Interdisciplinary Capstone Seminars

These seminars are the capstone of the Elon Core Curriculum.  They are opportunities for students to integrate and apply what they have learned during the Elon experience.  The capstone also challenges students to consider larger themes of the program – ethical reasoning, personal and social responsibility, and global citizenship.  More than 40 different seminar topics are offered each academic year, allowing students a wide range of choices.  Every capstone seminar is interdisciplinary and writing-intensive, and includes a capstone project.

To satisfy this requirement, students must take an Elon COR course outside the major field at the 300- or 400-level during their third or fourth year of study.  Students who have questions about their eligibility should contact the Director of the Elon Core Curriculum.

 

Selected recent seminars

These topics may or may not be offered in the future.

COR 307      The Future Now
What does the future hold for humankind? This course explores the social, economic and political implications of the future now being projected by experts in all fields of study. Learn how to recognize, evaluate and work to adapt to expected future realities in an age in which nested networks influence everything (Facebook, the interstate highway system, sustainable resources, etc.) to a greater degree than ever before. Build new paradigms, engage in an intriguing quest for foresight and prepare yourself to work toward the best future possible as you synthesize a better understanding of the impact of accelerating change. This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.

COR 326      Human Sexuality
This course provides the comprehensive study of biological, cultural and psychosocial sexuality throughout the life cycle, including male and female physiology, reproduction, contraception, sexual identity, gender roles, intimate relationships, sexually transmitted diseases and variant sexual behaviors. This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.

COR 359      Media and the Middle East
This course examines the ways in which the Middle East is covered and portrayed in both Western and non-Western media. It aims to broaden students' perspectives on a critical part of the world and to deepen their understanding of complex problems they read and hear about daily. By drawing on both contemporaneous and historical accounts, the course will encourage students to examine the diversity of views, each of them rooted in a different history and a different culture. The course will be taught in seminar fashion and will require substantial reading, not only in contemporary journalism but also history, religion, cultural studies and international relations.  This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study. 

COR 364      Technology and Society
This course will examine the role of invention and technology in society. Synthesizing elements of engineering, computer science, economics, history, business, and sociology, this course investigates technology both as a reflection of and as a catalyst for cultural identity and social change. Recent topics have included virtual worlds, artificial life, cyborgs, the do-it-yourself hacker ethic, posthumanism, resistance to change, and the diffusion of innovations. Using a combination of reflective and researched essays, live action role playing games, video games, films, simulations, and presentations, students will reconcile their own technology experiences with the common portrayal of technology in history and in contemporary culture. This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.

COR 404      Africa’s People and Environments
Many African countries are rich in resources and have economies that are on the rise. Others struggle to diversify their economies and provide for their citizens and protect their environments. This course explores Africa’s uneven development through major theoretical perspectives on international development and key factors and institutions that shape development planning. It focuses on what is often left out of mass media coverage of the continent: Africans who are entrepreneurs, live in major urban areas, are models of leadership, and engaged in effective self-help initiatives; in short, what is working well. The course is intended for upper level students from a wide range of disciplines, including students interested in study abroad, volunteering, or working in an African country.  This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.  Counts toward African and African-American Studies, Geography, and Poverty and Social Justice minors.

COR 416      Wealth and Poverty
This course will focus on the profound disparity between people who live in wealth and people who live in poverty at the beginning of the 21st century. Particular attention will be paid to moral responsibility and accountability of people in the First World to the problems of global inequality. This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study. Counts toward Peace and Conflict Studies and Poverty and Social Justice minors.

COR 429      Permaculture: Food, Culture and Sustainability
It is projected that our world will face increasing pressures on its capacity to maintain itself and ourselves as well.   Central to this discussion is man’s need for food, fiber, energy and shelter.   This question is not only physical, but social as well.  What choices will we need to make?  What skills will we need to develop?  Will our own personal and world views need to change to give the best probability of success?  Permaculture offers design principles that provide for our needs through consciously designed landscapes which mimic patterns and relationships found in nature.  Permaculture also includes people, their buildings and the ways they organize themselves.   Lessons from the first 10,000 years of agriculture, combined with permaculture principles and self and local community values will be explored and applied to a design for a sustainable future.  This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.

COR 433      Coming Home: The Impact of Studying Abroad
This course encourages and facilitates the in-depth reflection on and analysis of the experience of spending time abroad and then re-entering one’s home culture.  Students will be asked to contribute to this seminar by presenting appropriate details from their experience(s) abroad and to collaborate with classmates to compare experiences and, by the end of the term, arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of the patterns that exist when all classmates experiences are examined as a whole.  The unifying concepts that will guide the course include culture, culture shock, reverse culture shock, moral career (in the way sociologist E. Goffman uses this term), ethnocentrism, cultural relativity, self-identity, impression management, and compartmentalization.  This course is specifically designed for those Elon students who have spent a semester or winter term abroad.  This course is writing intensive.  Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.

COR 437      Science in the Media: Exploring Current Science Issues
This course will explore current scientific topics as they are presented in the media.  As the media, in its various forms, has substantial influence over what the general public learns and understands about scientific issues, the importance of analyzing information that can be obtained from the media will be investigated.  During the course of our study, we will read from traditional and more current news sources; in addition, more creative and/or artistic sources of scientific information will be examined.  We will concentrate largely on science issues that directly impact society in general, and humans in particular, and how the media can portray or distort these issues that are of concern to large segments of society.  In addition, we will critically analyze the historical, ethical, political, and societal considerations of how the media presents these topics, and whether these portrayals are accurate or can be subject to interpretation, particularly over time and context.  An integral part of this course will include determining the accuracy of scientific reporting, and how that accuracy can be determined and confirmed (and whether accuracy is necessary or even relevant in all types of media).  This course is writing intensive. Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.

COR 440      A Liberal Education—What is it Good for Anyway?
This course is designed to investigate the core historical concepts, and the changes those concepts have undergone, to a Liberal Arts education.  We will also examine and reflect upon the nature and importance of a liberal education and how having one influences a person’s life journey.  In addition, we will use the liberal education skills of reading deeply, analytic writing, open dialogue, questioning, and critical thinking to discover meaning in works that require multi-leveled interpretation.  Ultimately the course aims to provide a framework by which to understand, integrate, and internalize what it means to be a liberally educated person after four years at Elon and how such an education isn’t limited to the confines of a four-year degree, but rather a way of approaching life. This course is writing intensive. Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.