20 Ridiculous Courses

, Deborah Lambert, Leave a comment

Now that accumulated student loan debt stands at approximately $1 trillion, it’s time to take stock of what students have been learning over the years. While their technical expertise is undoubtedly surpasses that of previous generations, there are some courses that can only be described as a waste of time and money, according to Education Watch International, which recently published a list of “20 Ridiculous Courses.”
Among the most outrageous are:

1. “What If Harry Potter Is Real?” (Appalachian State University) – A course that explores how and if fantasy can reshape the way we look at history. “Students will examine issues of race, class, gender, time, place, the uses of space and movement, the role of multiculturalism in history.”

2. “God, Sex, Chocolate: Desire and the Spiritual Path” (UC San Diego) –

4. “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” (The University Of South Carolina) –

7. “The Science Of Superheroes” (UC Irvine) – Have you ever wondered if Superman could really bend steel bars? Would a “gamma ray” accident turn you into the Hulk? What is a “spidey-sense?”

8. “Learning From YouTube” (Pitzer College) – Students post comments about YouTube and also post their own videos. One class member “posted a 1:36-minute video of himself juggling.”

9. “Arguing with Judge Judy” (UC Berkeley) –

10. “Elvis As Anthology” (The University Of Iowa) – The class “focuses on Presley’s relationship to African American history, social change, and aesthetics.”

12. “Zombies In Popular Media” (Columbia College) – “This course explores the history, significance, and representation of the zombie as a figure in horror and fantasy texts.”

13. “Far Side Entomology” (Oregon State) – “A scientist at Oregon State University has used Gary Larson’s cartoons as a teaching tool — about insects.”

14. “Interrogating Gender: Centuries of Dramatic Cross-Dressing” (Swarthmore) – Do clothes make the man? Or the woman? Do men make better women? Or women better men? Is gender a costume we put on and take off? Are we really all always in drag?
15. “Oh, Look, a Chicken!” Embracing Distraction as a Way of Knowing (Belmont University) – The professor “reads aloud illustrated books The Simple People and Toby’s Toe to teach lessons about what to value by being alive. Students listen to music while doodling in class.”

17. “Cyberporn And Society” (State University of New York at Buffalo) Undergraduates taking Cyberporn and Society at the State University of New York at Buffalo survey Internet porn sites.

19. “Getting Dressed” (Princeton) Chart the major moments of your lives through clothes. “If you pop open your closet, can you recall your lives?”

20. “How To Watch Television” (Montclair) – “The aim is for students to critically evaluate the role and impact of television in their lives as well as in the life of the culture. The means to achieve this aim is an approach that combines media theory and criticism with media education.”

“Are you starting to understand why our college graduates can’t function effectively when they graduate and go out into the real world?”

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Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.