"Who We Are & What We Dream: Comparative Science Fiction"
Science fiction provides commentary on who we are and on our dreams about the future. This comparative literature class for 9th-12th graders, taught by a former futurist, delves into classic and contemporary science fiction to examine how science fiction has evolved and how our attitudes towards science and our thinking about the future have changed over time.
This class is entirely online and asynchronous: students can submit their assignments and discuss the week's readings at any time of day or night. This class is not self-paced, though: there are weekly deadlines with different assigned readings each week. Our "classroom" is a private Google Group.
In 14 weeks, students read 23 science fiction novels, novellas, and short stories spanning nearly 200 years. We consider how a work of science fiction channels its time period's hopes -- and fears -- about science, technology, and the future, and students reflect on if and how the issues raised continue to be relevant today.
Students are expected to read up to 200 pages per week (25-30 pages per day) and to engage in timely, thoughtful online discussion.
Although this class does not involve any papers, each week students are expected to respond to short-answer questions related to the readings and to each other's ideas, giving them ample opportunity to put their thoughts into writing.
"I wanted to thank you for the Science Fiction class because it was one of my favorite classes I have ever done; the reading diverse, and the questions both challenging and thought provoking."