Enter another world through creative May Term courses


by Kati Herr/Staff Writer

Registration will begin soon for the 2010 May Term classes. From “The Great Zombie War” with Professor of History Nick Proctor, to “Creating a 3-D Movie” with Paul Craven, instructor of computer science, courses for the 2010 May term vary as much as the students who will be taking them. “May Term is a unique opportunity for experimental learning for the students and for the faculty member teaching it,” said John Bolen, registrar and associate academic dean. May Term allows students to concentrate on one class of choice for three weeks and provides opportunities for activities they can’t do with a normal fall or spring term class. Students can take regular catalog courses, cornerstone requirement classes and even some courses not offered the rest of the year. For senior Lynnette Snyder, her final May Term is about taking a class she will enjoy and remember as her last academic memory at Simpson College. Snyder will be taking Proctor’s class “The Great Zombie War.”  “It’s my last May Term and I wanted to have fun,” Snyder said. “Even though I know I will have to write a lot, I will be writing about something I know a lot about and truly enjoy.” In this course, students will be writing, marketing and publishing a book as a class about the fictional “Great Zombie War” of Simpson. Snyder is an administrator for the game “Humans vs. Zombies” and said that since the game is the highlight of her semester she is excited to not only improve her writing skills in the actual production of the book, but also to get the word out about the game to other campuses.  Proctor said that he is most looking forward to the energy level he anticipates his students to have when taking this May Term course. One aspect of the course that Proctor emphasized is the finished product, a professionally published book.  “There is a trophy quality to having a book that you don’t have for a lot of final projects for other classes,” Proctor said. Craven’s class, “Creating a 3-D Movie,” also promises to produce a product that will last longer than a final test or paper.  Students will be learning to use computer software that will allow them to create a 3-D movie and animation. Participants will spend the three weeks of May Term learning the software and creating their animations through individual research and instruction from Craven. “I just like it because students are creating something,” Craven said. “At the end of it it’s not that they pass a test or anything, it’s that they actually get some sort of creative work that they can show.” Students will register for May Term classes when they register for their 2010 fall term classes, starting the week of Feb. 8.  Bolen assured students that the classes they will be taking for May Term will be serious, well-structured courses. Faculty members were required to submit a well-thought-out proposal for every new course during the fall semester and proposals were reviewed up until this week by the rest of the faculty.  “May Term courses we offer today are really courses that will benefit students a great deal,” Bolen said. “There is no question in my mind that in the last several years the May Term program has actually gotten stronger.” Proctor and Craven both wish to inform students that, as with most of the May Term classes offered, their courses are meant for students outside of their field as well. They did say that students should carefully read and consider course descriptions before making a decision on which course to take.

“The person who should not take this class is the one who reads no further than the word Zombie in the title,” Proctor said.