Experimental College - Past Courses, Spring 2020

Spring 2020 Courses

Art therapy and mindfulness workshop

Students will learn how to create their own art projects as personal therapeutic practice. They will learn how to design projects that are relaxing or experimental. Students will also learn mindfulness techniques that stem from the Buddhist teachings and other religions to help with anxiety or how to be more present as techniques to de-stress from today’s hectic modern world.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Myths, Facts, and Strengths

We will study Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The purpose of this course is to not only inform students about the latest research that debunks common negative misconceptions but to also educate students about the strengths of those with ASD. After completing this course, students will have an in-depth understanding of common symptoms of ASD, current treatments, and how to effectively advocate for those with ASD.

Autistic Perspectives on Disability Issues

This course will offer insight into the opinions of autistic people on autistic issues, including their education, their therapy, awareness campaigns, why they may behave a certain way, and the language used around them. This class will also offer some insight into the opinions of other disability communities on the issues they face.

Basics of the United States Constitution

We all need to have an understanding of the United States Constitution as a document and its importance in shaping modern American society. This course will examine your constitutional rights in their historical and judicial context for the purposes of empowering you. We will do this by discussing what the Constitution is -- the articles contained within, and the ratified amendments. This course aims to have an interactive atmosphere to question why the constitution was written the way it was and is interpreted the way it has been in order to understand who it does and does not protect.

Deconstructing ideas of "Womanhood"

The class will be analyzing how social constructs of what it means to be a "woman" carries a heavy and unrealistic burden on womxn today. We will specifically look at: Why societies' ideas of a perfect "woman" exists; how oversexualization of young girls using dress codes contributes to rape culture; why must womxn be feminine; how the lack of reproductive access is a form of controlling women's bodies; and a cross cultural examination of identity.

Early Education: Bridging the Workforce and Systems

Educators often struggle to find the time and the resources needed to become enterprising educators and informed advocates. This course will give a platform for educators to discuss policies and funding, and directly link them to the resources we hear about, but may not necessarily know how to attain. The course will examine how SF Early Childhood programs can move from a patchwork of disconnected programs to a more unified ECE system. We will explore how we can continue to improve the quantity and quality of early education, and how we can better collect data from programs and families. We will combat the discrepancies among educators’ knowledge of the way education works from a governmental standpoint and how to utilize various resources provided by the city.

Empowerment of Taboos

Why do we feel so good when we swear? Think back on when we were small. When swearing was something we were chastised for. Saying those words, even if we didn't know what they really meant, gave us a strange or maybe eerily satisfying feeling. Why are we attracted to indulging in political, religious, and social taboos? How does the knowledge that something is taboo affect our thinking and actions? How does acting out taboos affect society? This class will explore different topics of "taboos" in order to think again about how we should approach them.

Fanfiction as Literature

Although ever-growing in popularity with the advent of the Internet, fanfiction is still largely derided as shallow pulp at best and subversive theft at worst. This course seeks to examine fanfiction, self-published stories by media fans, as the literary form it is. In this course we will examine the evolution of modern fanfiction; what preceded it; the legal concerns surrounding its publication; the differences between fanfiction, transformative fiction, and adaptation; the socio-cultural aspects of reading and writing it; fanfiction etiquette; traits of the genre, and more. And, whether first-time or long-time readers or writers, students will be challenged to write some fanfiction of their own.

Fear Politics

This course is an in-depth study of how those who cultivate a "culture of fear" incite outrage in the general public in order to achieve political goals. In this course, we will examine the sociological, and political effects that widespread fear-through-deception techniques has had on public opinion.

Films of the Natural and Human Environment

we will evaluate how film, as a medium for learning, can help communicate, critique, and educate the public about the complex environmental and social issues of our times. Students will have the opportunity to analyze and discuss how environmental and social issues are presented on-screen through different forums for visual storytelling related to sustainability and the environment, climate change, and anthropogenic systems. We will study how film—documentaries, features, shorts—have shaped our ideas about nature from the early 1900s to the present. The overarching theme of the course is to investigate how environmental/social activism is enhanced (or hindered) through these modes of creative visual expression.

