The Dollhouse Curriculum: Higher Education, Miniaturized

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “The Merits of the Very, Very Short Course” noted that “some subjects can’t fill a full semester but can still teach valuable skills and information.”  Hence, schools like the University of Nebraska at Lincoln are developing one-credit “pop-up” courses for their students. 

For the curious among you, here’s a sampling of pop-ups being offered around the country in Spring 2019:

— Rice University  ARTS 214: The Soap Dish Throughout History — A whirlwind tour of the evolution of the soap dish, which debuted in country houses in 15th-century France as a small platter for guests to discard used strands of dental floss.  Students who complete the course receive a Holiday Inn lavender-scented pumice bar.

— Canisius College  CHEM 361: Soda Wars — A brief but intensive review of Coke vs. Pepsi, Mountain Dew vs. Mello Yello, Dr Pepper vs. Pibb Xtra, Fanta Orange vs. Orange Crush, and Sprite vs. Sierra Mist vs. 7 Up.  Trigger Warning: Students will see their urine change colors during the 3-hour final exam.  

— The University of Oregon  SOC 434: Who’s More Evil: Kevin Spacey or Louis C. K.? This course involves group work in the form of team-oriented debates.  Prerequisites: SOC 431, 432, 433 (Contemporary Outrage 1, 2, and 3).

— College of Charleston  PSYC 288: Why Am I Blue? — Students explore their childhood psycho-history to discover why their favorite color is their favorite color.  Some trauma may occur.  Be prepared to hate one or both of your parents.  

— Boston University  PHIL 119: Thinking vs. Feeling — Students determine which mode of being is a better fit for their individual life-journey.  (Also offered in an Experiential Honors section that requires extensive drug use.  Must obtain permission to enroll from one’s roommate.)

— Reed College  HIST 362: Sipping and Culture — An examination of the role of straws in civilization from ancient times to the present, with an emphasis on current controversies surrounding the danger that plastic straws pose to low-IQ marine life.  Students will interview sea turtles.

Let’s just say it out loud: The Golden Age of Higher Education has arrived!