Micro and Pop-Up Courses

Micro-courses are developed around emerging topics and research. We conceive of the weekend as a module. With five or six speaker sessions, each weekend module provides ample opportunity to illustrate differences in disciplinary approaches to a central issue. The micro-course structure helps address two emerging aims for general education at universities:
  1. Empowering students to engage in complex problem-solving 
  2. Engaging with interdisciplinary perspectives

The multi-disciplinary approach to the course content is leveraged as a space where inter-cultural and global learning occurs by emphasizing perspective-taking, encouraging open mindedness, and promoting cultural awareness

Micro-courses attract students across majors and colleges at our respective universities, which allows students who may not interact with one another or hear from other disciplines the opportunity to do so. The lower number of credits/units and the weekend schedule provides students the flexibility to enroll with minimal disruption to increasingly packed schedules.


Current Micro-Course Series:

Technology, Humanity, and Social Justice 

As humans rely more and more on electronic devices to support their everyday activities, there are ever present warnings about the impacts such reliance has on human autonomy ranging from who owns and controls information networks, the inequitable impact of technology consumption on peoples and places, varying accessibility of technology around the globe, and the promises and limitations of technology in improving human health. By engaging in technology as a lens, this sequence of weekend micro-courses encourages students to examine technology as a system disproportionately impacting humanity by enabling and constraining human rights of groups of people around the globe. With a multi-disciplinary focus, the course invites researchers and practitioners from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and relevant fields more broadly. 

In this four-part weekend micro-course (spanning four semesters), we will examine the power of technology on humanity and its implications on social justice in four areas: governance, environment, education, and health. Please note that students do not need to complete all four parts and are welcome to participate in any and all micro-course offerings. This course requires a permission number that will be provided by contacting the instructor, Veronica Dristas, at dristas@pitt.edu.
Education: In Spring 2023, the focus will be on the impact technology has on the future of schooling and work. This will include a discussion as to how technology can improve the efficiency and safety of the workforce through automation while also creating further divides between those who have educational access and those who do not. The effects of technology on education and the common language of the world, including how it impacts native languages and cultures, will also be discussed.