Monday, April 9, 2012

15 Best Courses at Tufts

Thanks to the magic of Facebook questions, I've been conducting a university-wide poll over the past few weeks. Students in the Tufts Facebook network were asked to respond to a poll, asking: "Which were your favorite Tufts courses (Course Title, Professor)?" The sample is, admittedly, biased; I invited all of my Tufts friends on Facebook, and they perhaps invited theirs, but that makes me some kind of focal point. To try and balance this, advertisements to vote were distributed to all of the on-campus dormitories, and Tufts Admissions encouraged students, via Twitter, to vote. At the time I wrote this post, the poll had 328 votes, allowing multiple votes per respondent. The results give us the top classes at Tufts University, as voted upon by (a portion of) the students.

Peacelight Suggests
My favorite courses so far would be Intro to Computer Science (Hescott), Rational Choice (Forber), and Intro to Acting (Lueger). All three courses ranked below, and I would suggest taking a good look at all of the below courses to find something you like.

I would recommend Computer Science for most undecided students, especially those with an interest in logic, mathematics, or a dual major. I would suggest Rational Choice as an excellent way for students interested in international relations, mathematics, or argument to do a Humanities, as this philosophy course combines a bit of math and logic with a bit of thought and fun. Finally, I would suggest Intro to Acting as a perfect Arts credit for all students; you don't need to know a single thing about speaking or acting, and it the course becomes a fun, active, and fairly non-academic break from the rest of your day. But let's take a look at what Tufts students think about the most recent course offerings:

#1. Intro to Computer Science (Hescott) [42] | Mathematics
With a stunning (and amusing) 42 votes, the increasingly-popular Introduction to Computer Science, by far one of my favorite courses, won the competition, earning votes from a wide variety of students, including those who had never considered taking such a class before.

In direct response to this poll, Professor Hescott stated, "I am so excited that so many students from such diverse backgrounds are interested in comp11. It is my favorite course to teach." Certainly, the professor's near-perfect ratings make the class more enjoyable, but it may be worth a try regardless of who teaches next semester.

#2. Social Psychology (Sommers) [33] | Social Sciences
Our runner up, with an impressive 33 votes, is the Social Psychology course. This course is open to any juniors and senior, or underclassmen who have taken PSY-1.

The course description reads: "How situations and the people around us influence our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Aggression, attitudes, attraction, attribution, conformity, group processes, helping behavior, non-verbal behavior, self-knowledge, social cognition, social influence, and stereotypes and prejudice. Applications of social psychological concepts to topics such as health, intergroup relations, and law."

#3. Media and Society (Sobieraj) [18] | Social Sciences
"Social and economic organization of the mass media of communication. Effects on content. Themes of mass culture. Social composition of the audience. Effects of the media on the audience. Topics such as television, films, the press, books, magazines, and advertising." No prerequisites.

#4. Gospel Choir (Coleman) [17] | Arts
"Selected repertory of choral works. No prerequisite or previous musical experience necessary. One-half course credit."

#5. Intro to Community Health (Balbach) [14] | Social Sciences
"Examines the relationship between health, health care, and community. Considers the determinants of health and illness in contemporary society. Major emphasis on how communities define and try to resolve health-related problems explored through case studies." No prerequisites.

15 Best Courses at Tufts
#6. Western Political Thought II (Devigne) [14]
#7. School and Society (Cohen) [12*]
#8. Intro to Comparative Politics (Art) [12]
#9. Intro to Yiddish Culture (Gittleman) [8]
#10. Creative Writing (Hurka) [7*]
#11. Political Psychology (Schildkraut) [7]
#12. History of Blues (Ullman) [6*]
#13. Feminist Philosophy (Bauer) [6]
#14. Intro to Child Development (Wolf) [5*]
#15. Animal Behavior (Starks) [4*]

Other Top Courses at Tufts
Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (Burdick) [4]
Urban Sociology (Centner) [4]
Feminist Theologies (Hutaff) [4]
Sociology of the School (Vaught) [4]
Intro to American Politics (Glaser) [3]
Intro to Linguistics (Goldberg) [3]
Health Care in America (Irwin) [3]
Intro to Philosophy (Link) [3]
Intro to Acting (Lueger) [3]
Molecular Biology (McVey) [3]
Intro to International Relations (Mufti) [3]
Race in America (Wu) [3]
Web Programming (Chow) [2]
Observing Theory in Action (Cohen) [2]
Language and Mind (Dennett) [2]
Creative Writing (Downing) [2]
Shakespeare I (Dunn) [2]
Gender Issues in World Politics (Eichenberg) [2]
Rational Choice (Forber) [2]
Steel Design (Hines) [2]
Contemporary Religious Thought (Lemons) [2]
History of Rock 'n' Roll (Pennington) [2]

*Additional weight given because the same course taught by a different professor or the same professor teaching a different course also received votes.

Courses Not Counted
Over two-dozen courses revived single votes, but were discounted from the study. This survey aimed to see which courses were widely accepted as best, although a compilation of individual recommendations would also be interesting. Additionally, one course was discounted from this study after evidence of ballot-stuffing was revealed. In an attempt to keep the survey accurate, and courses which were voted for by students who did not take the course needed to be re-evaluated. Hopefully, with these measures, this poll will serve as a helpful tool for current Jumbos.

Good Luck!
Course registration opens today for engineering students, and will continue for the next few days for the rest of campus. Best of luck to everyone on getting their preferred courses! If you find classes you love that aren't mentioned above, comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like we were on to something...


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