Persuasion, Life Hurts, German Love Poetry and Gettin’ Medieval are just some of the wacky courses offered at Webster for students to study for the Fall semester’s eight weeks.
Con Christeson, a speech communications adjunct professor, teaches a Fall II course on the art of persuasion. The course doesn’t focus on the style of persuading others, but the other way around.
“We look at the ways you have been influenced and how you are influenced by the world,” Christeson said. “The way politics, sales and other media have influence in your life.”
The course then teaches students how to identify the deceptive topic and explains how people react to certain situations. Christeson has taught the course four times.
“Persuasion” is a required three-credit course in the speech communications department. The class deals with communication theory.
“I use them as examples and see how much influence I have over them,” Christeson said.
The challenge Christeson faces is how to condense and teach the mass amount of information into eight weeks. The class also studies why people buy what others sell.
“I will be bringing in a person from Lou Fusz that sold me two cars and have him tell the students how he does it,” Christeson said.
Contemporary Topics: Life Hurts
Life doesn’t always deliver the best cards. Steve Werner, an english adjunct professor, explores the negative perspectives of life through his class, Contemporary Topics: Life Hurts.
“It started 12 years ago,” Werner said. “I was in a strange mood and thought ‘What if we did a course on ‘Life Sucks?’ ”
The course stopped for a while, but when it was picked back up they dropped the “Life Sucks” and replaced it with Life Hurts.
Students look at how people have an “end of the world” feeling when dealing with their personal suffering. The goal of the course is to allow students to find new ways of thinking about pain and suffering.
“People tend to think they’ve been picked on by fate, or they’ve done something wrong, or their problems are unique,” Werner said.
Establishing Life Hurts wasn’t difficult, Werner requested it through the English department and if students attended then he could continue teaching the course. So many students were interested in the course, Werner had to request a bigger room.
“I want to get them to talk and think about the issues in life,” Werner said. “It’s like a therapy session by getting students to think through different pains and difficulties in life.”
German Love Poetry
An upper level German course is offered at Webster called German Love Poetry. The course is taught in German by German native Jan Jost-Fritz, adjunct professor. He’s teaching this course for the first time this semester, but said he isn’t very nervous.
“I suggested poetry,” Jost-Fritz said. “You don’t need much because poetry is interesting and connecting it to contemporary poems today to different poems in history will be fun.”
Students will dive into discussions about what love is on a social and political scale.
“The simplest way to state this is everything we do in this class we will be about love and poetry,” Jost-Fritz said.
Jost-Fritz will also have students listening to old and recent songs (pop, hip-hop) and discover that almost everything is the same in the music and poems over time.
The class was brought to Paula Hanssen, the assistant professor and coordinator of German studies. She approved of the course.
Students in the class aren’t all German majors, but being able to speak and understand the language is vital because all the material is in German. Students will also look at poetry in Italy and France and how those countries influenced German poetry.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Jost-Fritz said. “We have different text to read and an interesting curriculum.”
The term “Gettin’ medieval” quoted by Samuel L. Jackson came from the movie “Pulp Fiction.” Anita Hagerman, an adjunct English professor, decided to have students decipher what exactly does it mean to “get medieval” on someone.
Blood, guts, sword play and knights at the round table are all dicussed in Gettin’ Medieval. Students read material which will help them not only understand the medieval period, but also show the true nature of the period.
“Think of the era as everyone in a level of pain,” Hagerman said. “Dental care wasn’t the best and people don’t want to think of a Robin Hood without teeth or missing some.”
The English department at Webster offers a literature to film course every semester and Hagerman was asked if she had any ideas. Hagerman thought that an eight-week course studying the concepts of the medieval period would be interesting for students.
This is the first time the course is offered and Hagerman has a plan for the class — read a text, watch a movie and then discussion of the film and movie.
Students will also get the chance to identify issues back then and how they relate to issues today.
“We see many topics coming up about the medieval period that mirror some of the topics back then,” Hagerman said. “Topics like church and state and how much should the government control?”
So far the class has 24 students registered. Hagerman believes the more the merrier and discussion and analysis is accepted and encouraged.