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Check out some interesting courses to take during the summer semester

The countdown to summer has begun, and, along with the sunshine ahead, students at Case Western Reserve University have a compelling lineup of summer classes to look forward to. Some graduate/professional schools’ summer semester registration is already open, while undergraduates can begin scheduling Monday, March 28.

Whether they’re looking to lighten course loads for fall, finish some prerequisites, or simply learn something new, CWRU students have a number of interesting, unexpected, and eye-catching classes from which to choose—think: modern robot programming or superheroes in pop culture.

The courses highlighted here—many suggested by departments—are categorized in the following subject areas:

  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business, Law and Politics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Science and Tech

Need more inspiration? Check out the registrar’s website for additional course listings.

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

ARTS 286: Introduction to Video Game Design

Game design creates meaningful play through interactive experiences. This introductory studio-based course explores games through the development and creation of 2D video games. The course aims to provide a critical vocabulary and historical context for analyzing games and gaming theory and focuses on the skills and techniques necessary to develop 2D video games.

Instructor: Jared Bendis, associate professor and creative new media officer, Kelvin Smith Library 

HSTY 124: Sex and the City: Gender & Urban History

Gender is an identity and an experience written onto the spaces of the city. The urban landscape—with its streets, buildings, bridges, parks and squares—shapes and reflects gender identities and sexual relations. This course examines the relationship between gender and urban space from the 19th century to the present, giving special attention to the city of Cleveland. Using Cleveland as our case study, this course will explore some of the many ways in which cities and the inhabitants of cities have been historically sexed, gendered and sexualized. We will explore the ways in which gender was reflected and constructed by the built environment, as well as how urban space and urban life shaped gender and sexual identities. The course is organized thematically and explores different aspects of city life such as prostitution, urban crime, labor, politics, urban renewal and decay, consumption and leisure and the ways in which sex and gender intersects with these issues. In addition to reading and analyzing secondary and primary sources, we will also experience how gender is being written onto the urban landscape by walking in the city and going to its museums.

Instructor: Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, visiting instructor, Department of History

THTR 207: Our Heroes, Ourselves: Superheroes and Popular Culture

Since the beginning of cinema, audiences have flocked to see larger-than-life superheroes conquer the unconquerable while also teaching us about ourselves and confirming (or challenging) our world view. Beginning with cinematic serials in the 1920s and continuing to the recent Marvel production machine, these films not only depict a hero’s efforts to save the world from disaster again and again, but also trace the development of our popular culture. Issues of violence, nationalism, the presentation and treatment of women, racial stereotypes, and spectacle among other topics can be discussed after viewing each film, providing an opportunity to explore the changing expectations of American audiences and the developing form of contemporary cinema.

Instructor: Jeffrey Ullom, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Theater

Seminar: UNIV 200: Career Exploration & Professional Connection (1 credit)

The purpose of this course is to help students identify and explore meaningful careers through a process of self-discovery and guided conversations with our alumni speakers. Over the course of this seminar, we will assess ourselves to understand our values, strengths, skills, and interests, and we will also examine what it means and what it takes to launch and sustain a successful career. To aid us on this journey, we will leverage the technological power of Microsoft Career Coach as well as the lived experiences and perspectives of alumni in order to ultimately envision and chart our own career goals moving forward. The course will feature CEOs, philanthropists, community leaders and other alumni in a variety of fields.

Instructors: Joy K. Ward, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor in the Department of Biology, and Drew Poppleton, director of Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education

Business, Law and Politics

LAWS 5753: Child Welfare 

This course explores the underlying principles of child welfare, including the state’s right to intervene where children are being abused or neglected; legal and psychological parameters of neglect; the parent’s right to raise children as they see fit, including the use of corporal punishment; the termination of parental rights; the role of an attorney GAL; legal representation of the agency and parents in child welfare hearings; and the liability of child welfare agencies. The format is lecture, discussion and student presentation and simulation. The course includes a trial and concludes with a final paper and student presentations on topics of their choice.

Instructor: Katy Mercer, professor of lawyering skills, School of Law

ORBH 250: Leading People

Leadership is universal—we all have times when we lead and times when we follow, we all are striving to achieve our goals and build lives that support our values and personal visions, we all are challenged by difficult conversations and relationships. ORBH 250 offers a dynamic mix of individual and team-based activities coupled with discussions, short lectures, and guest speakers to provide students with fertile ground for exploring and expanding their individual leadership repertoire.

Limitations: At least sophomore standing

Instructor: Tracey Messer, assistant professor, organizational behavior, Weatherhead School of Management 

Health and Wellness

NURS 415: Introduction to Childbirth

This course will provide an overview of the process of physiologic labor and birth and methods to facilitate normal processes and minimize interventions. Anatomical and physiologic factors of labor and birth will be explored in detail. The psychologic, social and cultural influences on labor will be examined. Preparation for childbirth by the woman and her family will be explored. The influences of family and health care providers during the labor and birth process will be analyzed. No prerequisites required.

Limitations: Open to any graduate student or senior undergraduate with permission of instructor.

Instructor: Rachel Kay, clinical assistant professor, Division of Nurse-Midwifery Department of Reproductive Biology, School of Medicine

Science and Tech

ECSE/CSDS 373/474: Modern Robot Programming

Modern Robot Programming teaches students to use free and open source software (Robot Operating System or ROS) to write programs for robots to complete tasks. Importantly, ROS includes a simulation ability (Gazebo) that simulates the robots and environment for the students. ROS and Gazebo are also used for a virtual robotic competition, ARIAC (Agile Robotics for Industrial Automation Competition) sponsored by NIST and industrial partners. ARIAC provides simulated robots and environments developed by NIST to address the needs of industrial automation.

ARIAC creates environments and scenarios every year for industrial automation tasks in a virtual warehouse that are published for anyone to use. The environments are of high quality, are free, and provide a platform for students to develop the basics of programming robotic tasks of interest to the industrial automation community. While it is not part of the course to submit to compete (competition dates, advanced scenarios, etc. preclude this), the ARIAC scenarios provide useful and engaging experiences for students in which they can learn about modern robot programming tools and skills by programming a virtual robotic system.

By the end of the semester, teams of three in the course have created programs that ship virtual orders in the environment developed for the ARIAC competition. The fall 2020 offering of the course was possible because students could install this software on their own computer and could work on the programs collaboratively over Zoom.

Limitations: ENGR 131 or CSDS 132

Instructor: Greg Lee, assistant professor, Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering

MPHP 540: Operational Aspects of International Disaster Relief

You are working in Ukraine with an International Relief Organization (WHO) after graduating with your Masters of Public Health. On the ground, you will hear news that the WHO monitors are reporting 10,000 Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the 15th century monastery near the border of the conflict zone. Supply chains are down, and food and medicines are reportedly scarce. What information do you want to obtain? Who do you reliably ask? What are your realistic goals? Knowledge of how to perform needs assessments in situations like this is commonplace in international medical relief missions. These situations and more will be discussed and taught during the course.

Limitations: Open to Master of Public Health students.

Instructors: Faculty from CWRU Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and University Hospitals’ Department of Emergency Medicine