New Special Topics Courses in Spring 2020

Emi Tsuji , Staff Reporter

Two new Special Topic Courses will be offered for the upcoming Spring 2020 semester. 

The new Composition course, “GEN 182, Special Topics in Composition II Writing in Social Sciences,” will be taught by Peter Sattler, professor of American Literature and Writing.  

According to Sattler, “GEN 182” is about arguments and research, focusing on writing in social sciences. This includes Criminal Justice, Psychology, Diversity Studies Sociology, and Economics. 

“We were looking at some research and talking to some Lakeland faculty members and we thought that we could create a composition class that focused more on the kinds of questions and vocabulary, research, and writing styles that students might encounter in their own majors,” Sattler explained. This course was created to help students. Comparing to the current Composition course, the uniqueness of the new course is that students can focus on the particular writing styles which directly connect with their major.   

Sattler also mentioned the future plans for the class, “We are hoping to create other kinds of courses that might help students in business, or in natural science, for the humanities.” 

Although the new course has a different course number from the current “GEN 112” Composition course, taking “GEN 182” also meets the graduation requirements.  

Another new course for next semester is “CPS 480, Special Topics in Computer Science Human-Computer Interaction Lab.” This course will be taught by Cynthia Lindstrom who is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science. This course is designed for upper grade level students who are in Computer Science major. 

According to Lindstrom, “CPS 480” is a project based course that includes programming humanoid robots to help humans. “My students are going to develop applications for robots so they can interact with humans,” Lindstrom mentioned.  

Lindstrom also mentioned that she is excited to teach this new course. “We’ve worked on computers but we’ve never had a course specifically for humanoid robots. This course is about how do we capture and use machine learning and artificial intelligence in these robots to help humans.” 

The course was added in response to the new robots at Lakeland. There are five robots, including one named “Pepper.” In the course, each student will be assigned one robot, work on their projects and present it on research day. “We’ve got all these robots and there is a need for interaction with these humanoids especially with students and adults with disabilities or disorders of any kind. They seem to like to work with robots. So they’re meant to help humans,” Lindstrom said. 

Both of those two special topics courses are brand new and if they become successful for this upcoming semester, they will be implemented as permanent courses.