Students Explore New Topics and Build Skills During Half Block

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

CC’s Half Block offers a range of topics for students to make the most of the Winter Break. Courses range from The Science of Superheroes to Digital Tools for the Liberal Arts. Half of the offered courses are for-credit, and the other half are not-for-credit with a focus on professional development.

Naomi Wood, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, describes the week and a half in January as “an opportunity for students to explore a discipline or area outside of their normal field of study or to work on a skill that is complementary to their primary interests.”

One class taught year after year is Wood’s Brazilian Music and Language. It’s a hybrid of introductory Portuguese language and Brazilian music; Wood combines the Portuguese language element of her full-block language classes with the Brazilian culture she usually teaches in English. “I very much enjoy the shift in energy that both I and students bring [during Half Block]” Wood explains. She also says that “because this is a supplemental course (not a requirement) the classroom environment represents the core sentiment of being in class merely for enrichment purposes.” Wood recommends Brazilian Music and Culture to learn “basic Portuguese language, explore percussion instruments core to many Brazilian rhythms, and trace socio-historical contexts and implications of the evolution of Brazilian music.”

CC alumni Camille Blakely ’84 and Millie Olsen ’68 are returning to campus to teach a Dynamic Half-Block course titled Advertising Agency Immersion. Blakely runs Blakely + Company, an advertising agency in downtown Colorado Springs, and Olsen founded San Francisco-based Amazon Advertising. Olsen has been back to campus every year since 1999 to teach a two-day advertising course to economics students, and says she’s excited to be back for all of Half Block 2018.

Blakely and Olsen will help students develop solutions for a millennial-focused brand challenge from a Fortune 500 company. Students will present their ideas to the company during a videoconference at the end of the course. Olsen explains that it will be “a weeklong plunge into the life of a real agency.” It’s a chance, she says, “to try on some roles and see if they fit, and overall, if you’re meant to be in the hyper-competitive, ever-changing, anything-goes world of advertising and marketing.”

In addition to Brazilian Music and Language and Advertising Agency Immersion, there are 20 other for-credit offerings and 20 more not-for-credit Half-Block options. The classes will run from Jan. 8-18, 2018.

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