Genesis to Revelation

This course is designed to take a logical approach to understand the theological pedagogy through the analysis of the Holy Scriptures by exploring its relevance to the modern age. Throughout this course, students can expect to examine the correlation between the Old Testament and New Testament by surveying the figurative language utilized (i.e. seed, fish, field, etc.). To further comprehend the Scriptures, students will study the origin of religion as the basic foundation for understanding biblical text.


We will explore how and why people share resources and information with others without the expectation of personal gain. Topics range from echo chambers, self improvement, photography, and fashion. I will invite guest speakers to address some of these topics. Texts will include the works of Don Miguel Ruiz, Paulo Coelho, & Malcom Gladwell. This course will include lectures, activities, or discussions.

Gun Politics and Culture in the United States

Guns, it's a controversial word. To some, the word means protection, friendship, and freedom. To others, they mean pain, hate, and evil. Today, Americans have over 300 million guns. This course will examine gun politics and gun culture through a historical, legal, and cultural lens.

History of Sideshows

The subject matter of this course will be The History of Sideshows (Car exhibition). Being born and raised in Oakland I have grown up with living within the Car culture in Oakland that has birthed the “Sideshow”. As youngster going up in Oakland our fondness of cars specifically Old school American cars. From Chevys to Fords have been placed within our DNA to a point where cars and car enthusiasm has grown not only from a local sense but both nationally and internationall with fascinations with other car cultures from Los Angeles low rider and mini trucks to the south and with the ½ and ¼ drag races. Racing was the next step in the love of the automobiles... from NASCAR to Formula 1 and everything in-between. I will teach about where and how sideshows were started as well as the music that was created as the accompaniment to the cars dancing from donuts to figure 8’s. I will talk about the politics involved and how the sideshow culture has moved from Oakland to san Francisco, Sacramento, and now even in LA.

IN PRODUCTION: Magic Classroom

Students will participate in the weekly production of, "Magic Classroom", a children's program that explains current national and international affairs. Students will have the opportunity to hone their skills from cast to crew. Lights, Camera, MAGIC!

Indigenous Resistance

We will explore the multitude ways that indigenous people of the Americas have fought back against colonization. We will address the way that resistance began and how it has evolved into what we see today. This will be a great course for anyone who is also just starting to learn about these injustices. It will also be useful for those who are already familiar with the stories of colonization and resistance.

Influences on Cinema

Throughout the course, students will be shown how films and filmmakers are influenced by real life events, works of art in other mediums, other films and filmmakers. For example, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho influenced Brian de Palma's Sisters; the work of painter Francis Bacon influenced David Lynch's Eraserhead. Through discussion, we will identify: ways in which the filmmaker uses the influencers in the style and/or substance of their movie; ways in which the filmmaker deviates from and/or goes beyond their influencers; and overall thoughts on the final film and influencers.

Interdisciplinary Dance Techniques

This class will examine the types of dance styles not already offered at SFSU. It will include, but not limited to, commercial, dance team, musical theatre, contemporary, and lyrical dance techniques.

Introduction to Data Science

In this course, students will learn how to gather, organize, analyze and interpret data. This will be done through the use of supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques such as linear regression, logistic regression, artificial neural networks, dimensionality reduction and state of the art methods used in industry and research. Students will do a capstone group project using any method in any dataset of choice and be able to answer questions from data. Class open to all majors, no programming experience required.

Introduction to Python

The first part of this course will be an introduction of the basic elements of Python programming language. The second part will be an introduction to Pandas and Numpy, two of the most commonly used data analysis libraries in Python. This part will focus on data manipulation and data cleaning techniques that are necessary for data exploration and data visualization in the third part of the course. The third part is an introduction to Matplotlib and Seaborn, two of the most popular data visualization libraries in Python. We will study the graphing techniques in Matplotlib and Seaborn's visualization techniques that are helpful in regression analysis.

Introduction to Trading Stocks

This course is an introductory course to trading stocks in the stock market. You will learn how to identify key indicators to make an educated investment including, but not limited to: chart-analysis, RSI, MACD, volume. We will also cover risks and volatility in the stock market. Lastly, we will introduce options trading as another means of trading stocks.

