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At the end of each semester, University of Michigan students are asked to submit evaluations for the courses they have taken in that term. One of the most important metrics for introductory-level courses is how much interest they generate in the field. Rankings are based on the percentage of students who answered some form of “yes” when asked, “Did this course increase interest in the field?” The top results for introductory classes are listed below:

ASIANLAN 125: First Year Japanese I (94 percent)

Ranked highest on the list, First Year Japanese I is designed for students with no prior Japanese knowledge and focuses on the fundamentals of learning a new language. According to Mayumi Oka, director of the Japanese language program, this first-year course stresses several key skills of the language.

“We do reading, writing, speaking and listening,” Oka said. “We teach everything like conversation and how to write characters, and we introduce Japanese culture. Culture is very important.”

The class focuses on an understanding of Japanese culture as well. According to Kinesiology freshman Xincheng Yuan, the class generates interest by appealing to the U.S. interest in different facets of Japanese culture.

“I think Japanese culture is popular in America with anime and manga and those games,” Yuan said. “I think many people are trying to learn about these in Japanese to better play the things that they like.”

LHSP 125: College Writing (88 percent)

With various sections of this course including “Writing and Seeing,” “Writing Genres,” “Monsters and Beasts” and more, this course in the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program offers several unique lenses while also providing a base of writing skills. According to Shelley Mannis, professor of “Our TV, Our Selves: The Rhetoric of Television,” the various sections allow students to use writing to analyze the world around them.

“A big part of this course, too, is helping students learn how to find real conversations happening in the world around things that they’re interested in,” Mannis wrote in an email to The Daily. “In this case TV, maybe particular series, maybe particular representations, etc., so that writing becomes a way of discovering and joining conversations in meaningful ways, not just some practice of spitting out what they think a professor wants to hear.”

LSA sophomore Bhoomika Gupta said in her course, focusing on photography and writing, the differences between it and previous courses allow for an increased interest in the field.

“I think it provides a different lens to writing,” Gupta said. “Everyone in high school and middle school, we write the same, but with this, you get to see writing in a different way and you also get to explore an art form a lot of people haven’t worked with in high school.”

DANCE 100: Introduction to Dance (87 percent)

With 15 different sections this past semester, the Introduction to Dance course provides lessons on the technical and creative aspects of a variety of genres in dance. Though many sections were available last semester, each term offers a new variety of genres, decided on by current Graduate Student Instructors in the department, according to Katie Gunning, administrative assistant in the Department of Dance.

“The Intro to Dance classes change each semester and are based off of our graduate students and what they want to offer,” Gunning said. “We always have intro-level modern and ballet classes available, but all the time we’re getting new intro-level classes and it’s because of the graduate student cohort that we have and what they are interested in and want to bring to the department.”

LSA freshman Alex Beaty said the unique style of her Introduction to Dance class gives her a break from her academic schedule.

“I think it’s interesting because a lot of people in the class don’t have a dance background and it’s an experience getting to be in a dance class where it’s not super serious and not super rigorous in any way,” Beaty said. “You’re all just doing it for fun and it’s like a break from normal classes.”

ARTDES 125: Studio: 2D (82 percent)

This course allows for an elementary understanding of art and design for artists working in 2-D. The course also focuses on the study of visual perception with an understanding of the processes of visual communication.

SPANISH 101: Elementary Spanish (82 percent)

This elementary course offers an introduction to the Spanish language. In using listening, speaking, reading and writing, students gather a basic understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

EARTH 113: Planets and Moons (82 percent)

This course focuses on the geology of the solar system as well as exploring the advances in space exploration over the past decade. The course also looks at the development of thoughts and attitudes on the geology of our solar system.

BIOLOGY 101: Energy, Food, & the Environment (81 percent)

This course focuses on the issue of energy, food and the environment and its implications on the well-being of the Earth. The course takes a biological and sociopolitical view to study current and historical issues regarding the state of our energy and food systems.

PSYCH 111: Introduction to Psychology (80 percent)

This course offers a basic understanding and theory of human behavior as an introduction to the field of psychology. Students in the course study different mental processes as well as history and theory in the field.

COMPLIT 100: Global X (80 percent)

This course focuses on the world impact of zombies in literature, graphic novels, movies and video games and how they can be applied to political theory and debates in public policies. Students focus on the implications of race, disease, power and more in this comparative literature course.

EECS 183: Elementary Programming Concepts (79 percent)

This course focuses on the basics of programming language. Students focus on various concepts such as flow of control, data structures and various algorithms as an introduction to computer science and programming.

ASTRO 127: Naked Eye Astronomy (79 percent)

This course focuses on the basics of the study of astronomy. Students analyze the sun, the moon. Stars, meteors and more while focusing on how these can be observed and their implication on the Earth.

ASTRO 107: The Dark Side of the Universe (79 percent)

This astronomy class offers a basis for aspects of the universe that cannot be seen. Studies include that of black holes, dark matter and dark energy. The course focuses on how these are studied and measured from Earth.

SOC 102: Intro to Sociology: Special Topics (78 percent)

This course allows for an elementary study of sociology through various subjects that encompass real-world issues in the field. Students study various topics such as wealth and poverty as well as urban inequality and the implications of these issues.

SPACE 101: Rocket Science (78 percent)

This course allows students to study the science of space and its exploration. These studies include a history of the exploration of space as well as the math and theory of how these processes were made possible.


Introductory classes on the other end of the spectrum, wherein students expresses courses did not significantly increase their interest in the subject, mostly comprise general STEM classes. These courses include Physics 136, Math 115, Chem 125 or General Chemistry and Introduction to Research, or ALA 104. 

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