Who says online courses can’t be just as engaging as their on-campus counterparts? Virtual studies have progressed well beyond basic readings for core requirements to include methods and material that get students excited.
Here’s a peek at a few online offerings sure to keep participants engaged:
Major Concepts in Biology, UNC Greensboro
The title may not immediately spur a rush to register, but the exciting content sure does. Inspired by the TV show “Lost,” the course takes place on an imaginary island. As students wander, they encounter different biological issues and must use their science skills to analyze situations – including figuring out if humans really can be turned into zombies. The course even has a lab component using common kitchen items for experiments that provide a first-hand look at decomposition, photosynthesis, and other relevant concepts.
The Lived Experience of World War II, Arizona State University
A perennial innovator in online education, a partnership with The National WWII Museum enables students in the new online master’s program in World War II Studies to learn from both ASU scholars and museum historians. This particular required class “explores the personal experiences of those who lived through and participated in World War II.” No doubt the access the museum grants students to its oral histories and other artifacts (some of which aren’t available to the public) enriches the learning experience.
World Religious Traditions I, University of Phoenix
By the end of this introductory course, students know about the life of Buddha, the core beliefs of Hinduism, and the challenges faced by Eastern religions today. And while conveying what they’ve learned through tests and papers certainly demonstrates diligence, everyone knows a picture is worth a thousand words. Enter the Shinto Art Creator, an online tool that helps students create illustrations representative of the Shinto religion. Finished masterpieces – based on concepts such as deliberate simplicity, service to others, and reverence for nature – are shared with classmates.
The Monster and Monstrous in Literature, Saint Leo University
From watching the silent film Nosferatu and discussing possible reasons Count Orlok doesn’t look like the modern sexy vampire to exploring the Centers for Disease Control’s website page on zombie preparedness, students completing this popular English class will never look at Frankenstein and other fiends the same again. A recent assignment tasked participants with finding and sharing an image of what family means to them and then reading Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. (Spoiler alert: The main character awakens one morning transformed into a giant bug). “Since so much of Kafka’s story is an exploration of family dynamics, students can relate to it because we all have families and generally have all experienced some sort of crisis — even if it’s not having a relative turn into vermin!” notes professor Kathryn Duncan.
Occupational Safety and Health for Workplace Professionals, Penn State World Campus
Finally, it only makes sense that students training as leaders in workplace safety put their knowledge to the test by evaluating actual worksites, right? But you can’t just meet up at designated spots when classmates oftentimes reside on opposite ends of the country – or can you? Enter the magic of technology. Everyone in this graduate course has access to the same workspaces courtesy of 360-degree videos that capture the entire environment and create an immersive experience using a virtual reality headset. Students learn to see each workplace through an OSHA inspector’s eyes, providing great training for future careers in which they’ll need to identify safety violations and hazardous conditions.