"Who We Are & What We Dream: Comparative Science Fiction"
Science fiction provides commentary on who we are and on our dreams -- and nightmares -- about the future. This comparative literature class for adult learners (students 16+, parents, grandparents, etc.), 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 honors-level online class is interactive but asynchronous to better accommodate adults' busy and complicated schedules: students can work across time zones, submit assignments, and discuss the week's readings as their schedules permit throughout the day. "Who We Are & What We Dream" is not self-paced, though: there are weekly deadlines with different assigned readings each week. Our "classroom" is a private Google Group.
In 15 weeks, students read 24 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 discussion questions related to the readings and to each other's ideas, giving students ample opportunity to put their thoughts into writing.
Because students generally put in more than the 120 hours assumed to be equal to a high school credit, "Who We Are & What We Dream" can count as a full, accelerated English credit if families so choose.
"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."
"This class has really opened up a new frontier as far as discussion goes, and I have never really taken anything like it before. Thank You for Everything!"
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