2015

The following UTeach classes were taught during Spring 2015, under the leadership of Igii Enverga. Please click on one of the links below to be redirected to the course description of the course, including a biography of the instructor and class listing. Following webreg.uci.edu, you may also find the follow courses listed in the Spring Quarter 2015 Schedule of Classes listed under University Studies 7.

Ethics and Artificial Intelligence
Science Fiction on the Radio
1950’s Film and Gender
Once Upon a Fractured Fairy Tale
Sex Education in America
Microliterature
Video Games and Gender
Islam in America
Salem Untold
Plants and People
Theories of Improv
How to Solve Puzzlers

Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

Ema Bidiwala
Biography:
The idea of being able to quantify the human mind is provocative. The fact the way our eyes see, the way we learn language can all be modeled in mathematics. The personification of these algorithms is a robot. I have always been fascinated by robotics and the human mind, specifically how it works. Why do we make certain decisions? Why do we see corners the way we do? How do we perceive color? I am fortunate enough to be able to study these intriguing questions as a fourth year Cognitive Psychology major, here at UC-Irvine. My main research interests are color, memory, and of course artificial intelligence. As a naturally curious person, reading about these questions keeps me satiated. When I am not studying cognitive science I play cricket and practice classical ballet. I would like to thank Dr. Jeffrey Barett, Dr. Lisa Pearl, and Dr. Donald Hoffmman for their assistance and support and UTeach for allowing me this opportunity.

Course Description:
Artificial Intelligence and robotics have played a significant role in the Science Fiction genre. Whether it be in classic film like “Robocop” or in literature such as Isaac Asminov’s I, Robot. The fields of robotics and artificial intelligence are growing. With the integration of artificial intelligence into daily life, a question arises about ethics and the capabilities of the products. Defining Roboethics and understanding the “machines” is difficult because we have nothing to compare the capabilities to. The only examples available are presented in the media. In this course we will explore some of the capabilities and philosophical questions about artificial intelligence. We will use philosophy, cinema, literature, and cognitive science to assist in understanding the impact and ethical concerns of robotics. Topics such as consciousness, what defines us as human, and morality will be discussed.

Enrollment Information:
Time: W 10:00 – 10:50
Place: SSL 171
Course Code: 87631
E-mail: ebidiwal@uci.edu

Science Fiction on the Radio

Scott Hogan
Biography:
As an adult learner at UCI, I am often looked at by my fellow Humanities undergrads with glances that say, “Are you our teacher?” Participating in the UTeach program will finally give me the opportunity to look them in the eye and say, “Yes, I am. Now, put your cellphones away.” It isn’t the power or prestige that appeals to me, however, but rather the idea of presenting to a class of eager Anteater undergrads a course that I planned and developed with my faculty mentor. As a 5th-year English major, the prospect of attracting non-Humanities undergrads to the wealth of cultural and self-knowledge through close listening of radio dramas is a challenge I find exciting, especially in light of the topic I plan to focus on: Science fiction radio programs of the 1930s to the 1960s.

Course Description:
Before television there was radio. Radio was the center of family entertainment from its beginnings in the 1920s thru the 1950s when it was eventually replaced by television. Science fiction, (or sci-fi), as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.” We will be listening to sci-fi radio programs and discussing their contributions to American entertainment. Beginning with 1938’s War of the Worlds, and ending with an episode of the long-running series Suspense from its final year in 1962, we will also discover what each of these shows tell us about the times in which they were written. We will compare the stories of yesterday with events and concerns of our present time to see just how close we have come to being the future that was imagined in the 1930s through the 1950s.

Enrollment Information:
Time: M 12:00 – 12:50
Place: HH 105
Course Code: 87632
E-mail: hogans@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Gail Hart

Back to Top

1950’s Film and Gender

Kelly Liang
Biography:
Hi everyone! My name is Kelly Liang, I am a fourth year history major. When I am not reading books with a cup of tea, working in student housing or writing my research paper, I am probably watching television or film, more specifically films from the 1950s. Films from this era have always amazed me with their visual and sound style. I always feel transported into the time. Thus I have been fascinated with learning as much as I can about the decade’s culture and society. I hope to share what I have learned so far and to continue to discover the 1950s perspective.

