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  • Writer's pictureAlysha Autumn

3 University Courses That Made an Impact

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

Within the past couple of days, I have been drafting my schedule for the upcoming school year's courses and reflecting on all of the classes I have taken previously. It got me thinking about what courses have made a real impact on me, and changed the way that I think. These are those courses.

**Disclaimer: I go to Western University, so if you don't attend this school, these courses probably won't apply to you, but I encourage you to reflect on which courses actually impact you beyond the four walls of the classroom**

Intro To Sociology (Soc1020)

Going into university, I had thought that I was pretty aware of social factors that impact the public such as misogyny and racism, but I had no idea the reach that it truly had. The main topic that altered the way that I think was systemic racism and how its seemingly subtle biases permeate into every section of society and are reproduced generation after generation by people in power to maintain social hierarchies. The video below gives a quick rundown of the kind of thing that I'm talking about.

I took this class with Schaffer, and yes it is intense, there are so many readings and the exams are tough, but I am thankful for the awareness that it has provided me about so many topics even for just being an introductory course. I probably wasn't as enthusastic about the course while i was elbow deep in the textbook, but reflecting back, I am so much more aware because of it. Plus, it sparked my interest in a whole bunch of additional documentaries and TV series because it allowed for me to understand all of the social biases that impact both the creation of media content, as well as the content itself. I see myself taking more electives in the field of Sociology. If you are interested in sociology too, I would recommend watching Mindhunter and The Stanford Prison Experiment. If you want more TV reccommendations check out my What-To-Watch Guide!


Media Law and Ethics (MIT2156)

I have taken introductory law classes, but this specialized one really zeroed in social media, music, copyright, and so much more. It was extremely relevant and we discussing everything that was happening in law as it was happening- that is what made it so exciting and challenging. Every day when you log onto social media, there are content creators and artists complaining about copyright claims and stolen work. We even spent an entire class on The video below outlines how copyright and the law has to change at the hands of the internet.

I took this class with Susan Toth, and her teaching made me actually excited to study the content (yeah, I know i sound like I'm exaggerating but I'm not). The textbook was easy to comprehend, and all examples used in class were extremely beneficial when preparing for the 40% and 60% exams. If i could take this class again I would do it in a heartbeat.


Media, Information, and Technoculture: First Year Foundations(MIT1025) - (but basically critical thinking, and analyzing fake news)

I took this course not long after Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States, so as you would imagine, fake news was rampant. This course kickstarted the beginning of my understanding to take all media messages relayed to you with a grain of salt. Another major topic was confirmation bias that take over our social feeds. We generally only follow people we agree with, so my twitter and facebook feeds are basically free of racists, Trump supporters, and misogynists, and the news stories that pop up are generally left-leaning, so that my thoughts and opinions are validated, not challenged. We don't want to see things we disagree with or that make us uncomfortable, so we only consume things that we like. The following is a Vox video outlining some of the issues with social media and fake news, but remember, Vox is a Disney owned corporation that acts in service of it's hegemonic ideologies.

I took this course with Benedetti, and it was clear that he was passionate about the course content. He involved the class in discussion constantly. This was the very first university course I attended and even though it was essential to my graduation requirements, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it. I have another post from this class, and if you're looking for the kind of content you would expect to analyze check out this post on the internet's influence on racism in Western societies.



Alysha Autumn

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