U.S. foreign policy to this day. This class will transform your view of America in both good ways and bad and will stick with you well after graduation.
Requirements: Sophomore standing
Breadth: Social Science
English 201: Intermediate Composition
While an English class may seem daunting to those who don’t always have their noses buried in a book, English 201 is relevant to all.
The course is structured around the practice of persuasive writing, focusing on determining which presentation methods work best depending on subject matter. Students choose a topic (any topic) for a semester-long project and work to break apart the different ways to explain and inform the subject to the class, using various mediums like infographics and media presentations.
The class, located in a side room of Helen C. White, seemed more like a writing workshop, which serves as a nice break from 300-person lectures.
Requirements: Comm-A satisfied; not open to freshmen or auditors
Fulfills Comm-B requirement
English 207: Beginning Poetry & Fiction Workshop
English 207: Beginning Fiction & Poetry Workshop combines creativity, a low time commitment and Comm-B fulfillment. Sophomore standing and three credits of introductory literature will get you into ENGL 207.
Taught in small sections, this class meets only once a week. Students will workshop each other’s writing and read the work of published writers for inspiration. It’s a fun, constructive and relaxed environment, taught not by professors but by grad students.
Requirements: Open to sophomores only; 3 credits of literature
Fulfills Comm-B requirement
Geography 370: Introduction to Cartography
For the design-oriented, no class is better than G370. You’ll make amazing works of art and see the world in a totally new way, earning a “graphic design” medal for your resume to boot.
“But Andrew,” you whine at your newspaper, “haven’t we already mapped everything there is to map?” In GEO 370, maps are about so much more than where things are.
Requirements: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor
Breadth: Physical Science, Natural Science
Library and Information Studies 201: The Information Society
This course takes you back through many generations of communication eras. From oral, print and broadcast to the digital networked society we live in today, LIS 201 challenges students to think critically about the ubiquitous forms of communication we engage with every day. Because this course fulfills the Comm-B requirement, assignments are heavily reading- and writing-based. Much of the coursework involves online components such as blogging and creating a final digital book analysis project. This class combines helpful skills with communication history in an engaging elementary-level course.
Requirements: Comm-A or equivalent; open to freshmen
Breadth: Humanities, Social Science
Fulfills Comm-B requirement
Gender & Women's Studies 103: Women's Bodies: Health and Disease
The Gender and Women’s Studies Department hosts a number of fantastic courses, but GWS 103 is the cream of the crop. The course covers a large scope of topics, going beyond what was covered in your high school sex-ed class, including health care disparities, and political and social constructions of gender and health. Professor Higgins is a great lecturer, and is both personable and engaging. GWS 103 is an interesting and eye-opening course that fulfills a natural science breadth with no lab requirement. Perfect for humanities majors dreading taking a science course!
Requirements: Open to freshmen
Breadth: Natural Science
Gender and Women's Studies 200: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies
This course will introduce you to LGBTQ+ issues and help you discuss them in a relevant way. Why is the plus sign included? The symbol refers to the LGBTQ acronym and notes that not all identities are included in the commonly used acronym such as asexual and pansexual people. In this course, you learn that language and identities are constantly evolving and how to discuss sensitive topics in a group setting. If you are not already exposed to or aware of topics such as heteronormativity, gender as a social construct and intersecting oppressions, actively choose to participate in this course, especially if the subject matter is out of your comfort zone.
Breadth: Social Science, Humanities
Communication Arts 346: Critical Internet Studies
Sure, everyone uses the Internet, but where did it come from and what exactly is it? This course takes you all the way back to the Internet’s origins, explaining exactly how this vast communication network got its start. After discovering what led to the creation of today’s most ubiquitous technological tool, you’ll look at what the development of the Internet means for society. Who exactly uses the Internet, and why? How do we use it to represent ourselves and communicate? Can it be used to send a strong societal message? Throughout a semester in Comm Arts 346, you’ll discover exactly how many answers these questions can have.
Requirements: Sophomore status
Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics 601: Introduction to Private Pilot
EMA 601 is hands-down the coolest course I’ve taken at UW-Madison. It takes you through the basics of flight, how an airplane works and what it takes to get your private pilot license. For the final exam, you even have the option to take the Federal Aviation Administration written exam, which puts you part of the way to obtaining the private pilot license (which I would highly recommend).
You also get experience in a top-of-the-line flight simulator and one-on-one time with experienced flight instructor Dr. Chris Johnson, who teaches the class. You couldn’t ask for a cooler lecturer. He knows a ton about all things aviation (he has more certifications and degrees than I knew even existed) and puts loads of effort into making sure you understand the class material. The class is kept small intentionally, and you really get to know the people in the lecture.
You don’t need to know anything about aviation to take this class. Take advantage of it while you can.
Requirements: Consent of instructor