Course Description:
In this course we will explore the different depiction of gender in 1950s film and television shows. Historically, 1950s America was a decade filled with conflict from the Civil Rights movement to the Cold War. The conflict influenced and greatly defined the ideal roles of men and women in the household. Roles of men and women were clearly defined for a particular group, but for others the norm was not so. Through this course, films such as The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Rear Window, and Some Like it Hot will be watched and analyzed for its historical and cultural value. By the end of the course, students will learn to understand the historical perspective of the decade, and will also be able to develop their critical analysis skills of gender in film within historical and social contexts.

Enrollment Information:
Time: M 2:00 – 3:50p
Place: DBH 1420
Course Code: 87633
E-mail: liangk@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Allison Perlman

Back to Top

Once Upon a Fractured Fairy Tale

Kevin Matson
Biography:
Hola! I’m Kevin. I’m a 4th year English major, with an emphasis in creative writing. I was a peer tutor for the humanities core course, and have done an independent study where I worked with 5th graders on poetry at an elementary school. I also completed an independent study involving fairy tales, folklore, and the television show Once Upon a Time. I enjoy writing short stories, and I’m constantly imagining how some minor quirk in my daily life can be incorporated into a story. I’m recently married and enjoy trying new food spots in LA with my wife, along with watching TV shows and movies with her. My mentor Dr. Susan Morse has been dedicated to this class, working with me since last spring, and has given me a pair of glass slippers to wear to the ball (er, I mean class).

Course Description:
Once upon a time, there was a class at UCI that offered a course that featured as its homework watching 1 episode a week from the ABC television show Once Upon a Time. In this course, we will watch Fractured Fairy Tales from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and more frequently read tales from the literary tradition that preceded fractured fairy tales. In this course, we will explore various meanings of particular fairy tales in different contexts. What is Disney’s role in the shaping and production of fairy tales? What were the culturally important messages of fairy tales in times past, and do they still have resonance with us today? Did you know there is a more original version of Little Red Riding Hood than the one where the hunter rescues everyone, and that this version has elements of cannibalism and the scatological to it? We will situate fairy tales and fractured fairy tales in a social context, try to analyze what they mean to us, personally, and learn to construct our own fairy tale… wouldn’t that be a dream?!

Enrollment Information:
Time: Tu 3:00 – 3:50p
Place: HH 105
Course Code: 87634
E-mail: matsonk@uci.edu

Faculty Mentors: Gail Hart and Susan Morse

Back to Top

Sex Education in America

Melissa Mayr
Biography:
So nice of you to check this out! My name is Melissa Mayr and I am a fifth year nursing science major. When I am not in the hospital for clinical rotations, my hobbies are singing, reading fiction, and creative writing. I got interested in the topic of sex education after my involvement in the Vagina Monologues as a cast member– my curiosity has culminated into the creation of this seminar. I am so excited to explore this topic with you all!

Course Description:
The purpose of this seminar is to analyze the progression of standardized sex education and the success of sex education in preparing youth to be competent, knowledgeable, and able to form healthy sexual relationships. Ultimately, the question we will explore is: what is the best way to engage American society in learning and adopting healthy sexual behaviors? By the end of the seminar, students will be informed on the basics of sex education and have participated in a discussion of how sex education should be conducted in America. The intended outcome is for students to be well-informed, to have critically analyzed the efficacy of current sex education methods, and be innovative and collaborative in developing a basic sex education plan.

