Students Go to the Head of the Class In New ExCo Program
D.J. Bybee '01 has a passion for cars and always has. But as he spent his past year lovingly restoring his 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle, he realized no one shared his depth of interest, nor, for that matter, his knowledge about cars. To remedy this, he offered to teach other students what he knew about auto mechanics.
Thus began one in a series of courses offered by the Experimental College or ExCo, a program of student-taught, non-credit courses similar to the practical courses and workshops being offered by students at other colleges including Oberlin and Tufts.
Founded in the fall of 1997 by Bethany Carson '98 and Emily Clark '98, ExCo concluded its second semester in the spring of 1998 and offered 16 non-credit courses ranging from "Art for the Unartistic" to "Very Basic Sign Language." Some courses like Bybee's auto mechanics were so popular, the student organizers had to draft waiting lists.
Classes meet once a week for six weeks and emphasize "flexible, non-traditional, community-oriented learning," explains ExCo committee member Moriah McGrath'99.
ExCo is a way in which students can share valuable talents with their peers, and it's also a chance for them to relax while working together on something fun. Abby Rosenheck '99 says her quilting class is a perfect example of an opportunity for students to collectively learn as they create a unified work. While Abby Roza'99 believes her "Very Basic Sign Language" course provides students with both a basic understanding of signing and a better grasp of the deaf community.
The ExCo term culminated in an exposition where students presented work they've produced and demonstrated their new-found skills. -- Nathaniel Friedman '00