8 Quirky Online Courses to Check Out

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Quirky online courses available to students and the public alike help remind us that education can be fun and enjoyable. Here’s a list of eight courses that are a little -or a whole lot- outside the box. Take a break from your algebra or to-do list and enroll in one of these!

Course 1: Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”
Affiliated University: UC Irvine (available on Canvas)
Description: “From understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as its basis.”

Course 2: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
Affiliated University: Alfred University
Description: “This class will study the notion of the apocalypse or “the end of the world” in mythology, literature, film, graphic novels, and science. Why are people drawn to these stories, and why do we continue to tell them? What do the different causes/incarnations of The End say about our culture? And how the heck did the darkest apocalyptic novel in recent memory end up as an Oprah Book Club selection?”

Course 3: Climate Change in Four Dimensions
Affiliated University: UC San Diego (available on Coursera)
Description: “This course views climate change from a variety of perspectives at the intersection of the natural sciences, technology, and the social sciences and humanities.”

Course 4: The Camera Never Lies
Affiliated University: University of London (available on Coursera)
Description: “This short history course is an introduction to use of images and other media as historical evidence in the twentieth century, issues of authenticity and manipulation, and the place of film and historical adoptions as public history.”

Course 5: Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science
Affiliated University: HarvardX (available on Edx)
Description: “Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine can illuminate basic principles in physics and engineering, and vice versa.”

Course 6: Astrobiology and Space Exploration
Affiliated University: Stanford (available on youtube and Itunes U Video)
Description: “Astrobiology asks: Where do we come from? Are we alone? Where are we going? This course gives an overview of the excitement of astrobiology and space exploration, from the origin of our own biofriendly universe to questions of the future of mankind both on Earth and beyond.”

Course 7: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World
Affiliated University: University of Michigan (available on Coursera)
Description: “We understand the world — and our selves — through stories. Then some of those hopes and fears become the world.”

Course 8: The Science of Superheroes
Affiliated University: UC Irvine
Description: “Have you ever wondered if Superman could really bend steel bars? Would a “gamma ray” accident turn you into the Hulk? What is a “spidey-sense”? And just who did think of all these superheroes and their powers? In this seminar, we discuss the science (or lack of science) behind many of the most famous superheroes. Even more amazing, we will discuss what kind of superheroes might be imagined using our current scientific understanding.”