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Minicourses

"MSC Operates Minicourse Program," 1972

Red & Green article on EC minicourse program, 1972

Critics of traditional college programs identified four key lost opportunities, including:

  1. The seeming irrelevance, to students, of college courses and their dependence upon rote memorization

  2. The lack of flexibility in the programs, which did not focus on the individual student

  3. The finality of the learning process, which ended with the awarding of grades at the end of the course

  4. The lack of early teaching experience for students planning to enter the teaching profession

The EC was designed to address each of these issues.

To address the problem of fixed courses that students often deemed irrelevant and overly-focused on rote learning, the EC instituted a system of mini-courses. Mini-courses were developed in concert by faculty and students. At the start of an academic quarter, faculty would propose a number of mini-courses, varying in length from three weeks to the entire twelve-week quarter. These courses would be developed with input from multiple sources, including students. Faculty posted sign-up sheets on a public board and students signed up for courses which met their needs or interests. If no one signed up for a class, the faculty member would propose a different course and issue new sign-up sheets.

Mini-courses covered a wide range of subjects. Examples included such course titles as “Miss America Pageant: Themes and Myths,” “Tonto and Friends,” "Eco-pornography,” “Wicked Man,” and “What is Evil?” As the course content was always changing from quarter-to-quarter, it was fresher and more contemporary than the regularly-offered MSC courses. Mini-courses also allowed individual students the flexibility to pursue study of a wide range of subject matter.