At the 2014 SkillHack Georgetown hackathon last weekend, a one-credit finance course, “Fresh Finance,” was proposed to correct a perceived lack of basic money management skills among students. The course proposal is practical and highlights an aspect of Georgetown education that is lacking: learning for learning’s sake.
Most classes at Georgetown teach critical thinking and analysis rather than rote memorization, as they should. However, in some cases, a cursory overview of an unfamiliar subject or practical skill can prove useful to students who may not be able to devote the time and effort required to perform well in a three-credit class.
The one-credit course, “Map of the Modern World,” required for students in the School of Foreign Service, is an example of a class that takes advantage of a less intensive format to create a foundation of knowledge that will come in handy for future courses and careers. Yet, for a school whose students boast far-reaching curiosities besides the capitals of the world, Georgetown’s one-credit options are limited. Currently, students can receive one credit on a pass-fail basis for working in various department of performing arts programs and some school-specific courses like “Computational Business Modeling” in the McDonough School of Business.
Georgetown would do well to offer more vocational and informational courses to undergraduates. While students should understandably focus their academic attention on full-fledged courses, undergraduates would benefit from learning about practical subjects like financial literacy, public speaking, graphic design or sustainable living. Without affecting students’ GPAs, one-credit courses would teach valuable skills for their personal and academic benefit.