With another semester coming to a close and registration underway, students will undoubtedly be asked by countless peers which classes were their favorites and which made them fall asleep the minute they sat down.

Beth Dykstra
LSA freshman Doug Hurt falls asleep in Statistics 350. (Tommaso Gomez/Daily)

One class at the University, English 225: Argumentative Writing, which combines creativity, free expression and a comfortable atmosphere, will undoubtedly be passed through the lips of knowing students. English 225 instructors and students alike agree that what makes argumentative writing so interesting is that the material is all personal.

Because there are many different sections to the course, students are able to write and argue what they care about, whether it be sex, Supreme Court decisions or gay marriage. Additionally, the diverse group of students attracted to this class is a plus.

“English 225 draws the most diverse student body in every respect — from their age to their major — which makes it a truly dynamic classroom,” said English 225 instructor Peggy Adler, who has been leading the class for the past five years.

While the course is required for some majors — such as sports management and business — students from English, theater and other humanity majors are also drawn to the class.

“Through research and writing, my student’s understanding of what they care about deepens, which keeps things interesting for all of us,” Adler added.

Students who have taken English 225 in past semesters appear to have nothing but positive feedback on the class and its instructors.

“Aric Knuth, my teacher for 225, has a fascinating way of letting people know how they are doing at accomplishing the task at hand,” said LSA junior Lindsey Mossman. “His inspiration could be seen in all students’ papers, and he helped our class to be more creative with our topic choices and specific arguments we made.”

Instructors each have a different style of keeping students interested throughout the semester in the course.

“I assign a wide variety of readings from newspapers, nonfiction books and magazines and also discuss very current and controversial topics such as No Child Left Behind, Affirmative Action or the Middle East conflict,” said two-year English 225 instructor Sharon Pomerantz.

“(English 225) was probably voted the best class because of the flexibility in assignments and room for creative expression. I’ve taken a couple of classes that I like just as much as I like English 225,” LSA junior Shauna Waino said.

 

Worst class

Although some students enjoy courses based on theories and set numbers, many find Statistics 350 and its topic tedious and simply take it to fulfill the Literature, Science and the Arts quantitative reasoning requirement or as a requirement for their majors.

While the course may not be very popular, Prof. Brenda Gunderson has been given high ratings for this class (an average of 4.16 out of 5, based on The University of Michigan Office of Evaluations and Examinations Teaching Questionnaire from fall 2004).

And of course, like any knowledgeable statistician, Gunderson has acknowledged that every survey has its faults. And while Statistics 350 may have received the vote for worst class according to Daily staffers, this might not be the true feelings of the University community.

However, some students do agree with the result.

“Stats 350 is all busy work and very time-consuming — not only in class time, but also time spent doing the weekly homework assignment,” Waino said.

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