Half-credit offerings expanding
While Bowdoin has always offered half-credit classes as
a means to explore subjects of interest in a more casual academic manner,
the popularity of these courses is on the rise. This semester, more half-credit
classes are being offered than in the past. These additions to the curriculum
have been a reflection of both student and faculty interest, according
to Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Deborah DeGraff.
"We're seeing the addition of half credit courses in
response to faculty and students' interest in greater course flexibility,"
she said. "The half-credit course format has an experimental element
to it that works well for faculty collaboration and for interdisciplinary
Half-credit classes have traditionally been utilized most
by the performance-based departments, such as dance and music; but other
departments have been taking advantage of the unique format as well.
For example, the Film Studies department teamed up this
semester with the English department to offer Film Studies or English
030: Science Fiction, Films, and the Cold War, taught by English professor
"There's an opportunity cost of not fully teaching
within a professor's discipline," noted Degraff. "However, that
cost is lowered if he or she is only teaching the class half-credit."
Students are also enthusiastic about the advantages to such
non-traditional class offerings. "Even though I haven't taken a half-credit
class yet, I'd be interested in learning about a subject in a more relaxed
classroom atmosphere," said Kala Hardacker '04.
Also being offered this spring are service-learning courses,
another non-traditional alternative to a regular class. The courses, described
as "traditional coursework interwoven with community service,"
and include study in Aquatic Ecosystems, Geometrics, and Environmental
Policy and Politics.
Before these alternative courses are approved, they must
go through review by the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP),
which then makes a recommendation to the full faculty who vote on the
course. A full listing of half-credit courses is available in the Bowdoin
College Course Catalogue.