studying

You might have thought seminar courses were just for fourth-year students, but this fall you can take not just one but two seminar courses being offered at Western. 

Starting in September 2016, the Department of Modern Languages will be offering seminar courses for first-year students.

The two courses entitled: CLC 1040: Ideas and Apps that Changed the World and CLC 1050E: World Cultures, Literatures and Arts Across the Ages will be taught as part of the Comparative Literature and Culture program but will be open to all students. 

Seminar courses are far more common in upper years with a number of Western students taking them during their third and fourth-year of undergraduate studies. The courses have a significant portion dedicated to in-class debate and discussions. 

According to Luca Pocci, CLC 1050E instructor, the main advantage of a seminar course is that they are limited enrolment courses, meaning that students will have closer interaction with the instructor and classmates.

"Students are encouraged to work in groups with other people [to] discuss. This is a setting that can help to develop writing skills better than a conventional classroom," he added.

Pocci also believes the small class sizes are beneficial to students transitioning to university as "students don't run the risk of finding themselves in an anonymous setting." 

The size of the class students and instructors can develop closer relationships which are beneficial throughout a student's university career.  

Cristina Caracchini, CLC 1040 instructor, said that seminar courses are beneficial for first year students as they allow students to form stronger opinions on a subject and deeper understanding of a topic due to close interactions with their peers.

"Students talk in small groups in order to clarify the subject and compare different understandings... it's going to be a stronger opinion because its been backed by your small group," she noted. 

Students will be expected to complete assigned readings before class and the class itself helps to further students knowledge and comprehension of a given topic.

"There is a collaboration in which each one of the students aims at finding the next piece of the puzzle and this grows with time passing," she said. 

For course syllabi and descriptions, click here for CLC 1040 and here for CLC 1050E. 

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Aaron is a Multimedia Editor for Volume 110. He studies Medical Sciences, Biology and French. In his spare time he is an avid world traveller, Netflix aficionado and world champion napper.

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