Enrollment Information:
Time: M 5:00 – 5:50p
Place: HH 210
Course Code: 87635
E-mail: mmayr@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: E. Alison Holman

Back to Top

Microliterature

Edie Montgomery-Pool
Biography:
Edie Montgomery-Pool is currently studying English at the University of California, Irvine. She has a long-standing interest in microliterature and has published poetry and flash fiction in various journals and magazines, most recently in the U.K. publication, “Danse Macabre, A Selection of Terrifying Poetry.” During her spare time, she works with rescue animals.

Course Description:
This seminar will explore microliterature, the short form of short forms. Topics will include fiction with a word count anywhere from 6 to 1,000 words. Short forms of poetry will be explored, such as haiku and twitter poems. We will also look at short films. We will explore what these short forms reveal about the cultures that produce and consume them and how microliterature conveys information in ways that challenge accepted views and boundaries regarding what stories should be and how stories should be told. We will explore the structure of story. Microliterature is a tight and compressed form full of empty spaces and implication. We will discuss whether this compressed structure enhances the understanding of the ideas being conveyed or acts as a barrier between the text and the understanding of the reader.

Enrollment Information:
Time: W 11:00 – 11:50
Place: ICS 253
Course Code: 87636
E-mail: ewmontgo@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Jami Bartlett

Back to Top

Video Games and Gender

Troy Ortega
Biography:
Hey there! I’m Troy Ortega, I’m a senior in the Film and Media Studies department. My research interests include the effects different economic structures have on film production & aesthetics, and looking at gender representation in video games, specifically looking at the ways women are represented in both male and female targeted dating sims.

Apart from consuming a perhaps unhealthy levels of media (seriously, film/tv/video games are my life blood), I enjoy drawing, painting and other artistic endeavours. Recently I’ve been trying my hand at handicrafts (pun fully intended).

Course Description:
Issues of gender, gender representations and sexism in video games and video game communities has been a hot topic lately. Incidents like Gamergate, which occurred last summer/fall, have sparked a lot of questions about how things are run in the video game industry. Throughout the course we’ll be working through these questions, trying to answer things like:

“How are video game representations of men and women alike problematic?”
“What makes a character a ‘good’ representation of their gender?”
“Why is there such hate towards female gamers, when the make up over 40% of the gamer population?”

To answer these questions we’ll be looking at and playing (that’s right you get to play games in this class!) different games including, but not limited to Catherine, Bayonetta, God of War, The Legend of Zelda, Kim K’s Hollywood and OFF. The point of analyzing these games isn’t to impart judgment on quality, rather the goal is to begin to recognize the issues that come up in relation to gender. After all, just because a game is sexist does not mean that it’s a “bad” game, and, on the other end, just because a game has good gender representation doesn’t mean that its necessarily a “good” game.

Enrollment Information:
Time: F 10:00 – 10:50
Place: HH 214
Course Code: 87637
E-mail: toortega@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Braxton Soderman

Back to Top

Islam in America

Najmah Sadat
Biography:
My name is Najmah Sadat and I am a fourth year History major with an emphasis on European history and a Religious Studies major with an emphasis on monotheistic religions. I enjoy learning about how race, gender, class, and sexuality work to navigate our experiences in society. After studying abroad in Berlin where I took a class about Islam in Europe I grew interested in the how someone’s religious identity also shapes their experiences. This led me to explore the history of Muslims in the United States. As an American Muslim, analyzing processes that have affected me personally was a conflicting yet enlightening experience. I hope to expand this discussion in my class so we can all better understand the world around us. The research that has gone into planning my course in addition to writing my senior honors thesis owes a debt of gratitude to the support and guidance of my research adviser Professor Jack Miles.

Course Description:
Muslims come in all shapes and sizes: they can be a white male homosexual, a feminist fashionista, a Black lesbian, a refugee immigrant, and so much more. In this class, we will deconstruct the hegemonic definition of Islam by analyzing the history and contemporary experiences of Muslims in the United States. Over the course of ten weeks we will work towards creating a more accurate definition of American Islam. This will require us to recognize the overwhelming diversity within the American Muslim population and all of its “contradictions.” We will take an intersectional approach that considers factors of race, class, gender, and sexuality side by side. My hope is that this knowledge will aid us in recognizing and embracing our differences and similarities with all humans as equals.

