Tag Archives: non-engineering classes

Kayaking

Tanner Wick

Tanner Wick,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2019

To get my mind off of my senior design this spring, I enrolled in kayaking! Though I have canoed and kayaked a few times in the past, I never formally learned any techniques. I thought this course would be a perfect way to learn the fundamentals and have a chance to spend some time outdoors.

The first couple of classes were taught in the aquatics center to practice basic paddling strokes and maneuverability. The best exercise was the wet exits where students had to exit the kayak after flipping over.

During the weekend skills portion of the class, the class went to Dow Lake, Burr Oak Lake, and the Hocking River. Some light rain and high winds on Burr Oak made for excitingly rough conditions to tackle.

Kayaking

At the end of the second day, the students played a game similar to ultimate Frisbee but in kayaks. Unfortunately, I flipped over during the game. But I performed a wet exit and drained my kayak of water, then jumped right back into the game.

The weekend ended with a trip down the Hocking River and into the Ohio River. This was much less energy intensive than open water kayaking, as the river current helped push the kayaks downstream.

I am very glad with my decision to enroll in the course this semester. I made new friends, learned new skills, and had an awesome trip.

Astronomy

Maggie Allen

Maggie Allen,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2019

This semester, for fun I’m taking an introductory astronomy course. In this class, we learn about lunar cycles, major constellations, and eclipses and how to locate things such as stars and planets in the night sky. This class takes place on Tuesday nights which is my busiest day of the week, but it’s worth it because I get a mental break from my engineering classes and get to learn about interesting things along the way!

This class is scheduled late in the evening because when nights are clear, we get to go to the observatory in the Ridges to observe the night sky. So far, we haven’t been able to go observing because there haven’t been any clear Tuesday nights, but it’s still interesting to listen to the lectures.

The professor of this class has been interested in astronomy since he was a kid, so he is passionate about the subject and he has many anecdotes of traveling the world to places such as Egypt and countries in South America to catch eclipses and other events at the best path of visibility. Also, at the end of almost every lecture he gets out an old projector to show us pictures that he has taken from his years of observing and travels.

I’m really glad I decided to take this class because it is a nice break from my engineering classes and it’s nice to expand my knowledge beyond technical information. Coming to class every week is like a little adventure: we’ll either learn about outer space, go outside to observe the stars, or hear fun anecdotes from the professor!

A Class about Fairytales

Jason Wherry

Jason Wherry,
Junior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 20 February 2019

I am enrolled in ENG 3080J, Writing and Rhetoric II, this semester and it has been a well-timed refresh button on coursework. In this class we analyze both classic fairytales and modern retellings of fairytales. Commonly, we write about them, and ask ourselves questions like “What does this fairytale mean in a modern setting?”.

This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it is for a Computer Science major like myself because our major does not require us to write many papers and express our interpretation of a text. I get to formulate opinions and communicate my ideas through class discussions which are vastly different from most of my CS classes. In other words, I am absolutely psyched that I chose this class to fill my Junior composition credit.

Some of the authors that I have enjoyed so far include Charles Perrault, Brothers Grimm, and Michael Cunningham. Perrault is responsible for some of my favorite works such as “Blue Beard” and “Little Red Riding Hood”. Reading these fairytales has retaught me to read for fun and enjoy the genre of fantasy. It had been a long time—since the Harry Potter days, to be exact—that I sat down to read a piece of text that did not explain a concept in which I had to learn and apply in order to accomplish a task.

On the flip side, now that I allocate time to read for fun, I am more focused when I read articles and textbooks for classes. If you ever feel stuck in your major-required classes, take a moment to research other classes outside your major that intrigue you to freshen up your studies and learn something new.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Tanner Wick

Tanner Wick,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 11 October 2018

During my senior year, I decided to pursue an entrepreneurship certificate! This program is built for non-business majors to develop an “entrepreneurial mindset” by exposing them to critical skills for starting a company. The certificate consists of three required courses and two electives. This semester, I am taking the first class. It’s fittingly called Introduction to Entrepreneurship.

