Creating A Class: Appalachia in Film

As previously mentioned, one of the independent studies I am taking this spring involves creating a class. All of this came about as a need to acquire more credit hours for the semester. Many are not aware that if a professor heads an independent study for a student, then that professor is working for free. My professors graciously took on the task in their own way. My Appalachian History professor, Dr. Barry Whittemore, decided that the independent study should produce something that both he and I would make use of in the future. He suggested that I create a class having to do with Appalachia and film. Upon completion of this class, Dr. Whittemore, and hopefully one day I, will be able to teach the class to the next generation of students. This is the process I began this month.

After approving the independent study, department head Dr. Timothy May suggested to Dr. Whittemore that I develop a Course Description and Course Objectives first. I could not agree more. In order to develop the course I needed to figure out what I wanted the course to achieve. With this in mind, I developed my course description and objectives. These will remain a rough draft, so to speak, until the course is finalized. As I build the class, I have no doubt that my objectives may evolve into something more complete but until then here are the goals of the course as they stand.

Course Description: This class explores the evolving perception of Appalachian culture and its portrayal. This will involve an understanding of the origins and evolution of Appalachian stereotypes and how those stereotypes are projected through the medium of film

Course Objectives: Students will develop a clear understanding of Appalachia as it is portrayed in film. They will form an understanding of the literary origins of Appalachian stereotypes. Students will learn how the perception of Appalachia in film changed over time within the context of U.S. and World History.  Students will:

  1. Communicate effectively using multiple literacies and forms of expression
  2. Demonstrate analytic, contextual, and holistic thinking
  3. Engage in integrative learning
  4. Analyze ethical interactions in local and global communities

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