Students now have more options when it comes to fulfilling the dreaded general education (GE) requirements.

Interdisciplinary General Education (IGE) now offers four new upper-division courses, including one about ghosts and demons.

IGE classes are an alternative form of class for students to satisfy some their lower-division general education requirements in areas A-2, C2A, C2B, D1 and D3. They’re meant to complement general education courses and will allow students to fulfill upper-division areas C-3 or D-4.

Dennis P. Quinn is a professor and chair of the IGE department. He said he hopes students who take IGE courses will come out with the tools to succeed in the world after college. He also said IGE might be a good fit for students who like the thought of an integrated general education.

“Students from all majors work together to come up with new approaches to solve problems; we emphasize the importance of cooperation rather than competition,” Quinn said. “It’s a focus on community.”

Students who take Interdisciplinary General Education classes get a more hands-on approach to learning. (Courtesy of Sheena Huang)

IGE courses differ from a regular GE course in that there are no lectures or tests and IGE can be taken as an integrated series that builds on each course.

It is an alternative for students who might feel a regular lecture isn’t for them and who might have a more hands-on learning style.

Professors may moderate the discussion and present the students with problems, but they let the students figure things out for themselves. The assignments consist of creative projects, papers, readings and required trips to museums or plays.

The upper-division courses offered are: “The Creative Process: Theory and Practice,” “Demons, the Dead and the Monstrous Other,” “Visions of Science and Technology” and “Peoples and Cultures of Central Asia: Life Along the Silk Road,” which is coming in the spring semester.

“The Creative Process: Theory and Practice” is a course designed to help students understand what they could gain from creative minds like Albert Einstein or Elon Musk. Quinn said students will analyze what these people with creative minds did differently and how they became successful.

“Demons, the Dead and the Monstrous Other” will let students take a peek into the history of the ideas of monsters and the supernatural. Quinn said the course isn’t about finding the truth behind ghosts and monsters, but what ghosts and monsters can teach people about themselves.

“I think it answers questions for people that maybe science and religion don’t. We often demonize people we don’t like and it’s more of a search to answer why,” Quinn said.

“Visions of Science and Technology” takes a look at the role of technology in the past and present and how it’s integrated culturally and socially.

“Peoples and Cultures of Central Asia: Life Along the Silk Road,” will focus on the past and present relationship between people of Central Asia and neighboring regions in Europe, China and the Middle East.

Whittni Wibisono is a third-year business administration major who took the lower-division IGE classes and said she liked how classes are discussion-based.

“It really fit the way I like learning,” Wibisono said. “It’s more like a conversation than lecture and definitely opened up my views on certain subjects.”

Quinn said he hopes students going into the classes come out with improved writing, communication and critical thinking skills.

He also said students don’t need to have taken the lower-division IGE courses to enroll in the upper-division ones. They’re also allowed to stop at any point in the series. For instance, if a student takes one IGE course but decides a traditional lecture suits him or her more, then the credit for the IGE course will still count towards fulfilling the area requirement, and the student can continue with regular general education courses, Quinn said.

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