Past ORDER Courses
Generally, each ORDER course is taught twice; the fall course is offered to incoming freshmen, and the spring course is offered to outgoing seniors. Below is a (nearly complete) list of past courses, along with a sampling of course flyers, syllabi, and other course materials. Browse through the courses to get a sense of the vast diversity of topics covered.
Starting at the basic level of cells and extending to the complex level of social movements, an innate component of the human experience that unites us all is survival. This course will utilize the underlying framework of survival to examine how humans have withstood disease, displacement, and disputes in striving to advance as a society. As an ORDER course (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers), we will use numerous research techniques drawing from a variety of disciplines, including algorithms and data analysis, laboratory demonstrations, primary literature readings, discussions and debates, to explore questions of human survival. A final research project will engage students in applying these diverse techniques to investigating a research question of their choice. From fighting diseases to fighting for justice, equip yourself with the necessary tools for survival both at Emory and beyond, and, ultimately, for being human.
Family. Friends. Community. What holds these bonds together? What breaks them down? This course addresses complex social issues by introducing students to different academic subjects and how they interact. Current Emory scholars will lead modules related to their research spanning a variety of topics such as: how empathy develops, how concepts structure our experience of the world, and how human practices can either create barriers or afford access. This course is designed for students who are interested in being exposed to a wide variety of subjects and current academic research. Students will learn to develop their own interests as they engage fundamental questions of human nature, culture, and thought.
Teacher-scholars: Isabella Alexander, James Burkett, Anne Winiarski, Joel Reynolds, Sasha Klupchack
Risk and Resilience (2013-14)
Who are you? How do you face life's challenges? And can you choose to be the person you want to be? In this seminar, we will explore how susceptibility and resilience to factors such as trauma, prejudice, obesity, or moral dilemmas shape individual identity. For example, is your identity influenced by your ancestral environment? Your religion? Your mind? How you sleep or what you eat? Neuroscience, epigenetics, psychology, philosophy, and religious studies all examine these kinds of questions in unique yet complementary ways. This interdisciplinary course uses a research-oriented approach and is designed for students ready to face the challenge of grappling with the formation of identity. Ladies and Gentlemen: let Risk and Resilience begin. Here's some advice: stay alive!
Teacher-scholars: Carolina Campanella, Ashley Coleman, Brian Dias, Julia Haas, Constance Harrell
Throughout our lives we are exposed. We are exposed to environments. We are exposed to toxins. We are exposed to culture. We are exposed to contexts. We are even exposed to our own genetic makeup. In this course, students will develop research projects to explore how exposure shapes our health, our identity, our behavior, and the way we interpret the world. Two things make this course unique: First, students will work in groups to conduct their own research on any topic of their choice, from how people interact on campus to how proteins interact in a cell. Second, rather than a single professor, five teacher-scholars from the fields of psychology, history, religion, philosophy, genetics, and neuroscience will co-teach the course. While studying the many ways exposure shapes our identities, students will have the opportunity to experience five different fields of study. So, what will you expose yourself to?
Teacher-scholars: Eladio Abreau, Kelly Lohr, Jason Shepherd, Josey Snyder, Lena Suk
Going Viral: Infectious Diseases, Ideas, & Politics (2012-13)
Senior course description: Have you ever wondered how an idea spreads from one person to another until everyone seems to know about it and accept it as fact, or how a disease spreads through a population causing an epidemic? How do infectious political ideas change the way we view our country and our world? In this seminar we will explore the role of infectious diseases, ideas, and politics, examining how they shape our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in. We will use a number of research techniques including close readings, discussions, student surveys,laboratory demonstrations, and outdoor experiments to answe
r these questions of infection. Teacher-scholars from across five distinct disciplines will develop their stories of academic discover and mentor you in the development of your proposals for your future beyond college. Are you immune to the spread of politics, ideas, and diseases? Or . . . have you been infected?
iSearch: Illuminating Identity (2012-13)
Senior course description: As upperclassmen beginning to plan your future outside of Emory, you will be doing a lot of iSearching. In this seminar we will search academic findings and discoveries made across many disciplines at Emory through interactive demonstrations, excursions, and discussions. Using the latest "Apps", we will illuminate the research process so you can begin to answer your own questions about the nature of the universe, identity, evolution, and culture. iSearch will be taught by Teacher-scholars spanning five different disciplines, and each instructor will detail their specific discoveries, how their research is being conducted, and what it will bring to our society. Specifically we will search and discuss implicit racial attitudes, the physics of plastic solar cells, the evolution of mind and memory, how proteins are really nanomachines, and the production of gender roles and racial dynamics in the game of soccer. We will guide and mentor the development of your individual proposals for your next steps beyond college.
