Oklahoma Baptist University

J-Term Offers Eclectic Courses

OBU students often endure frosty temperatures to attend J-Term (January Term) courses which help them graduate on a set schedule. But the professors on Bison Hill also warmly welcome Shawnee-area residents to investigate the three-week courses.

Whether the interested “student” is a community member or a concurrent student, both are invited to enroll in J-term courses. Community members may audit the course or take the course for full credit (classified as either special students or non-degree seeking students).

A few of the many courses offered during OBU’s J-Term include:

· Technology for Creative Learning (CIS1999) taught by Dr. Renita Murimi. Murimi said the course will answer the question: “What learning mechanisms spark creativity?”

The class will be a mix of current research in learning mechanisms, programming robots and creating tools for better learning. The analytical skills gained from this class will benefit any student, and can be used across disciplines.

“Robotics is an important tool in cultivating an interest in computer science,” said Murimi, assistant professor of computer information science. “Robotics also offers multi-dimensional pedagogical opportunities. The assembly of robots for various tasks and their programming present multiple venues for creativity in hardware and software. Since robots are a cultural construct in our world, robotics can inspire cross-disciplinary interest in students and foster collaboration and creativity.”

· Worship Guide to Creativity (AMIN1999-B / CHMU1999-A) taught be guest lecturer Dennis Jernigan and facilitated by OBU Professor, Dr. Ken Gabrielse. A 1981 OBU alum, Jernigan is an internationally known songwriter and speaker. Since 1993, Jernigan has sold more than 1 million recordings, and he has witnessed the body of Christ sing several of his songs around the world, one of his most popular being, “You Are My All in All.” In addition to recording more than 35 music albums, he has authored several books and devotionals.

“Dennis Jernigan is a unique worship leader in that he focuses on the healing aspects of worship,” said Dr. Lee Hinson, associate professor of church music, who helped arrange the course. “His testimony and personal life are grounded in a worship lifestyle that reinforces his personal discipleship. When you meet Dennis personally, you know that is also who he is (while) leading worship and performing.”

· God Goes to the Movies (REL1999) taught by Dr. Christian George. This course explores the relationship between theology and film. All kinds of genres are included: action, comedy, drama, Sci-Fi, romance, martial arts, western, animation and independent, including a movie that is completely silent from beginning to end. Popcorn will be provided, George noted.

“Each of these genres has something significant to teach us about the nature of God, the development of his church, and the process of spiritual formation,” said George, who serves as Huitt assistant professor of religious education.

“All of us yearn to know our purpose in this world. All of us ask the questions, ‘What am I doing here?’ ‘How should I define myself?’ ‘What should I strive to be? To do? To leave behind?’ Movies can help us answer these questions. They can expose truths about God and ourselves. Sometimes the truth is ugly and tragic. Other times, it’s beautiful and hopeful. It’s been so exciting to see how much interest this class has already generated in both the upper and lower classes.”

· Journalism in the Media (NSIM 1999) taught by Holly Easttom. This course focuses on how modern journalism students perceive professional journalism and its writers. Students explore video and radio clips from the early 1940s to the present and discuss how the profession is portrayed in media and how that portrayal correlates with or contradicts the student’s personal impressions. Easttom said she designed the course based on her love of the journalism profession and her love of films about the profession. Students can expect to view 15 films during the course which also deal with gender issues, print-versus-Web media and the future of journalism.

“I saw so many movies that put journalists in a really negative light – even when they are adapted from books that portray no negativity at all,” Easttom said. “After seeing so many movies where the writer is morally compromised and fixated on exclusivity and fame, I wanted to find some examples of noble journalists –- those who are willing to fight for their cause. I’m also interested in showing the ‘everyday journalist’ –- those ordinary individuals caught in extraordinary situations.”

· Film, Faith, and Culture (CMAR1999) taught by Ron Johnson. This course is a study of select films about faith and the shaping of contemporary culture’s understanding of faith by film. Students will analyze films using film semiotics, rhetoric, social codes and cultural studies. Students will also develop a theological framework for critiquing and interpreting significant films in American culture.

· Marriage in America from the Reformation to Now (FMLY4329) taught by Dr. Brian Camp. This special-topics course will examine marriage in America and how it has changed form and function for about the past 500 years. The course will examine marriage as depicted in personal writings, public speeches, social movements, popular media (primarily movies) and scholarly advice. Particular attention will be placed on marriage within the 20th and 21st centuries. Course members will spend considerable time discussing the relevant issues of today including why marriage is an important institution and what is the likely future of marriage in America.

· All about ESPN (BSAD1999) taught by Dr. Keith Harman. The course will examine the key management and leadership concepts exemplified by ESPN. After completing the course, students will have a deeper understanding of ESPN’s creation, its development and evolution as an organization, its corporate culture, its evolving corporate strategy, and its social responsibility and corporate ethics. The course is a blend of projects and case studies.

“ESPN is often cited as the most successful media company in history,” Harman said. “ESPN is also generally regarded as one of the most innovative and well-managed companies in the world. Consequently, the course will focus upon ESPN's founding, its unique corporate culture, fierce commitment to its brand and its relentless quest to be the worldwide leader in sports coverage.”

Community members interested in attending J-Term courses should contact the OBU Academic Center at (405) 585-5100 to inquire about availability and costs for each cou

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