Staff Picks: Fun & Painless Gen Eds
With spring scheduling in full swing, class selection stress is more prominent than ever. With a less-than-user-friendly operating system, a dizzying amount of courses offered, and a competitive enrollment system that rivals that of Penn State student football tickets, the required gen eds are yet another hurdle in educational planning.
Gen eds can make or break your GPA with unfamiliar subject matter and mediocre instruction. The last thing you’d want is to spend sleepless nights focused on a required class in a subject that you’ll never revisit.
Fortunately, our staffers compiled a list of their favorite gen eds. Whether they’re a genuinely interesting topic or an easy A, we’ve got you covered.
Erin Conaway: LDT 100 — World Technologies & Learning
LDT 100 has been one of the simplest and most straightforward classes I’ve taken at Penn State. It’s offered as an online class, which is what I did, and there’s a hybrid option, too.
This course focuses on how access to different educational technologies and environments can impact the effectiveness with which students learn.
The correlating assignments are based on brief readings and videos that are typically followed by a discussion board. There are four unit projects discussing what you’ve learned, how it’s applicable to your life, and what you would change. I recommend taking this class to anyone in need of an IL or GS course.
Fernando Martinez: BISC 3 — Environmental Science
This gen ed is so easy. It’s an environmental science class that feels like free therapy. There are no quizzes and tests in this class. There’s even a field trip to Shaver’s Creek near the end of the semester. All you need to do is turn in well-reflected and thoughtful journal entries every week during labs and easy Packback reflections that are due on Sunday nights.
The lectures can be boring and weird at times, but this class makes you feel closer to nature. It makes you learn about your place in nature and more about yourself. If you’re willing to put effort into the journals and Packback reflections, this class will be an easy A on your transcript.
Marie Moyer: KINES 84 — Fitness For Life
I’m currently taking KINES 84 with Jonna Belanger, and her classes are genuinely interesting as there’s a mix of low-intensity in-class workouts, video reflections, and outdoor lectures (when the weather is warm). Belanger also gives off days according to public school schedules, meaning more days off.
The outside-of-class work isn’t bad either. There’s typically an open-note quiz every week on informational Canvas pages. The Canvas pages can be wordy, but I recommend reading them before the quiz so you know where the information is. You don’t even really have to copy notes for it.
There is also an “I would say,” around a biweekly goals form that you have to fill out on the weekend. At the start of class, you set a goal and routinely meet with a group that has similar goals to talk about your progress. The document itself is short and easy, and you don’t get punished for not completing your goal. The class is very easygoing and provides a welcome environment to consider becoming healthier and developing better habits.
Cooper Cazares: RPTM 120 — Leisure & Human Behavior
This class is the definition of the overused term “free A.” The class basically talks about the importance of relaxing and finding breaks from the everyday stresses of daily life. The class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, though Fridays are designated purely for “leisure.”
There are no quizzes or tests and the assignments are easy. Although I go to every class, I could skip every day of the semester and comfortably finish with an A. If you need a GPA boost, I suggest RPTM 120.
Collin Ward: EGEE 101 — Energy & The Environment
The class is on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and is only 50 minutes long. All of the midterms, as well as the final, are taken online and do not require going to the Pollock Testing Center. On top of that, the assignments and homework that are assigned have unlimited attempts, so you’re almost guaranteed 100%.
Vik Raj: LDT 100 — World Technologies & Learning
If you’re looking for an easy class to fill your International Cultures requirement, then LDT 100 is the way to go. When I tell you this is the holy grail of Penn State gen eds, I am not kidding.
Firstly, you only meet ONE day a week. For me, that day is Tuesday for an hour and a half. The second day is asynchronous and you just watch or read a few videos or articles to prepare for class next week.
My favorite part about the class is that all grades are graded pass/fail, so as long as you complete the assignments in a satisfactory manner, you can pass the class with an easy 100. Maybe that’s why it’s called LDT 100.
Sophia Monteforte: EARTH 101 — Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs. Reality
A gen ed I enjoy is Earth 101. Attendance isn’t mandatory and is accounted for by the in-class assignment. If you miss class, you can go to office hours anytime throughout the semester and make the work up with no late penalties. There’s no exam and only two major projects, so the in-class assignments are a big part of the grade, but they’re not too hard and the instructors help out a lot.
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About the Author
Inspired by a truly awful cut three years ago, Shaun Flaherty started cutting hair to fix some questionable cuts from the barbers in upstate New York.
“I couldn’t really think of any other place to do it because everyone is the happiest there.”
Penn State fell to under .500 for the first time this season.