Pre-College Programs

Courses Starting the Week of June 14, 2015 (39)

From I Love Lucy to Lost: Television and American Culture

In this course, we will study how television reflects and shapes American culture, from its beginnings as focal point of family life in the suburban 1950s to its current status as interactive experience. We will look at television as a business, as a medium, and as a cultural force. Within that framework, we will analyze who decides which programs to put on the air, and how...

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The Wars Within: Patriotism and Protest in Twentieth-Century America

Why do Americans go to war? How do conflicts abroad shape politics at home? In this course, students will study debates concerning freedom of speech, civil rights, and political repression during the two World Wars, the early Cold War, and the Vietnam era. Reading a range of primary sources, including political speeches, journalism, and literature, discussions will reflect...

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'Girl Code': Sex, Gender, and Pop Culture

Using the MTV series 'Girl Code' as a platform, this course introduces basic concepts and perspectives of our gendered lives by placing gender, sexuality and culture at the center of analysis. An emphasis will be placed on pop culture and how it continues to shape our understanding of the concepts of 'women', 'men', 'sex'...

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The Science of the Human Past: Using Biology to Dissect History

History and Biology are often seen as distinct or even competing fields. This class will explore the enormous collaborative potential of both disciplines to deepen and enrich our understanding of the early development of human societies.

In this course, we will use both biological and historical approaches to explore the emergence and development of early human societies...

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Scholar-Athlete: Sport Physiology

To understand the organ systems integrated response and adaptations to the stress of exercise.

This topic is interesting to anyone who wants to understand what their body is actually doing during exercise and post exercise at the biological level. The course will introduce and demystify training regimens and diets. Students will be introduced to sciences' evolving...

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Principles of Human Physiology - Part A

Physiology is the critical study of how living things function. It is not anatomy, but as one of the most fundamental disciplines in the biomedical sciences, it depends heavily on anatomical and biological concepts. An understanding of the basic principles of physiology, especially in regard to our own bodies, is an invaluable part of any budding physicians' or scientists'...

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DNA Science: Forensics, Food, and Medicine

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

DNA can solve a crime, identify a future disease, and distinguish our common ancestors. A remarkable molecule, it has often been referred to as the “building block of life.”

Advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to an explosion in our understanding of DNA and how it impacts us, both as individuals and as a society. This course will introduce...

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The Life of a Drug: from Discovery to Market

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without Tylenol or penicillin? How were these drugs discovered? How did they become so popular? Pharmaceutical companies spend over 1 billion dollars developing just one new drug and getting it to the market. Why does it cost so much money? In this course you will find out the answers to these questions and get a look behind...

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Making Informed Financial Decisions in Today's World Economy

This course introduces students to concepts and tools needed to understand basic economic decision making. By examining how individuals, governments and businesses allocate resources, students will gain an understanding of the environment in which resource decisions are made. In this course, we focus on economic analysis rather than investments. We examine some of the instruments...

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Technology and its Effect on Business and World Economies

In 1980, three television stations provided entertainment, telephones were stuck to walls, computers took up entire rooms and people found facts in books and consumer goods in a store. Today, smart chips no bigger than a fingernail hold more information than the computer of the 1980s, Google processes 1.2 trillion Internet searches per year worldwide, ecommerce sales topped...

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Classic Fairy Tales Reconsidered

This course introduces students to the original versions of fairy tales and makes them aware the tradition continues to present times.

Originally, fairy tales were not intended for children but throughout much of their history were told among adult audiences for entertainment and instruction. During Romanticism, fairy tales were understood as tales sending a strong...

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Experimental Writing

Experimental Writing is offered to high school students interested in producing works of fiction and non-fiction. By thinking critically about both established authors' works and those of their peers, students will enhance their own understanding of writing. They will have the opportunity to practice drafting in a variety of styles and genres, including memoir, poetry,...

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Communicating Science: Writing, Editing, Reviewing and Presenting the Language of Science

Do you see science or medicine in your future? Two of the greatest challenges facing budding scientists/physicians are to learn the unique language of science and how to effectively communicate with peers. This course introduces essential skills necessary for any science major or premed, emphasizing the language of science and how information is disseminated. Students who...