Irish Short Story

This course will examine Irish identity and history through reading selected short stories by Irish writers. Some of the stories we will read are: Araby, A Little Cloud, and The Dead by James Joyce; An Occasion of Sin by John Montague; and Irish Revel by Edna O'Brien

LA RAZA Psychological Development

This course presents study, analysis, and interpretation of factors to be considered in the psychological development of La Raza living in a white-oriented society.

Memes, Media, and Misinformation

What exactly are memes? How does something become a meme? How are memes used by different groups? Why was Pepe The Frog adopted by the Alt-right? This course will explore the ways that memes become cultural norms and the ways that the process has been used to misinform the general population on current events.

Mental Health and the Climate Crisis

A course focusing on the heightened climate anxiety, how to cope, and ways to take action to prevent further climate disaster.

Nuclear Power: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation about nuclear energy and felt underinformed? Do you wish you knew more about the benefits, disadvantages, and dangers of nuclear power generation? Given our current climate trends, this topic deserves a seat at the table with other clean alternatives to fossil fuels for power generation. The future of our planet and all living things will be determined on how humans in the next 50 years take care of the environment. The solution begins with a well-informed society.

Personal Branding and Communication

Students will: Understand the basics of personal branding and what it means to inhabit their brand; learn how to effectively communicate their skills, accomplishments and showcase how their past experiences have shaped them; become familiar with the basics of personal reputation management; Build and manage their own LinkedIn profile; examine PR and Personal Branding case studies; Learn possible work-related obstacles students may face and learn how to deal with them; Investigate mainstream media and how minorities are portrayed in the workforce/corporate culture; Examine the study of W.E.B Du Bois "Soul of Black Folk" and how it affects people of color in the workforce. Students will improve their creative writing; resume building; and public speaking (personal elevator pitch).

Philosophy of Psychedelics

We will critically analyze various states of altered consciousness while focusing our main efforts on the altered states produced by psychedelic drugs. Once this groundwork is laid, we will discuss what being under the influence of different altered states can teach us about the nature of our reality when completely sober. We will conclude the course with an evaluation of the evolution of the dominant definitions of consciousness. Is it ethical to enforce laws that aim to prevent access to certain altered states? How do they determine which states to prohibit? What should the ethical criteria of consciousness be? The goal is to academically revisit a class of powerful altered-state-inducing drugs whose effects have cycled through glorification and demonization throughout history.

Pre-colonial and current Climate Justice Techniques

This course studies the structures of indigenous societies and communities before precolonial contact. We will study the resistance techniques of Gay Two-Spirit societies, the Standing Rock-NODAPL unity efforts, the Occupation of Alcatraz, the Mauna Kea Hawaii resistance exertions and global warming topics. We research how to empower youth against bullying mentalities via the Indigenous Ways. I will create a protective environment and encourage diverse learning. Guest speakers will contribute their perspectives. Students will have opportunities to fulfill academic and community involvement requirements. Students will decide how to express what they learned in the course in a final project. Our final meeting includes a Gifting Celebration.


This course will allow students to make prints of artworks such as posters, hoodies, stickers or whatever else they may desire.

Racial Segregation in Education

This course examines the history of racial segregation in American education and how this history manifests in the present. We will read "classic" works that look at how race played out in school in the recent past (e.g. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?) as well as works looking at how the worlds of students and teachers are often very different from one another (e.g. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too). The course will be focused on group discussions as we all try to better understand how race works in the classroom and in the system of education generally.

Organizing of Pilipin@/x's in the Diaspora

This course will explore Philippine history, from pre-colonial times to present-day issues experienced by Pilipin@/x in the U.S. and in the diaspora. Participants are encouraged to think critically and learn organizing techniques to address the imperial regimes within the Philippine and US government and hold them accountable for economic violence and political repression. Educational discussions and classroom workshops will engage in various topics such as migrant workers, youth and student organizing, learning about the National Democratic Movement in the Philippines and will practice their knowledge through various activities throughout the semester.

