Students in the TYP take five courses per semester. Four of those courses, referred to as "TYP Courses" are exclusive to students in the TYP. The fifth class is a Brandeis undergraduate course, which students choose in consultation with the TYP Director. To help you anticipate the types of material presented in the TYP, and the workload, we have provided the following examples of descriptions for TYP courses.
Spring 2013 Courses
Computer Science - Hickey
The goal of this course is to have students learn the fundamentalconcepts underlying Software Engineering and 3D Game Design.Students will create 3D games from first principles using the free andopen source Blender.org system. We assume no previous experiencein game design or computer programming. Game design is a highly interdisciplinary field and students in thiscourse will learnto use 3D coordinate systems and transformations to create 3D scenes, to control game objects within a Physics-based simulator byapplying forces, torques, linear and angular velocities, and displacements in position and orientation along specified 3D vectors, to specify the game mechanics using an Agent-basedprogramming model with sensors and actuators in a visualprogramming language called Logic Bricks, to use Object Oriented Programming techniques to specifygame properties and send messages between game objects and to use Python scripting to create 3D scenes and to control game characters. Students will create a portfolio of their own 3D games and willparticipate in a Game Design Festival at the end of the course wherethey present their work to the wider community.Social Science - Bender
This course is designed as an introduction to various types of feminism, feminist research methods, and issues related to gender and sexuality both internationally and domestically. Each week we will focus on a different topic, growing more complex and interdisciplinary as the semester goes on. Throughout the semester, the idea that a critical gendered lens can be applied to a diverse realm of topics will persist. The course will examine the intersections of race, class, and sexuality through discussions on topics such as LGBTQ issues, the media, international relations, conflict, work, family, and religion. The semester will culminate with research and discussion of a gender related social justice topic of interest, and recommendations for social change. Each unit in this class could be expanded upon into a full semester course, the purpose of this course is to give a glimpse into the diverse topics of gender and sexuality studies.
Writing: Morality and Embodiment in Comic Book Culture - Erhart
A man walks into a room wearing a spandex body suit and a cape. Is he a superhero? A supervillain? A particularly troubled fashion victim? In the world of the Superhero, everything depends on being able to successfully make the call, but how is this decision made? In this class, we will engage with a series of texts, from comic books to film, in order to interrogate the markers of good and evil, and what these markers tell us about how we conceptualize ourselves. We will interrogate how notions of good and evil form along the boundaries of race, class, gender and sexuality, and how notions of the ‘heroic’ and the ‘villain’ are often informed by larger social and cultural concerns. Questions we will address will include, what is a hero? How do notions of masculinity impact our perception of “goodness” and the heroic? What is the function of race and gender in a moral system? Ultimately, this class proposes to explore how we use these “Super” characters to define the limits and the possibilities of our own existence.
To this end, students will use a
non-traditional genre of texts (graphic novels) alongside critical theory and
cultural texts to develop their own readings of these characters while
developing their analytical writing skills within the university. This course
will help you cultivate the necessary faculties for writing successful academic
essays, which will serve you throughout your career at Brandeis.
Writing: The Fantastic and the Supernatural- Hill
The fantastic and the supernatural are a persistent source of interest and thus a common focus of stories and literature. Events, people, and objects somehow outside of our understanding of the world populate all kinds of texts, from Shakespeare plays to modern-day cartoons. Of course, what we define as supernatural is dependent on many cultural factors, and our understanding of what is “natural” or “rational” has changed (and will change!) over time. Frequently, fairy tales or folktales have been adapted over time to reflect other shifts. In this class, we will read and analyze many different stories in which the events do not adhere to a rationalist understanding of the world. We will discuss what purposes the categories of “natural” and “supernatural” serve. In addition, we will begin to read and incorporate theoretical texts into our understandings of these stories. This course is a continuation of our TYP writing class last semester and its goal is to continue to prepare students for college-level academic writing. Students will develop a critical vocabulary for thinking about the process of close reading, composition and revision as well as cultivate research skills that will help them make the most of the resources available at Brandeis.Quantitative Reasoning - Martin
This TYP course covers topics in the organization, presentation and analysis of data. After an initial review of estimation and simple descriptive statistics, the first semester is centered on linear, exponential, and power models. Students will learn how to represent data, choose an appropriate model, and assess "goodness of fit". Students will master spreadsheet software to organize and visualize data. They will also use spreadsheet functions to compute parameters for a chosen model. The semester ends with the normal distribution as a tool for analyzing natural and social phenomena. The second semester covers topics in probability and inferential (decision making) statistics.
Quantitative Reasoning - Thamrongrattanarit
We will explore key statistical concepts and probabilistic models motivated through problems and examples from daily life, news articles, and research articles. How do we know that an election result is still 'too close to call'? How did Nate Silver predict the election results so accurately? How does Netflix know what movie we like? Is probability really taken into account into a game of poker by the player? Do dietary supplements actually make us fitter? These questions will be answered from the intersection of statistics and probability. We will cover fundamental concepts such as mean, expected value, variance, conditional probability, regression models, various probabilistic models, hypothesis testing, and decision theory. We will explore how to use these concepts to meaningfully organize, analyze, and summarize the data and draw conclusions to explain phenomena that seem to happen at random.
In addition to theoretical foundation, the course will also emphasize computation and data visualization as a means to convey conclusions or arguments that can be drawn from statistical analyses. We will use statistical programming language R to analyze several real-world datasets and visualize the results as the hands-on component of the course. Students will be able to critically analyze non-traditional data visualization techniques used in the media (infographics) and conventional figures found in scientific articles. At the end of the course, students will become a critical consumer and an effective producer of statistical information.