The primary objective of the class is work within a team to develop and pitch a business idea. This has been extremely exciting so far! It has been a lot of fun working with students from other majors and capitalizing on each other’s strengths. I am also learning how I could potentially turn my engineering degree into an entrepreneurial career.

For my team’s business, we are focusing on the outdoor billboard market. We are attempting to make it easier for advertisers to locate available boards. Furthermore, the team is interested in developing an app that stores useful information for each advertising board. That way, anyone that reads a billboard can quickly open the app and ask for more information.

To develop the business, we are creating a comprehensive business plan. This entails value propositions, key partners, and financial planning. Once complete, the team will pitch to a panel of investors and join a national video pitch competition.

I never strongly considered being an entrepreneur; rather, I always saw myself joining a large company after graduation. This class has changed that vision. I am now interested in joining a team to grow an idea into a successful venture. I feel such an experience would be tough yet exhilarating. I have high hopes the remaining certificate classes will cultivate this newfound interest.

Learning Web Design

Wesley Book

Wesley Book,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 8 October 2018

This fall semester I am enrolled in Basic Web Design (VICO-2561). Although this is a website design class, this course is not part of the Computer Science curriculum. Covering key concepts like user interfaces and user experiences, this class has become especially interesting to me, and has already shown what value its content will bring.

As a Computer Science major, I have grown accustomed to using programming languages to create a website, however, this is not the case in this class. Instead, we are using software tools, like WordPress, to help us create our websites. In addition to the creation process, we are studying some core concepts of the web design process, like web typography, wireframes, page layout, navigation, and personas, to help better the website development process.

The concepts we are studying in this class have also become useful in other classes I am currently enrolled in. I have been able to apply some design techniques, like creating sitemaps, to help along our senior design project me and three other of my colleagues are currently working on. To be able to utilize material we are covering in this class makes the class much more valuable and interesting.

Learning about Organizational Behavior

Maggie Allen

Maggie Allen,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 7 October 2018

This semester, for a technical elective I am taking a class called Organizational Behavior. In this course, we examine the behavior of individuals and groups in organizations. We also examine what makes a high performing team and what causes individuals to have high job satisfaction.

Using all this information, the purpose is to enhance career readiness in management. I really enjoy going to this class because of how different the environment is than all my other engineering courses. The professor comes into class every day dressed in a suit (which is very different than the usual casually-dressed engineering professor), excited and full of energy and writes the topics we will cover that day on the board.

The class is more of a discussion rather than a lecture and rather than copying down a PowerPoint, we take notes from the things that he says, using his ‘itinerary’ on the board as a guide. During the lectures, he frequently has fun stories to tell that relates to the material we are learning. These stories range from his experiences working at a bike shop while in college to his first job out of college, working at a dot-com. He also encourages us to be more observant and see how the material we learn in class plays into our everyday life.

I’m glad that I signed up for this class because it is a great chance to expand my knowledge beyond technical information and to gain insight on how individuals behave and how it is important to be aware of this, especially when in a leadership role.

Scuba Class

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 March 2018

Each semester of college, I usually take about 5 classes. Most of them are engineering courses straight from the Mechanical Engineering flow chart found on the website for OU, but I always try to squeeze in one different class. For example, I took a dance class for a fine arts credit freshman year, two courses for my scholar’s program (Margaret Boyd Scholars) on Women in Leadership, an entrepreneurship class last year, a business consulting class to study abroad in Greece, and this semester a SCUBA class.

SCUBA class consists of an online class and a lab for two hours once a week. Every few weeks we meet in a lecture for two hours before the lab to go over important topics, such as learning how to use equipment, dive tables, and an exam review.

The lab is my favorite part of the class. In lab, we put on our equipment and learn all the skills necessary for scuba diving. Some of those include surface dives, regulator breathing, buddy breathing, water entries, and bailout. I am usually exhausted after each lab from swimming and carrying around all the equipment.

One of the reasons I decided to take this course is because I have always loved the water, but sometimes don’t participate in water activities because I don’t like being cold. I bought a wet suit so I have no excuse now. SCUBA has taught me how to be a more patient and relaxed person because if you aren’t relaxed when SCUBA diving, lots of things can go wrong. At the end of course, I can even get certified if I pass my pool and written exams.