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Students Find a Niche in Summer Classes

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Janette Ballard

Feature  •
students in stagecraft class

Students wanting to expedite their degree program, investigate new areas of study, or get ahead in their course work, have 95 AHSS classes to choose from. Summer session classes, either online or on campus, span a wide range of subjects, like Steven McDonald's Page to Stage theatre class, which offers tech perspectives and even teaches students how to use power tools.

"We learn materials and techniques, and how they connect to building theatre scenery," said McDonald, associate professor and technical director in the department of theatre. "Each student builds a fantasy prop for a fictional show. They learn to paint, study engineering for theatre structures, and whole lot more. At the end of the class, all the students of diverse backgrounds can use power tools."

Some students will be introduced to the History of Rock and Roll in an online course taught by Jack Sheinbaum, associate professor of musicology at the Lamont School of Music.

"We'll be covering a century of music, from early 20th-century popular styles through 1950s rock 'n' roll, classic rock of the 1960s-80s, hip-hop and alt rock, and the current profusion of popular styles," said Sheinbaum. Copious online discussions will create an interactive class community. In addition to reading and writing reflective essays, students will work on developing listening skills.

"One feature I'm especially excited about is that, compared to just a few years ago, the rise of music streaming services means that students will be able to listen widely and deeply with ease," he said.

Other students will receive hands-on, multimedia training in Andrew Matranga's Online & Visual Journalism course through the department of media, film and journalism studies.

"Journalists don't just write anymore; actually, most journalists never did just write," said Matranga. "They tell stories through multiple mediums—print, photography, video, audio. That's exactly what we'll be doing in this course, telling stories in compelling, interesting, creative, informed, reflective, and multimedia form on the World Wide Web."

Students will create an online publication using Wordpress to tell their stories. They will learn how to use a DSLR camera to take photos, Adobe Photoshop to edit the photos and create graphics, and Audition and SoundCloud to build an audio broadcast. They will also learn basic video shooting and editing techniques in Adobe Premiere, and will build a YouTube channel and upload video content to the channel.

Summer courses offer students the opportunity to get ahead in their coursework or try something new, while also giving our faculty the opportunity to try new teaching methods or explore special interests.