Enrollment Information:
Time: M 4:00 – 4:50
Place: IAB 130
Course Code: 87638
E-mail: nsadat@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: John R. Miles

Back to Top

Salem Untold

Jacky Schlegel
Biography:
Hello, everyone! My name is Jacky, and I am a fourth-year transfer student majoring in English. I am a member of the Teachers of Tomorrow Club and work as a peer academic advisor for the School of Humanities. I am so excited to be teaching a class on the Salem witch trials! My research and enthusiasm for Puritan history stems from my New England upbringing; I was raised in South Portland, Maine and moved to California in 2010. In creating this course, it has allowed me to bring a little bit of New England to California, starting with my New England accent.

Course Description:
Definition of Witch: A noun.
1. A person, especially a woman, who professes or is supposed to practice magic
2. A woman who is supposed to have evil or wicked magical powers

Etymology of the Word Witch:
1. Weid, proto Indo-European, meaning to see or to know
2. Wit, English, meaning knowledge

In 17th-century Puritan New England, witches were commonly thought to be very real and associated with the devil. It is this belief that catalyzed one of the most notorious incidents in American history. Everyone has heard of the Salem witch trials, which brought a crop of witchcraft accusations into court, but have you ever wondered what really happened in Salem, 1692? Contrary to popular opinion, the Puritans’ belief in the supernatural is neither solely responsible for the proceeding trials, nor does it account for the supposed “mass hysteria” that erupted. In this class, we will delve our way through the bewitching history of Puritan New England, juxtaposing history and fiction to gain a clearer picture of what actually happened in Salem.

Enrollment Information:
Time: F 1:00 – 1:50p
Place: IAB 129
Course Code: 87639
E-mail: schlegej@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Jayne Lewis

Back to Top

Plants and People

Sarwat Siddiqi
Biography:
Hi there! My name is Sarwat Siddiqi and I’m a fourth year Earth System Science major with minors in Biological Sciences and Psychology & Social Behavior. I am also the Managing Editor for our campus Yearbook Anthology and I dabble in research both on campus (Dr. German’s lab) and off (Aquaponics Project). I like to consider myself a lifelong learner and I have a passion for diving into the unknown. I am specifically interested in understanding our world: how it came to be, how we got to here, how nature works, and how all these little pieces come together to make this planet the home we live in today. And this is why I will be teaching our class on Plants & People for Spring. I’m fascinated by how plants make up such a large portion of our existence and yet receive such a small amount of recognition or attention in modern society and media. I hope this class will help students see just how fundamentally linked we are to our green brethren -in predictable and unforeseen ways- and appreciate the beauty of the plant world.

When I am not knee-deep in schoolwork or academic commitments, I enjoy voraciously reading, writing and, having riveting (albeit sometimes long) conversations. Likewise, I love being out in the natural element and helping with environmental efforts whenever I can. I have a casual interest in sci-fi, social justice, alternative culture, surrealist art, and history (namely the 50s, 20s, etc.) and I am always trying to travel to new places. I’m always on the hunt to fill my head with more random information and I look forward to sharing this passion with all of you in Spring!

Course Description:
If you’re a living breathing human reading this, there’s a great chance it’s all because of your largely plant-based existence. The ubiquity and necessity of plants in our daily human existence is something that is largely forgotten and often take for granted in today’s society. In this class we will discuss just how much plants play a part in our collective livelihood and focus on the mutual relationships formed between us. We’ll touch on a variety of disciplines from history to biology. Topics include shamanism, recreational use, wine culture, aphrodisiacs, plant sciences and more! We’ll even be having outdoor activities and a visit to the UCI Arboretum! From agriculture to Victorian floriography, we’ll go over all the uses of plants that have shaped our modern civilization, perhaps even ones that you’ve never considered! Students will get the chance to see, taste, smell, and dissect all the juicy details of our floral love affair!