Layers of Human Experience: Molecules, Methods, and Metaphysical Madness (2011-12)
Senior course description: Human beings are complex organisms: biological, mechanical, and social. These dimensions interact in a variety of ways to give rise to what we call "the human experience." In this course, we will explore different layers of the human experience from the perspective of five different disciplines. This course is designed for students who are either interested in exploring how different fields theorize the concept of the human condition, and/or students who are considering post-Baccalaureate education and want to get a glimpse into the nature of academic research.
Sex, Drugs, and Vodou Spirits: Exploring Health from Molecules to Society (2011-12)
Senior course description: Have you ever been sick? Taken birth control or seen a psychologist? Felt unease with the existing explanations in psychology? This course will delve into research in all of these areas, while exploring ways you can engage in research after graduation. You will prepare a proposal for a competitive fellowship or grant, such as NSF. Scholars from Emory with very different backgrounds will guide you through their research, examining how reproductive health and sexuality are portrayed by the media, how behaviors evolve through natural selection, how complexity theories force scientists to reconsider the nature of human experience, the perception of mental health in Haiti, how your immune system fights off respiratory pathogens, and the application of microscopy to neurological disease. This course will include reading and discussions, excursions, and demonstrations. We examine these topics as a basis for conducting research to answer our questions as well as yours.
Good Germs, Bad Angels, Mutant Mice, and the Secret to Success (2010-11)
Senior course description. This course is divided into four 3-week modules, taught by instructors from four different disciplines. During each module, you will learn how each instructor uses the scientific method within her specific discipline. While each module will explore a different research topic, you will notice that the process of discovery spans all disciplines. No matter what our field of study,we all started with a research question that captured our interest, and designed a research project that helped us answer our questions and gain a better of understanding of how the world works.In addition to presenting her original research, each instructor will also emphasize a specific step in the research process. Throughout the course, you will use this process to write a grant proposal in an area that interests you. We will guide you through the steps of completing a research grant proposal, from formulating a research question to writing your personal statement.In addition to crafting a working draft of your grant proposal, you will also develop and present a five-minute creative presentation of your research topic, suitable for a broader audience.
Blood, Brains, Death, and Disease (2010-11)
Taken out of Context (2008-09)
Senior course description: Have you ever stopped to think about where you've been? What about where you're at? What brought you to Emory? What factors influenced your decisions and shaped you into who you are? Join us for a journey through current research and discoveries here on Emory's campus. Together, we will relate microscopic observations to macroscopic properties of materials, study complex processes of protein mediated diseases, investigate empathy in non-human primates, and examine diverse education and religious experiences. Our journey will span labs on Emory's campus, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and the broader Atlanta community. Learn the many ways that background, disposition, perspective, and location are all factors in human inquiry, experience, and integration of new knowledge. Often, "taken out of context" has a negative connotation, but we will take a step back and explore context as a necessary component in understanding our own identity and place in the world. As you emerge from one context and transition into a new one, you will gain the necessary skills to ask: What have you gotten out of your four years at Emory? Who are you and what are you going to do when you leave? How will you shape the context of future generations?
Who Cares? Perspectives in Chemistry: Proteins, Patients, Prisoners (2008-09)
Senior course description: Who cares about proteins, patients or prisoners? Maybe you do as much as we do! We cared enough to imagine a seminar that would explore the connections among these topics and how they relate to your health and your world. As a Senior, you are in the midst of making decisions that will guide and shape at least the next several years of your life. Every decision you make and action you perform will have an impact on yourself and your environment. In this class, we will explore the dynamic interdependent relationship between self and society. If you care enough to enroll, you will engage in discussions on how your education could be making you sick, watch the movement of proteins that keep you healthy, participate in hands-on experiments to see how cells interact, hear from women living in prison, enjoy aspects of self-discovery, and even experience altered states of mind. Now, would you dare to care?
Translating Life: Bridging the Languages of Science and Human Spirit (2007-08)
Senior course description: Scientific findings have dramatic impact on every aspect of our life, sometimes conflicting with cultural and religious believes. This course will train students how to conduct research in a breadth of scientific and humanistic fields. Scholars from Emory and Georgia Tech will use their own research discoveries and findings as templates to understanding the scientific method. Students enrolled in this class will observe primate behaviors in a semi-naturalistic environment, decode ancient Jewish and Muslim legends, learn what fetal kicking tells us about personality, manipulate single DNA molecules using state-of-the-art instrumentations and learn about mending broken hearts using stem cells. These research topics will be the starting point for open discussion about science and human spirit. Students moreover will participate in various out-of-the-classroom activities, including movie screenings, trips to various laboratories around campus and to the Yerkes National Primate Center. As a final project for the class, students will prepare an application for a federally funded research grant.
