Several new, unique classes offered during summer session, fall semester

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Classes in technology, publishing, history and political science make up some of the new and unique course offerings planned for the 2020 summer session and fall semester at Missouri State University-West Plains.

All summer session classes, which begin June 8, will be offered online. Fall semester classes, which begin Aug. 17, will be offered in online, blended and modified seated formats.

Summer session

Two offerings during the summer session will prepare students for taking Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams in Word and Excel software.

Microsoft Office Word 1 (CIS 110) is a one-credit-hour class which introduces students to the Word software program and its functions.

Microsoft Office Excel 1 (CIS 112) is a one-credit-hour class that introduces students to the Excel software program and its functions.

Fall semester

Area residents can learn more about computers and programming in the new World of Computer Science (CSC 130) class. This three-credit-hour online course gives a broad overview of computer sciences.

Topics range from the basic structure of a computer to artificial intelligence, according to Jim Hart, assistant professor of technology and computer information systems/computer graphics and programming.

“Students will use a high-level language (Python) to investigate and implement solutions to problems in a range of fields,” he said.

The course would be a good class for non-majors to learn more about computer science, he added.

Professional Editing and Publishing (ENG 184) is a three-credit-hour hybrid internship course that will provide two students knowledge and practical experience in the field of literary publication.

“In addition to assigned readings and exercises, the students will participate directly in the editing and publishing process by serving as editors of two journals, Cave Region Review and Elder Mountain, and by serving as editors of two books to be published by an independent book publisher, Cornerpost Press,” according to Professor of English Dr. Phillip Howerton.

Although not new, Writing for the Professions (ENG 221) will be offered for the first time online this summer and fall, Howerton said. This three-credit-hour class will give students the opportunity to practice a variety of writing situations encountered by professionals, including correspondence, proposals, documented research reports, abstracts, definitions, and product and process descriptions.

An emphasis will be placed on developing skills in audience analysis, analytical reading, critical thinking, research methods, and clear writing.

Additional course work will be required for students taking the class as a part of the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program, Howerton said.

History buffs may be interested in taking World History to 1600 (HST 103). This three-credit-hour class taught by Assistant Professor of History Dr. Jason McCollom is set for 9:30 to 10:50 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Students will investigate a variety of historical eras and themes from prehistory to 1600 and analyze visual and written historical source material, McCollom said.

“We will explore history before writing, the Axial Age of great world religions, trade and commerce, freedom and slavery, and the lives of everyday people, as well as imperial elites from Persia and Rome, from China to the Mongols, and more, all across thousands of years up to the 17th century,” McCollom said.

Students also will read a graphic novel, Perpetua’s Journey, about a Christian martyr in imperial Rome, he added.

If politics and governments pique your interest, you may want to consider Countries and Cultures: Comparative Government (PLS 205). This three-credit-hour class set for 2 to 3:20 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays is taught by Professor of Political Science Dr. Kathy Morrison. It offers an introductory comparative study of the principles, techniques and policy issues of government in constitutional democracies and authoritarian regimes.

The course focuses on selected West European (Britain, France, Germany) and non-West European (Japan, Mexico, Russia and Iran) countries and the evolution of the European Community.

“This is a class that learns about countries from the inside out,” Morrison said.

For example, she said, students will hear a guest presenter speak about China and the “One Road One Bridge” initiative by which Chinese officials are spreading influence and control throughout the trade routes of the world, both water and land.

Some students may want to consider taking this class as a capstone course, in which it will appear as Introduction to Comparative Government: Topics in Globalization (IDS 297) in the course schedule, she added.

In the technology realm, Introduction to Industry 4.0 (TEC 132) is new to the fall schedule this year. This three-credit-hour class offered online or through blended and modified seated options will introduce students to the concepts and applications of Industry 4.0, Hart said.

It will include exploring the Internet of Things and the networking of industrial equipment and systems through a globally connected industrial network. Students will follow the evolution of data, artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual ecosystems that provide industry with the tools for rapid prototyping, Hart said.

The course is part of the university’s National Science Foundation project Worker 4.0: Preparing Students for Today’s Technician Careers. A certification exam through the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) is part of the course, Hart said.

Students must have successfully completed Survey of Electronics (TEC 100) or be taking the class concurrently to enroll in Introduction to Industry, he added.

Also part of the NSF project, Survey of Electronics is a three-credit-hour class that provides an overview of electronics, including electrical and electronic safety, Ohms Law, passive and active devices, amplifiers, digital fundamentals and communications systems.

As with Introduction to Industry, the class will be offered online or through blended and modified seated options. An NC3 certification exam also is part of the course, Hart said.

There are prerequisites, so those interested should check the course catalog.

Honors program

Although not new, the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program offers a unique opportunity for students of high academic and/or artistic potential to challenge themselves on their educational journey.

“The honors program seeks to create a collegial environment that nurtures and empowers students of high academic and/or artistic potential to become educated persons,” Honors Program Director Alex Pinnon said.

Those who are admitted to the program begin that journey with the Honors I Seminar (HNR 150), a three-credit-hour class set for 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays this fall.

In this course, students will study some of the world’s “great ideas,” with a primary focus on how these ideas help answer the questions of what it means to be an educated person, what is justice, and how to create individual purpose.

“We will study the works of Plato, Coates, King and Freud, as well as anarchism, Marxism and Jeffersonian Democracy,” Pinnon said.

Central components of the course will introduce students to the seminar class setting, Socratic method of learning, use of written and oral communication to aid in learning, critical thinking and analysis, and group activity learning.

“This is a reading, writing and discussion intensive course,” he stressed.

For a complete look at the 2020 summer session/fall semester schedule, visit

For more information about admissions and registration procedures, call the admissions office at 417-255-7955, toll free at 1-888-466-7897, or visit the university’s website,

Summer session classes begin June 8. Fall semester classes start Aug. 17.

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