Running for Elected Office 101

Running for Elected Office 101 will go over the fundamental basics of running for elected office. SF State has no course on teaching students how to run for elected office or why they should run for elected office. Some topics we will cover are -- How to Utilize Social Media, Fundraising 101, Phone Banking and Knocking Doors How To, Delivering Your Values & Message, and Determining the Elected Office you Want to Run For. Elected officials from SF County will talk about their experience running for office. We will learn which organizations help people run for elected office. This course will allow students to have the necessary tools and resources to run for an elected position.

Science Is Gay: The LGBTQ Experience in STEM

This course will study the contributions made by gay STEM professionals as the context for a critical examination of the challenges faced by LGBTQ students and professionals when pursuing research in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Self Reflection and Alignment

Self-care and self-improvement allow each individual to create a trust and reliance within themselves. It can be achieve through fun and small steps. Reflection of your past helps you manifest the direction you want to go in the future. This course will engage you in thought-provoking discussions and self assessment activities that improve the ways in which you practice self-car and self-improvment. This will strengthen the relationship within yourself and the people around you.

Sexuality and Gender In Horror Films

This is a survey course on why and how mainstream horror films' portrayal of gender has changed over the last few decades. We will discuss the real life events that informed these portrayals.

Sports Seminar

This course will focus on the statistics, strategies, media, business, politics and social aspects of sports. Students will gain an understanding how each aspect has an effect on the sport and the decisions made by players, ownership and all parties in between.

Teaching Through Superheroes

We will critically read and discuss superheroes as they have been portrayed in comic books since the 1940s.

The Geography of Tea

Students will learn about the physiography, cultivation and range of Camellia Sinensis (Tea) along with the process of aging and fermenting different types of tea. This class will also explore the cultural and socioeconomic side of tea from colonial times till present.

The Happiest Places on Earth: The Flawed Art of Theme Parks

Imagine! A class all about theme or amusement parks! Indeed! We will explore their colorful histories, discuss their importance as an art form, and critically think about their increasingly problematic roles in pop-culture and late-stage-capitalism at large. This course will hopefully prove to be an engaging dip into an art form hiding in plain sight; an obnoxiously visible yet reclusive medium investigated through student-led discussions, designing your own theme parks, and perhaps even a trip to one in person!

The History Of Video Games

From arcades and Atari to the current landscape of cloud gaming, this course will cover many major milestones achieved by the multi-billion dollar industry. Topics such as the rise and fall of Atari, the bitter rivalry between Nintendo and Sega, the emergence of PlayStation and Xbox, and the current push for cloud gaming will be discussed. Students are encouraged to join if they're interested in learning more about the history of the industry, but also if they want to share thoughts or anecdotes about their favorite video games and how they impacted them. Sometimes your personal history with video games can be just as important when talking about the industry at large!

The Unexpected in Film Genre

When filmmakers and storytellers defy stereotypical genres and cultural appropriation, main stream cultural places them in boxes in order to marginalize them. This course will focus on examining the films in these boxes. We will watch both feature-length and short films throughout the semester from Latino-American, African American, Iranian American, Asian American, and Indigenous filmmakers who have defied attempts at marginalization. These filmmakers, in collaboration with their allies, have taken the genre of thriller, comedy, and horror into new directions and redefined what film storytelling be.

The Women's Club

This women-focused course will empower women at San Francisco State University to connect with other women, own their power, and build their own community. Focusing in on how women can become stronger leaders in their lives and communities, this course will also serve as an outlet for women to come together, support each other, and lift as they climb.

Video Games: History, Economics, and Ludology

This course explores and analyzes video games from 1990 and onward and delves into how games have evolved, how they fit into our global society, and how they may have larger implications on industries in the 21st century. If you have an interest in video games, economics, or computers, this is the class for you.

Why We Sit in Rows: A Study of Educational Myths

This course will be taught using progressive pedagogy, and focus on how issues of race, class and gender are reinforced or broken down in the school system. It will include topics such as the school to prison pipeline, the cost of college, standardized tests and why we sit in rows.

Your/ You're America

This will be a discussion-based class that investigates the relevance of American core values to each student. This course is aimed at providing an opportunity for students to review their own values and develop a better understanding of where they originate, with the hope of addressing which tenets of American ideology should be more readily implemented in our ever changing society.