If you are anything like me, when I am choosing elective courses I am always looking for interesting classes that I have a good chance of getting a good grade in. Over my four years at Carleton University, I believe I have found some of the best (and most interesting) courses to take at Carleton University. So, here they are!
Mysteries of the Mind (CGSC 1001)
This course focuses on understanding the mind and cognitive science. The main topics discussed include knowledge, learning, rationality, evolution, and AI. Typically, Professor Jim Davis teaches this course and makes this course as amazing as it is. He presents the material in a manner that is straightforward. Additionally, if you take good notes, the quizzes are fair. Course evaluation: four online (open book) quizzes, and one essay (which you can choose your own topic/book to read). Furthermore, there is a 4% bonus offered in the course, which is added through the completion of CSAS workshops or participating in research. Finally, as this class is so large (typically around 800 students), there is an online option where you can speed up, slow down, and pause lectures so that you are able to get the most out of the material.
Dinosaurs (ERTH 2401)
Who doesn’t want to take a course about dinosaurs? If you are in your second year or looking for a science elective, then this is the course for you. As this course focuses on evolution, fossils, and the identification of dinosaurs throughout the Mesozoic Era, it’s unique and interesting. This course is also online. So, again, you have more flexibility when it comes to watching lectures than the traditional classroom setting. With that said, there are lots of dinosaur names. And this course does come with a fair amount of memorization. Breakdown: there are weekly quizzes, one midterm, and one final.
Natural Disasters (ERTH 2415)
Even though they happen all the time, how many of us fully understand the causes of natural disasters and the impact they make on our world? This course gives students an understanding of geologic catastrophes by understanding why and how they occur and affect our societies. The professor is very knowledgeable and they make the material interesting, so it keeps your attention. Therefore, you leave class feeling as though you learn something, even if you are not a science student. This is another online course that can be beneficial for students with busy schedules (whether you have labs or part-time jobs), proving flexible lecture viewing. Course breakdown: four or five online quizzes (where you are encouraged to work in teams), and two multiple choice exams. Although the course does require you to watch the lectures and read the chapters, the exams are straightforward and easily comprehensible.
American Sign Language (ASLA 1010)
If you are interested in languages and want to try something different, this is a great course to take. As a first-year course, they teach a basic level of communication and other sociodemographic aspects of persons with hearing impairments. As with many language courses, it does require mandatory attendance four hours a week (instead of the typical three). However, the content is so unique in nature that many students find that they want to go to these classes.
Additionally, if you decide that this is something you find very interesting, Carleton University offers a minor in ASL that can result in a certification at the end of your degree. Course breakdown: video assignments (which are expressive), midterm, and participation marks. It also requires daily/weekly practice.
Introduction to Film Studies (FILM 1101)
Combining lectures and screening films, this unique course focuses on the role of film in society. Classes begin with a lecture and a screening of a movie or short film for the second half, making class both enjoyable and entertaining. There are three units focusing on the basic elements. i.e. the social role of film and film’s ability to tell stories. Students are evaluated on participation during discussion groups, a test, an essay, and a final exam. As this course involves a lot of content, it requires an interest in film, however, its structure keeps it engaging.
When it comes to choosing electives, in general, it is important that you are choosing topics you believe are interesting. This makes the course easier. But these five courses are unique in structure and content, which make them some of the best courses offered at Carleton University.