2018 Course List | 2017 Course List | 2016 Course List | 2015 Course List | 2014 Course List | 2013 Course List | 2012 Course List | 2011 Course List

How to Find an Exoplanet
There's always talk about life in the universe on planets beyond our solar system. But, are there such planets? We'll answer this question and more as we investigate the astrophysical techniques of professional "exoplanet hunters." Where do we look, how do we detect these planets, and are they habitable?

The Future of Education
You go to school every day. You work with certain students, you do homework, and you get grades. Do you know why? Together we will consider the good and the bad in American schools and develop our own vision of how schools can improve.

Starting a Startup
Google. McDonalds. Southwest Airlines. Apple. All of these companies had to have started somewhere. In "How to Start a Startup: Building a Business" we'll learn how to start our own company. We'll figure out what we need to do before we start our company, then we'll find out how to run the company once we get it started. We'll also learn about successful "startups" and what their owners did to make their companies so great.

Statistics in Public Discourse
Numbers never lie, but they can certainly be misleading. A commercial may claim a new drug is 99% effective, but is it actually useful? News networks offer different predictions of upcoming elections, claiming their preferred candidate is most likely to win. A college advertises small average class sizes, but most students find themselves stuck in giant lecture halls. We'll take a look how statistics are commonly used, misused, and manipulated in the public discourse.

A Global Economy
As the world gets more globalized and interconnected, the need for knowing how economies work and why they are such a vital part of our lives increases as well. In this class, we will learn how markets work, how prices are determined, what international trade and specialization are, why we pay taxes, how banks work, and how you become part of the economy when you decide how to spend your money and how much to save.

Robots, Facebook, and You
Phones, computers, Facebook, automated checkout machines-- technology is in every part of our lives, even when we're not thinking about it. What are the true costs and benefits of the machines that we use every day? How is technology changing the way we think and interact with each other? Is there is a point at which technology will go too far... Or has it already gone too far? Come learn about all the extraordinary ways technology affects you.

Synthetic Biology: the Legos of Life
What if you could put cells together like Legos? You could put the gene that makes jellyfish glow into a dog--and then you'd have a glowing dog! And, in fact, now you can. With the emergence of synthetic biology, people are making genetic "parts" that can be added together, allowing us to use bacteria to do things they've never done before. This new field, synthetic biology, presents a way to solve many of the world's problems, such as malaria, clean energy, and lack of food. In this class we will look at how synthetic biology works, and the possibilities--and risks-- it spells for our future.

The Art of the Remix
Who truly owns an idea? We're all used to the remixes and samples we encounter in hip-hop, rap and dubstep, and in this course we will begin to explore the values of these re-usages as well as studying other areas where remix plays a big role. We'll also be discussing the lines between remix and plagiarism, and if, at the end of the day, there really is a difference between the two.