May Term - Intensive Learning
The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel courses and on-campus courses. These courses are offered in May during a three-week term.
Intensive Learning Courses Offered by MCSP Faculty:
Exploring Ghana through Service
This course offers the opportunity to explore Ghana, often considered a success story in African development, through the lens of service and travel. We will spend the time working with established service organizations that deal with poverty and healthcare, in urban and rural parts of the country. To do this effectively and to gain as much as possible from our experiences, we will learn about Ghana's colonial and postcolonial history and culture, as well as about the country's major social institutions: government, healthcare, education, and religion. The course will include visits to important national sites as well as local institutions and markets, to supplement our service. There will also be time to explore Chana's history and natural history firsthand, with day trips to locations away from our service sites.
Computing Aspects of E-Commerce
An overview of electronic commerce. Topics include: network infrastructure for e-commerce; overview of web technology; a study of the web-sites hosting several web-based businesses; the electronic storefront; security; electronic payment systems; social, legal, and ethical issues. Students will form teams; each team will develop a web site, including the software to handle electronic commerce, for a mock web business.
Math in Popular Media
Exploration of the use and portrayal of mathematics in film and television. In particular, various episodes of NUMB3RS will be viewed and discussed. The discussions will focus on the mathematical techniques used to solve crime, including understanding the mathematics and the accuracy of its portrayal. Students will also analyze various films for their mathematical content as well as answer questions such as "How are the mathematicians portrayed?" and "What stereotypes are reinforced and which are challenged?"
The Mathematics of Gambling
The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that relies on the mathematics of its games to drive their profits and avoid their losses. This course provides both a hands-on and a computational analysis of the probabilities involved when gambling and playing games. We include an introduction to the rules of and basic winning strategies for roulette, blackjack, various forms of poker, and other games, including selected board games and sports. Students will also learn to apply skills developed in this class to other games they come across. There is a field trip to the Virginia Lottery Headquarters and a casino night activity.
The Science of Sports
Calculus, physics and statistics will be applied to a variety of sports in this interdisciplinary course. Mathematical analysis will shed light on some of the fundamentals and strategies of sports. For each of the concepts developed, students will design experiments and use technology to collect and analyze data. The exciting and expanding field of sports analytics will be explored.
Space Exploration: Past, Present and Future
The need for space research and exploration stems from our human nature to explore and better understand the world we inhabit. The scientific foundations of our Universe and the history and implications of space explorations in the past, present and the future will be addressed in this course. The guiding questions are: Why explore space? How does space exploration change us as a human race? By examining these fundamental questions, the students will gain a better understanding of the origins of our Universe, the nature of our planet Earth, and our roles and responsibilities in preserving the place we call home.
Digitally Rebuilding the Ancient World
The driving goal of this course is to expose students to the process of designing and creating a 3D model of a realistic environment. Through a review of existing models of historically significant structures and hands-on development of their own virtual buildings, students will learn about the power of these representations, and some of the challenges introduced by this new presentation medium. Experience with computer game technology would prove useful, but is not required for this course.
This year's team of Ed Hrinya, Jared Meadows and Kat Jansen received the second highest ranking of Meritorious, which placed them in the top 1 percent internationally in the Mathematical Competition in Modeling.