Unique Learning Opportunities

Luke Wyatt, Plainsmen Post Staff

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World Civilization students get a chance to learn about ancient civilizations in class.

Courtesy Photo
World Civilization students get a chance to learn about ancient civilizations in class.

Every student takes classes they are required to take, and many students pick out a few electives which are related to their degree. There are some classes, however, that hold a certain appeal that few others share. These classes allow professors and students to have a bit more fun while carrying out their education. Two of these classes offered at FPC include World Civilizations taught by History Professor John Jordan and Environmental Biology taught by Biology Professor Matthew Broxson.

Jordan gets right to the heart of the difference between World Civilization and his other classes.

“1301 and 1302 are different because they’re legislatively mandated. I get to experiment a little bit more with classes like this,” Jordan said.

World Civilization is a discussion based class which overviews all of human civilization from the earliest known up until the beginning of the 16th century. Discussion topics include the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire, the Ming Dynasty, the Aztecs, and many more.

“I enjoy the class. I enjoy the people in the class, and I think these guys are doing a good job with the discussion so far,” Jordan said

Sean Odell, a student in World Civilization, said that he enjoyed learning about Greece during this class.

“I do enjoy the discussions and I think we get a lot done,” Odell said.

This semester is also the first time Jordan has taught World Civilization.

“It’s a learning experience for me too, it’s not just this class; every class I teach is always a learning experience. I think the day that I stop learning is the day I probably need to retire,” Jordan said.

However, since it is not yet a core class, Jordan is unsure if he will be teaching the class again.

“If there is enough demand, I may add it to the core, but the short term plan is not to,” Jordan said.

Environmental Biology is another class which covers a broad spectrum and leaves room for experimentation. Professor Matthew Broxson said that the class includes everything from human populations and pathogenicity to politics and business, as well as some of the more obvious topics of discussion in an Environmental Biology class.

“We do talk about problems with the environment and why we see these different upsets the way that we see them,” Broxson said.

Broxson said these upsets can be primarily attributed to human decisions and that the class covers such a broad range of topics to be thorough.

“To really understand something you’ve got to talk about all sides of it. It’s not just as simple as we tend to make it. Good vs bad vs convenient vs inconvenient. It’s all of these things,” Broxson said.

It seems that with this class Broxson would like to take a slightly different approach for the future.

“I want to get a little more away from demonstrations and try to shift more into students solving problems,” Broxson said. “Not just necessarily problems I pose, but incorporating the scientific method into our labs more so they can get a little more exposure to that and then allow their own creativity to come out and develop that side of their objective reasoning,”

He said he intended to succeed in this effort by becoming more learning in the field to reinforce learned concepts.

“My view for the future is to become more field based so we get out, actually doing some measurements outside to demonstrate some of these things that we talk about indoors,” Broxson said.

Odell, who is also enrolled in Environmental Biology, said he enjoys both classes. One of the best thing about the classes, he said, is the professors.

“Broxson breaks things down, explains in a lot of depth, and gives you the background on everything,” Odell said.

Only about five students typically enroll in Environmental Biology each year. Broxson believes this is due to the perception of the class as being non-core.

“We had it two more semesters before we got it built as the core course that it is now, and I think that’s left a lot of students, as well as faculty members, who think that it’s still that same course that we started off with when it wasn’t core,” Broxson said.

Broxson would like to invite students to take Environmental Biology next fall and let them know that it will count towards the required science credit hours.

“I try to cater the class to both science majors and non-science majors.”

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Unique Learning Opportunities