Areas of interest, AOIs, generally seem like an extra annoyance for registration. While in reality, they transform and inspire students to the point of possibly switching to concentrate in that area of study. Taking the right AOI results in a class that excites you, even if you have to drag there at 8 a.m. The key combines finding the one that fits your interests and needs simultaneously.
Read on for a list of the top 10 AOIs at Drake University.
1. JMC 099: Social Media Strategies
Calling all School of Journalism and Mass Communication students and users of social media, this class exists for you. Now that I have all students on Drake’s college campus here, freshman, sorry – you’ll have to take this J-term next year. For the rest of the student population, you must consider this as a potential AOI. Social media strategies mixes hands-on learning and lectures all about the use of social media as a tool for everyday people as well as the big dawgs like corporations. Finally! A class that focuses on something we interact with every single day.
“The first third of the class is developing some principles around social media,” Drake University Assistant Professor Ryan Stoldt said. “The next week of the class in J-term is focused on building a personal brand on social media, and then the last week of the class is about building a campaign for a client for social media. Whether you’re in a communication industry or not, how you present yourself on social media matters and this class is really going to engage with that.”
For JMC school students, this AOI hits on a lot of the aspects discussed throughout the JMC curriculum regardless of your major. Having a deeper analysis in this subject matter creates a conversation amongst peers about the role social media plays in our lives while also increasing media literacy. The benefits of this class overwhelm those of other AOIs no matter your major.
2. ASTR 001: Descript Astronomy
Embrace your inner astrological sign and take descript astronomy. This class features studies of the universe with topics on the solar system, stellar evolution, galaxies, black holes and cosmology. Step up the fun with the optional astronomy lab; this lab should not just pass your mind. With rooftop night observations, laboratory bench experiments and observations at the Drake Municipal Observatory, I can’t stress to you enough how cool this class would be. Plus, if you hate science, this class helps to obtain the physical science credit you were searching for. Next time you go stargazing, you can show off with your knowledge of all things astronomy.
3. WLC 148: Intercultural Communications
Talking. We talk every day in class, with peers, with faculty, everywhere. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you talk the way you do? Maybe during a gossip session, you talk about how a certain person talked to you? This class highlights communication in an intercultural way. It breaks down unconscious barriers and enforces new ones that will prove valuable in your present and future lives, especially when it comes to careers.
“My favorite AOI would have to be Intercultural Communications,” Drake University sophomore Andi Turnsbull said. “It’s just a super interesting class that is a part of a lot of majors, but a lot of people take it as an AOI as well. You learn about how race and the history of racism impacts how people communicate with each other, whether they notice it or not, along with getting raised in a small town versus a large town; [how] you’re raised can also influence how you talk with others.”
A wide variety of majors require this class, especially those in World Language and Culture majors. If that’s not the case, I still will highly suggest this class since the main goal of the class, as found in the course description, talks all about cultural relativism. Ultimately, this class helps you define and create an awareness of what it means to be a responsible global citizen.
4. PSY 001: Introduction to Psychology
Psychology in itself absolutely boggles my mind. Studying the mind and behavior changes the way you perceive literally any interaction you have. This class involves a lot of experiments, discussions, demonstrations and other activities that involve hands-on learning. As said in the course description, you will study the methodology, physiology, developmental and social psychology, sensation, perception, learning, intelligence, personality, mental illness and treatment in the field of psychology. As if it couldn’t get any better, Intro to Psychology doubles as a major prerequisite for a lot of classes.
5. SCSS 075: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
Want to complete three, yes, three requirements in one class? Here you go. This class discusses areas involving engaged citizens, equity and incision, and women’s and gender studies. Not only does it compact three categories into one, but you may also find yourself intrigued by the content.
“Take intro to Women and Gender Studies with Beth Younger. That class was crazy,” Drake University sophomore Brianna Hudson said. “I really liked the layout of the class and how open the discussion could be on any topic that we covered. I am very passionate about women and gender studies and that’s why I added that concentration on.”
Introduction to Women and Gender Studies involves many areas of concentration. It touches on religion, sociology, psychology, political science and literature and how they tie into society’s definitions of terms like gender. This class seems to encompass the main characteristics of any major. Heck, you might decide to change yours! How will you know if you don’t try?
6. ENG 037: Public Voices
If you decide to click on this article days after registration has started, you probably won’t take this class. Even with three sections, Public Voices fills up within minutes — which is most likely why they made the top 10 list. Everyone tends to dread speech class in high school, but not here. If you plan on having a job, which if you attend college then I hope you at least think about that, you will have to speak to more than one person at some point. This class prepares you for the future with deliberative, creative or dramatic skills for any sort of event. Yes, you will perform in front of a live audience, enough said.
7. ART 015: Observational Drawing
If you find yourself looking for a class with passion, observation drawing is for you. Art students have to be some of the most talented people I encounter. When you get a group of them together, the world simply becomes prettier. This class mainly teaches all about the basics of drawing with elements such as line and tone. Observational drawing coaches beginner drawers as well as advanced artists who are slightly sloppy in the basics.
“My favorite AOI that I’ve taken was probably observational learning. All we did in there was draw. I got to draw with other people and everyone was nice and passionate about what they were drawing. It was nice to be around people who actually also like drawing,” Drake University sophomore Olivia Corey said.
This class challenges students to use direct observation and correlate that to a drawing. The course concentrates on how spatial organization and pictorial composition align with the simpler elements of drawing. Let your creativity flow in this artistic literacy AOI.
8. HIST 105: Midwestern History
Fulfilling the historical foundations requirement, this class offered during January term goes in depth on the history of change, regions and how the past defines the future. The Midwest becomes redefined from the plains of Indiana to Canada to Texas. This class expounds on history with field trips around Des Moines and archival research. Sounds like the opposite of boring. Plus, you could totally impress your friends when you stroll downtown with all the Des Moines knowledge you’ll learn.
9. ART 153: Book Binding
I feel like this happens to be the most random class I’ve heard of. Drake continues to surprise me with available classes to students. You might ask yourself, “Why take book binding?” Really it should be, “Why not take book binding?” You now have your perfect cool fact for ice breaker games and who knows when it will come in handy.
“I’m looking forward to Book Binding because currently my Bible’s binding has come undone and I really want to learn how to rebind it myself,” Drake University senior Jared Poortinga said.
There you go, if your Bible falls apart, take this class. Regardless, you will investigate the histories of book binding with traditional and nontraditional techniques. With demonstrations, discussions, readings, practical exercises, applied projects and class critiques, book binding takes you to the next level of “book worm.”
10. SCSA 002: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Here’s my little addition to this list. I took this class with no knowledge about what anthropology was except that it was a big word and sounded intelligent. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it. This class questions how we think and form our ideas. It challenged my previous conceptions in issues about race, culture and gender, among others. I even wanted to do the readings before class; it was that interesting. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to have open discussions about large controversies and learn more than the “American” way.