Every year, I challenge myself to learn one new skill — to shake up and find new ways of looking at familiar things. The mind is a muscle and requires the same amount of training and exercise as some of us put in keeping their bodies fit. Here’s a line-up of fall classes at New York University which I will be considering. Which one should I take?
1. Urban Innovation
October 3—24 (Mondays, 4—6)
When cities grow, they should become more delightful, not less. Whether it’s comfortable street seating, fast wi-fi, or more resilient and seamless sidewalk material — each city detail builds up the quality of life. In this online course taught by city development specialist Joanna Harries (VP at Endeavor Global) you’ll learn how to build on an idea of improving urban space, and how to build sustainable business out of it.
2. Creative Nonfiction Writing
October 5—December 21 (Wednesdays, 7—9)
Most people have bright ideas, but very often getting those ideas out on a piece of paper or a blog post is torture. In this course, you’ll explore the process of writing nonfiction with clarity and precision as well as with a poet’s eye. Along the way, you’ll learn how to improve your tone, style, and point of view through weekly writing assignments and by reading some of the masters of the field. Instructor, Carol Bergman is a writer and journalist. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Times, Salon magazine, and numerous other publications.
3. Create Your Own Podcast
November 2—December 7 (Wednesdays, 7—9)
Learn how to develop engaging stories, record a podcast, and edit it for sound and flow. Using Audacity tools, learn to import, capture, clean, and export audio files. You’ll also learn how to sharpen your interviewing, questioning, and storytelling skills. Instructor, Kimberly Edmunds is an adjunct instructor at the School of Professional Studies.
4. The Cinema and the City
September 29—November 17 (Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 1)
Fuel your cinematic curiosity through the study of iconic films that have captured the city. Some highlights on the lab table include Kieślowski’s The Decalogue and De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief. Explore themes, plot, production techniques, and the overlap between the rise of filmmaking and the rise of urban environments. Instructor, Alessandra Seggi is an adjunct instructor at the School of Professional Studies.
5. Introduction to Magazine Publishing
October 11—December 6 (Tuesdays, 7—9)
Learn step by step how a magazine works as a complete editorial and business enterprise, and examine the increasingly important role of digital media. You’ll pick up the essentials of production, audience reach and retention, advertising, marketing, financial management, and editorial design. Instructor, Ruth Feldman is VP of brand development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Guest speakers from major magazine publishing companies will provide a behind-the-scenes take on the internal workings of the business.
6. Designing Infographics
September 21—November 30 (Wednesdays, 6:30—9:30)
This practical online course teaches the fundamentals of information design and how to use graphs, charts, and maps to communicate more efficiently. Bridging data and storytelling, designers and storytellers will learn where and how to gather data, identify the story points, and use digital design tools to create infographics. Instructor, Danielle Jett is data experience design specialist at Nasdaq.