Writing the Expository Essay

This course is designed to teach you how to introduce your voice into an academic conversation. You will learn how to closely read primary texts, summarize arguments, evaluate and respond to critical sources, incorporate evidence and cite references, and employ a variety of rhetorical tools and strategies that will strengthen your position.

This course is designed...

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Putting Yourself into Words

This week-long workshop will explore the balance between self-expression and effective communication essential to writing powerful personal narratives, college admissions essays, and creative reflections. As you write and receive feedback daily, you’ll learn not only about purpose, revision, and style, but also about writing as a means of exploring, learning, figuring...

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Alternative Energy Engineering - An Introduction

One of the most pressing issues of modern times is how we will satisfy our future energy needs and what influence this might have on global warming. Energy research should receive significant funding from the Obama administration, and many new developments now try to "go green". This course will provide a strong introduction to many of the relevant issues and provide...

Materials Engineering: A Revolution in the Making

What do you think would be the greatest, coolest invention of this century? Many of the greatest scientists and technologists believe that this would be in the field of Materials research " of new materials that have amazing properties, and what’s more " are capable of changing themselves to suit their requirements. Though we know of an amazing array of materials,...

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Modern Rapid Prototyping Techniques

In this course you will have an introduction to the art of fabricating cast metal prototypes. Using three dimensional computer aided design software, rapid prototyping equipment, and the undergraduate Materials science lab to make metal castings, this course will demonstrate some of the basic ideas about how engineers go about designing and fabricating prototypes in the modern...

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Renewable Energy Engineering: Wind and Solar Power

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

The demand for energy is expected to grow 30% by 2040. What role can engineers play in developing renewable energy sources? In this course, you will explore the some of the science, math, and technology that is used to extract energy from renewable resources. You will:

• Apply engineering concepts and principles to solving renewable energy issues
• Examine how...

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Ancient Art in the Flesh: Discovering ancient art at the RISD Museum

This course will introduce students to the art of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the context of the museum. Students will learn about ancient art, and how to apply this knowledge to museum collections; they will devise and present talks on ancient objects in the RISD galleries, and also have the opportunity to design their own exhibition.

Students will receive an introduction...

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History at the Movies

Whether historians like it or not, most people learn about the past at the movies. Historical movies, from Birth of a Nation (1915) to Lincoln (2012) and The Butler (2013) have larger audiences and greater cultural impact on public perceptions of history than the most celebrated and well-known scholars. Traditionally, historians have grumbled about filmmakers’ who encroached...

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Empire States: An Introduction to Imperialism through Pre-Modern Empires

How can ancient Rome help us understand Beijing? Why should we care about the Hittite Empire? This course aims to introduce students to the concepts, applications and practices of imperialism by exploring empires of the pre-modern world.

This course aims to use a comparative perspective to understand imperialism by focusing on the empires of the pre-modern era from...

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How Big Is Infinity? And Other Math Questions

Have you ever wondered how many numbers there really are or how big infinity is? Many mathematicians have asked these questions, and the answers can be fascinating...and sometimes quite strange. This course will be a journey through the mathematical concepts that have helped answer such questions, and along the way you'll get a taste of what pure mathematics is all about.

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Logic & Paradox

Logic is a system of rules upon which human reasoning is based. It pervades every academic discipline, from mathematics to the sciences, to the humanities. It is a tool that we deploy in our everyday lives. To philosophers, logic is a deep and complex subject of study in its own right. This course is devoted in part to exploring this system of rules, which we will build from...

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African Music and Dance Experience

In this course, students will learn to perform music from Ghana, Togo and neighboring countries of West Africa leading up to a final public performance at the end of the two-week session. Students will learn to play new types of music, gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for African cultures, learn all the dances, songs and drum parts for the genres studied and...

Ethics: Theory and Practice

What kind of justification can we give for our ethical decisions? Do other people have to accept our justifications? These are questions everyone grapples with, and wondering about it never ends. This course will address different answers philosophers give to these questions.

