Course changes lined up for coming semester

Peter Floess

Staff Writer

Students picking classes for the fall 2016 semester should be aware several departments at Parkland have made some changes to their academic schedules.

Health professions, music, graphic design, agriculture, history and mathematics will all see changes to course offerings in the coming semester.

Dean Bobbi Scholze of the department of health professions says that next semester the department will have two new programs: MSG 111, Introduction to Massage Therapy, and a certificate program to become a sterile processing technician.

“The massage therapy introduction allows exploration of a field without committing to an entire program,” Scholze said. “If a student is not sure if they want surgical technology, this short program places the student in the area and introduces them to some major concepts important in the operative area.”

Julie Weishar, chair of fine and applied arts, says the department is offering two new classes: MUS 161—Introduction to Music Recording—and GDS 271—Interactive Design.

“This class is part of our new Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interactive Design being offered jointly by the graphic design program and the computer science and information technology department,” Weishar said.

Paul Young, the instructor for GDS 271, says it is a hands-on course which teaches students the art of graphic design.

“This course focuses on the art of creating beautiful and functional user experience designs and user interface designs, Young said. “Students will leave this class with several dynamic samples to add to their portfolio.

Young says students who sign up for the class should have knowledge about and have experience in the principles and processes of graphic design.

“Although this course is required for graphic design and interactive design majors, prerequisites could be waived for the right student who is fearless when it comes to technology,” he said.

One of the new courses being offered in the department of business and agri-industries is AGB 110, Introduction to Precision Agriculture. Instructor for AGB 110 Jennifer Fridgen says it is a dual-credit course, meaning enrollment is extended to high school students as well.

“Anyone that is interested in how technology is being used in agriculture should take this course,” Fridgen said. “It’s an introductory course to that technology, terminology, careers and applications.”

Joseph Walwik, head of the social sciences and human services department, is teaching the one new course in his department, HIS 108—World History I. This course was added to the schedule because it is a common course at the university- and college-level.

Walwik says the course is a look at the thematic issues that have shaped cultural, social, and political and other kinds of change throughout world history.

Geoffrey Griffiths, the chair of the mathematics department, says they are not adding more classes to the course schedule; the department is dropping two courses due to low enrollment in them: MAT 135—Technical Math II—and MAT 126—Pre-Calculus.

The department also found that MAT 126 was not serving its intended purpose.

Griffiths says the course was created for students who needed a quick review of college-level math classes they had taken in high school, but it was being used as shortcut between intermediate algebra to calculus, translating to low success rates in the class.

After studying the problem, the mathematics department decided to heavily restrict enrollment to students that could handle the material of the class—which led to low enrollment in class.

According to both Scholze and Scott Siechen, chair of natural sciences, departments are continually measuring how successful courses are in fulfilling their intended purposes and modifying the courses offered to better serve the needs of students.

Vice President of Parkland College Pam Lau says the class changes mentioned are not related to funding.

“Generally, tuition as well as course fees for each course help to cover a good portion of direct instructional costs,” Lau said. “Career program courses that require the use of costly supplies have higher course fees and this is a long-standing practice.”

Lau mentioned health professions classes in particular as seeing a noteworthy hike in cost.

“Courses offered in the selective admissions programs in the health professions division are more expensive. Starting in [the] academic year of 2016-17, students will pay an additional 25 dollars per credit for required health professions program classes to help offset the higher instructional costs in these programs.”