CLARKSVILLE, TN – A small group from Austin Peay State University honors students for having more than just final exams to worry about for this semester. On Tuesdays and Thursdays this fall, freshmen also battle giants, dragons, and one or two Spirit Flayers as part of the APSU Honors Program’s new Writing and Cultural History course. , “Fighting Dragons”.
“I’m now taking a course that replaces my English 1020, and it’s about Dungeons and Dragons and the relationship between interdisciplinary thinking and it’s so much fun,” said Jade Mays, a first-year honors student. “For some of my homework, I had to play a Dungeons and Dragons session, and I’m going to have to write a session report and analyze how it made me think, how it made me feel. This is so cool.”
Darren Michael, a theater and dance teacher, developed Honors 1045: Foundations of Interdisciplinary Thinking, as a way to deliver a stimulating writing course that provides students with both creative and analytical tasks. And with the 47-year-old game featured on the hit Netflix show, “Stranger Things,” and a new Paramount Pictures film coming in 2023, the class is also examining the game’s enduring cultural impact.
“I remember playing my first role-playing game in the early 80s – Dungeons & Dragons,” said Michael. “At the same time, I was reading a lot of fantastic novels – obviously Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was at the top of this list. From that point on, I got addicted to the fantasy genre.
“Over the past two decades, with a resurgence of geek culture – comics, video games, etc. – role-playing games of all types are found everywhere. Their influence, from tables to computer games to movies, has permeated every part of our society. ”
The course is only open to honorary APSU students, but it offers many of them the opportunity to think beyond their fields of study.
“I’m an engineering student, but I’m taking a D&D course,” said Josh Rye, freshman with honors. “It’s a great class. You meet new people. It allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and talk about the real issues that are happening. “
The Honors program also offers other Foundations of Interdisciplinary Thinking courses this semester, including Book History and Film Science.
For more information on Austin Peay’s Honor Program, visit www.apsu.edu/honors.