Summer B 2017 Course Offerings

Please use the UF Schedule of Courses to find times, places, and other course information.

These courses are interdisciplinary in nature and are often team taught. 

IDH 2930 Outliers 1 4D26 Aloia, Therese Aloia, Therese 
IDH 2930 Harry Potter 1 4D27 Stoyan-Rosenzweig, Nina Harry Potter 
IDH 2930 XKCD - What If? 1 4D34 Patrick, Erin
Law, Mark
IDS2935 Research Methods at UF 1 4D40 Anne Donnelly Research Methods 


What makes people successful? International best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell explores this fascinating question in his 2008 bestseller, Outliers, by taking a deeper dive into this appealing element of our culture and society. He explores what factors influence success beyond hard work and desire. In nine chapters, Gladwell takes readers on a diverse and thought-provoking journey to understand different components that contribute to a person’s success. As a national bestseller, Outliers is full of stories, research and anecdotes which continues to appeal to audiences around the world. By engaging in meaningful discussions about Outliers, students will come away with a greater understanding of the nuanced elements of success. Outliers has the power to make a meaningful impact on students in a tangible way during their studies at UF.

Assignments throughout the semester.

  • Students will be randomly assigned to teams with fellow classmates. The teams will take turns presenting and leading discussion of the assigned Outliers Students will also write three 500-word reflections tied to their reading of Outliers.
  • Student-teams will
    1. Present assigned chapters
    2. Engage in meaningful discussions in class

Expectations  Student-teams will:

Present assigned chapters

Engage in meaningful discussions in class

Complete specific assignments to provide opportunity for reflection.

Harry Potter


In writing the seven part series (of novels) and one play on Harry Potter and his experiences at boarding school, author J.K. Rowling created a world that enthralls millions of people- old and young- around the globe. It is a world that resonates deeply with its fans and that captures the imagination. Harry Potter’s world is almost real- or maybe really real- for many young people. Certainly, a generation grew up eagerly awaiting each new book and each film was released to lines of people camped out outside the movie theaters. Even those people who do not like to read eagerly consume 700 page books.

Why do they love the world of Harry Potter so much? Perhaps because these 700 page books precipitate them into the imaginary but infinitely believable and detailed landscapes to address great, heroic struggles. In short, Rowling beautifully combines descriptions of these epic struggles with great characters and humor as well as drawing on familiar archetypes and myths.

This course will explore the series, the great themes explicated therein, and Harry Potter’s hold on the human imagination through reading and discussion of the book, Harry Potter and Imagination: The Way Between Two Worlds by Travis Prinzi, and reference to the actual Harry Potter series- books and movies (a prerequisite for joining the class is familiarity with the series). 

In addition and through Harry Potter and Imagination, the course will explore struggles between good and evil and the role of the individual in changing the world, “The great themes of Harry Potter are not communicated through textbook, theoretical, propositional statements, but are embodied in the beliefs and actions of its characters. We have already looked at the virtues extolled by J.K. Rowling, as well as the vices condemned; now we turn to an examination of her incarnations of good and evil. Along the way, readers are being called to be creative heroes in their own worlds. It is through our being shaped as creative heroes that we learn creative solutions to the problems of evil that exist in our own spheres of influence.”

Course requirements:

Students participating in the course will be required to

  • Have already read the series and/or seen the films
  • *Read, attend and participate in class discussion
  • Write two reviews of the assigned reading
  • *Complete one of the modules at - show evidence of completion of module.
  • *complete a project that can either a) involve personal or creative reflections such as exploring the impact of Harry Potter’s world on their own worlds- the way in which this literature challenged them to:

“Great imaginative literature places the readers between two worlds - the story world and the world of daily life - and challenges readers to imagine and to act for a better world.”

Or b) complete an academic project that explores historical, mythological, or ethical issues in the Harry Potter series.

XKCD - What If?

Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

This course will explore and discuss Randall Munroe's What If? As the book jacket says, the book contains approximately 2300 calories (if you can digest cellulose) (hardcover, the paper book (lite) will have fewer). The book examines serious science to answer sometimes funny and absurd questions. Each week we'll tackle a couple of the essays and discuss the approach in answering the question. Is the science done right? Are parts testable, and if so, how? What would happen if we change some of the assumptions? Are the assumptions valid? How accurate do we think some of the estimations are - and the nature of estimation in general. So, if you'd like to consider what would happen if you had a mole of moles, or what would happen if you assembled an actual periodic table of the elements, how much power output Yoda generates with the Force, or when the sun set on the British Empire, please enroll.

Students will be graded on attendance and participation. Students will present one of the topics and lead discussion on that.  This course is for both STEM and non-STEM majors, and no particular science background is expected.

Research Methods at UF

What do artists, engineers, biologists, educators, physicians, writers, historians and other scientists and scholars have in common? Research! Do want to learn more about it? “Research Methods at UF” is a course for all majors that provides a dynamic, interdisciplinary and interactive overview of diverse research methodologies conducted by UF faculty. Panels of UF faculty will discuss their individual journeys to becoming a researcher. This course is great for all majors and undecided majors.