Enrollment Information:
Time: M 10:00 – 10:50
Place: DBH 1423
Course Code: 87640
E-mail: stsiddiq@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Stephen Weller

Back to Top

Theories of Improv

Vinny Tangherlini
Biography:
Hey, you! You! With the face! YOU!!! I’m Vinny Tangherlini, a fourth year Drama Major, improviser, teacher, and benevolent hermit wizard. Currently, I am one of the captains of UCI’S Improv Revolution (an improv team on campus that makes things up on the spot and desires to spread creativity and laughter across our campus, our California, and our country—like that alliteration?) and I perform in various theatre arts productions on campus. I was first introduced to improv in sixth grade (when I saw a Comedy Sportz show at the local high school down the way), and knew instantly that I wanted to be like the people onstage—I had always acted (since before I can remember I was pretending to be other people, whether that was pirates, princesses, or parakeets—again, more alliteration), but this seemed like an opportunity to really invest in a challenging aspect of theatre. Since then, I have really discovered how the art of “being in the moment” onstage has incredible effects on my life offstage—I am a better listener, I am more in touch with my emotions, and I am more willing to play and participate in whatever is asked of me. My hope is that, should you take my class, you will garner some of these skills too and enjoy the process of improv!

Course Description:
Improvisation is something that you do each and every day, whether you realize it or not. Though, arguably, the roots of improv can be traced back to the dawn of the cavemen, formalized improvisation really came into being in the mid-twentieth century through the work of some truly exceptional people. In this class, we will take a historical approach to improvisation, examining the work of early figures and slowly transitioning through today, exploring ideas and theories that have served as “landmarks” for improvisation instruction. Ultimately, through this analysis, we will create a “crash course” through the years of what has been and what currently is important to improvisational artists. In addition, we will focus on concepts that primarily deal with the “soft skills” that improv teaches—such as listening, spontaneity, emotional connections with your partners, responding to an environment, confidence, and a sense of play. This way, we may examine the more practical uses of improvisation through activities and exercises artists have used or are currently using to determine how improv has shifted over the years and yet how it continues to affect us.

Enrollment Information:
Time: Tu 5:00 – 5:50p
Place: CAC 3002
Course Code: 87641
E-mail: vtangher@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Joel Veenstra

Back to Top

How to Solve Puzzles and Brain Teasers
The Heuristic Approach

Igii Enverga
Biography:
Hi, everyone! My name is Igii Enverga, and I am a fourth year majoring in computer science. Aside from working as a resident advisor (Middle Earth!) and peer academic advisor, I really enjoy binge-watching TV shows, reading urban fantasy and sci-fi novels, and figuring out which superpowers I would want when we get them. Whenever I watch a detective show (like Sherlock!), see a thriller, or play a puzzle video game, I just love how everything clicks together at the end when the protagonist reveals how he or she solved the grand mystery. Being exposed to these kinds of things is what sparked my interest in learning how to solve puzzles and brain teasers, and hopefully I get to share that with you all!

Course Description:
In this seminar, we are going to explore various problem solving strategies, otherwise known as heuristics, that we will use to solve some of the more difficult puzzles and brain teasers. Students will learn how to tackle a wide assortment of these puzzlers, ranging from the more common logic ones to the more novel “Google Interview Questions” that have been popularized in recent times. To get a preview of what the course covers, here are a few of them that will hopefully pique your interest (and should be cake for you after you take my class!):

  • How many times a day do a clock’s hands overlap?
  • You work in a 100-story building and are given two identical eggs. You have to determine the highest floor from which an egg can be dropped without breaking. How many drops would it take you to do it?
  • How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

Enrollment Information:
Time: W 12:00 – 12:50
Place: DBH 1423
Course Code: 87642
E-mail: envergaj@uci.edu

Faculty Mentor: Michael Goodrich