We’ve all faced tough ethical decisions and given reasons to support what we did....

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The Body in Pain

Physicians, scientists, philosophers, and writers alike have grappled with the challenges of describing physical pain. The question of pain -- and more specifically how much pain one is able to or should endure -- is found in discourses pertaining to issues as diverse as healthcare, sports, grief, sexuality, illness, disability, torture, capital punishment, and war.

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Conscience and the Philosophy of Civil Disobedience

This is a course about breaking the law. The law is not always on the side of justice, and when it is not, we have to decide what to do about it. Do we obey the law, or do we engage in civil disobedience?

But what is civil disobedience, and what makes it different from other kinds of law breaking? Are we only allowed to participate in civil disobedience when the...

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Democracy and Crisis: Freedom, Security and Emergency Politics

Wiretapping. Enhanced, invasive airport security screening. Evacuations. Financial bailouts. In these and many other ways, our regular ways of democratic life are disrupted when a crisis looms. But what happens to individual freedom and the accountability of government to its citizens when the red alert siren goes off?

How can (and should) we "as citizens,...

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Ethics and International Affairs

This course examines the complex relationship between ethics and politics in international affairs. Starting with an overview of different perspectives on the role of ethics and morality in international relations, the course then explores the ethical dimensions of issues central to foreign policy and the study of world politics, including the use of force, human rights, and...

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After Snowden -- Spies, Lies and Secrets in a Transparent World

Everyone does it " but no one talks about it " until now. The Snowden revelations of extensive American surveillance operations has upset the world of international relations in a dramatic fashion, yet the United States is not the only country that spies. Is spying allowed under international law? Can surveillance and spying be reconciled with democratic values...

Critical Thinking About Human Behavior

This course will introduce students to methods used by psychological science to help answer these common questions about the “unknown.” We will examine common ways in which human thinking leads people to believe strange things and to maintain these beliefs even in the face of contradictory information. Students will develop critical thinking skills for evaluating...

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Freud: Psychoanalysis and its Legacies

What does it mean to know yourself? Why is love so painful? What is the source of man’s belief in God? How does history repeat itself? Why do our dreams haunt us? Is there a difference between men and women? What is an Oedipus complex, and do you have one? Sigmund Freud devoted his life to answering these questions.

In this course, we will dive deep into...

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Scholar-Athlete: Introduction to Sport Psychology

The psychology of sport is the study of the interaction between psychological variables and performance in athletic and physical activities. The overall objective of this course is to introduce students to psychological theory and practical skills that influence sport performances. Students will be encouraged to incorporate the personal significance of course content to their...

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Introduction to Social and Developmental Psychology

This course will introduce students to the disciplines of developmental and social psychology through the lens of one capacity important to research in both subfields: having a “theory of mind”. “Theory of mind” refers to a person’s ability to use what they observe about someone’s visible behavior to figure out the “invisible”...

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Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

Have you ever wondered how mental illness affects children and their families? Can kids "catch" autism? Can children really suffer from schizophrenia? From autism and anxiety to pediatric bipolar and schizophrenia disorders, in this course, students will learn what psychiatric disorders look like in children, how they are treated, and controversies in childhood psychiatric...

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On Being Human: Conceptions of the Self from Aristotle to Frankenstein

Does freedom mean acting on every desire we experience? To what extent are we free, and in what ways are our thoughts and actions determined by factors beyond our control (such as our biology or our culture)? How well do we know ourselves? Do we really know why we do what we do? This course examines classic explanations of human action and character. We explore these topics...

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Social Theory: Understanding Everyday Life

Why is the world the way it is? Do we act as free-willing individuals or do we follow social structures that we have no control over? Why are societies unequal and why do these inequalities persist? How is social change possible?

Social theory tackles these ‘big questions’ and addresses some of the most challenging social issues today. This course proposes...

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Presenting to the Public

Want to make amazing presentations and influence people? Learn the tips, tricks, tactics and tools of giving effective public presentations. This course will introduce you to fundamental methods of public speaking and designing effective graphic presentations.

Public presentation skills are central to success in any academic or professional career. This course will...