Method to the Madness (2007-08)
Senior course description: From Galileo to Dolly the Sheep, science has constantly developed new ideas that have challenged conventional thought, oftentimes driving society mad trying to reconcile these new ideas with existing ones. The driving force behind these discoveries has been the use of the scientific method, yielding compelling results that have reshaped science and society in remarkable ways. Researchers here at Emory are making new discoveries that will challenge our society both today and tomorrow. In this class we will examine the "method to the madness" of 5 current Emory researchers, exploring questions of:
- Can we convince cancer cells to act normal again?
- Could we one day tap into the inner workings of organisms and direct them to follow our commands just by simply adding a molecule?
- How could life emerge from dirt, air and water?
- Can an analysis of how fruitflies defend themselves from parasitic wasps provide insight into the viability of humans ingesting a "poison" as a preventive medicine?
- Can we learn what plants ancient Americans consumed and then determine their cultural practices and how we might also benefit from those plants and practices?
These recent discoveries present an array of multi-disciplinary research similar to what you may do when you venture beyond Emory. As you consider the possibilities, this course will give you a rare opportunity to stop and think about your own passions and questions that interest you. You will then develop new proposal writing skills that will allow you to capture your own ideas and prepare you to write research proposals throughout your career.
The Many Faces of Technology (2007)
Freshman course description: We live in an era of unprecedented technological advancement. New technologies, developed everyday, change the social, economic, political, and biological aspects of our lives in fundamental ways. These technological advancements allow us to ask and answer scientific questions, which were unimaginable to previous generations; they also create new problems and raise new scientific questions of their own. In this seminar Emory researchers from diverse scientific disciplines will share their discoveries and the scientific process leading to those advancements. From the microscopic level of DNA to economics on a global scale, these scientific discoveries exist at the intersection of science, technology and society. By taking part in class discussions, group projects, and experiments, you will learn how to use the tools of technology and science to ask and answer your own scientific questions.
You've Got Questions . . . You've Got Answers! (2006)
Freshman course description: This course is designed to teach students how scientists ask questions and seek answers about the world around them. Graduate students in Emory's science programs will use their own research as examples to help students learn to make the Scientific Method work to answer their own questions. The course will employ open discussions, readings, experimentation, and hands-on demonstrations to help students understand many of the basic aspects critical to successful research. For their final exam students will be asked to pose their own question and explain the experiments they might employ to answer it.
Where the Wild Things Are (2006)
Freshman course description: What questions do you hesitate to ask because they might be difficult or controversial to answer? Do we have a "sixth" sense? What shapes multiracial identity? Does your DNA make you act a certain way? What factors are contributing to the obesity epidemic? Can we use a laser to count molecules inside the cell?
In this interdisciplinary and ever expanding culture in which we live, your college career will certainly take many twists and turns. By teaming up with Emory researchers from diverse backgrounds, we will look at these questions from different vantage points, find answers, and help you formulate your own unique questions and solutions. Every week will contain new ways to answer questions: interactive discussions, hands-on projects, group activities, fun demonstrations. The only prerequisites are to be a good observer, an active participant, and to be curious and eager to use scientific tools to answer your own questions.
Small Questions, BIG ANSWERS (2005)
Freshman course description: This course examines the rationale behind studying scientific questions of interest to you. Where do your interests lie? Why is this important? What questions do you have? How do you address these questions? How do the answers to the questions you ask affect you or your community? In this seminar, each of the five instructors will cover active areas of research. In particular, this course is designed to teach the scientific method, look in depth at a few particular fields of scientific study, and enable students to become familiar with the rationale behind developing novel scientific ideas.
Choose Your Own Adventure (in Science!) (2004)
Freshman course description: This seminar course is divided into five modules, led by a graduate student or postdoc, which cover five distinct areas of current research here at Emory. The overarching goal of this seminar is to foster an appreciation for how scientific questions are asked, analyzed, and answered. In particular, we¿ll focus on:
- How do we ask questions about what interests us? (What's your question?!)
- How do we ask the "correct" question? (Do we want to want to narrow our focus, or widen it?)
- How do we investigate the question (What are the "best" tools to use to determine the answer to this question? Chemistry? Physics? Biology? A mixture of the three, or something completely new?)
- How do we draw valid conclusions? (OK, now we have the data, but do they mean anything? And once we have the answer, where do we go next?)
In addition, this seminar is designed to foster a learning environment, which will encourage and promote open discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. We also want to encourage "thinking outside of the box." Remember: almost all of the "boring" discoveries in our text books started out by someone willing to give a new idea a try, and they revolutionized how we think about our world today. We may not start a revolution with this class, but who knows . . .
Size DOES Matter (2004)
Freshman course description: This course examines the rationale behind studying scientific questions of interest to you. Where do your interests lie? Why is this important? What questions do you have? How do you ask these questions? In this seminar, each of the five instructors will cover active areas of research here at Emory, from BIG (organism) to small (molecular). Prerequisites: None!