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  • Writer's pictureMIKAYLA BOKIS

Lasell adds new courses

As of this semester, Lasell added four new courses to the course selection. Assistant Professor of Communications Kurt Wirth added a class called “Measuring the Message: Com Analytics.” This course aims to learn the basics of data science and analytics. 

Professor Wirth works with senior communications major Emma Saputo in COM336X. Photo courtesy of Pat Carbone

“That includes what shapes data takes, how to find and manipulate data, and how to interpret it and then communicate that interpretation,” said Wirth. “Along with real-life things like how to build and manage a budget document as well as how to know whether your marketing campaign worked are some of the things we cover.”

It took Wirth a little over a month to create this course since he uses data science in his everyday life and was able to incorporate resources from past classes he taught. “I can definitely tell they're learning a ton, which is exciting. I just hope it's a lot of fun, too,” said Wirth.

Many students and even professionals fear numbers and data in the communications world. “The truth is, being comfortable with data is such a crucial part of life, much less the field of communication, and there's a way to actually teach those skills that is fun and shows how awesome data can be,” said Wirth.

Looking into the future, Wirth is thinking about creating a course that focuses on working with Generative AI to teach students not to rely on it but also not to fear it.

Overall, Wirth believes this course is important for students who want to succeed in the communications world. “In any case, I think the skills we're learning are so, so important personally and professionally, and they'll without a doubt give students who take it a competitive edge in finding good jobs,” Wirth said. “I'm passionate about helping students, and I think this class is doing that.”

In addition to Com Analytics being added to the list of new courses, Professor of Humanities and Coordinator of the World Language Program Jose Guzman also introduced a new course called “Spanish in the Community.” The course seeks to teach students how to become avid instructors of the Spanish language. 

Professor Wirth opening up his COM336X class with a discussion. Photo courtesy of Pat Carbone

“This class is built upon in-class discussions centered around small readings,” said Guzman. “Students engage with their peers in class, discussing various teaching approaches and strategies essential for becoming proficient language instructors.”

After Guzman's students began tutoring Spanish at the Dual Language School in Waltham, the idea to expand the program to include teachers came about. He began collaborating with Assistant Superintendent of Education Sarah Kent to create a program called “Spanish for Educations.” 

“The primary focus of the program is on conversation, aiming to help educators become more comfortable communicating with families and learning about Hispanic cultures in the Waltham community,” said Guzman. “Each lesson plan is tailored to the needs of the students enrolled in the course. Since the fall of 2022, we have served more than 150 staff of the Waltham Public Schools.” Within this program, “Spanish in the Community” was added as a course to take.

The students are working hard to prepare the classes, create materials, and teach Spanish to the teachers at McDevitt Middle School in Waltham. Guzman said, “I don't have words to express my emotions seeing these young girls teaching a foreign language to a group of professionals.” In addition to those students, other students are creating lesson plans and activities to teach the kids at “The Barn.” “My students have shown a lot of enthusiasm with the opportunity to interact and to teach young kids,” Guzman said.

In the future, Guzman plans to create new courses and eventually propose the establishment of a double major in Spanish. This course has been popular in the community and has allowed the students to enhance their preparation for the future. “Witnessing the impact that language education can have on both the individual’s lives and broader communities fuels my passion for developing new initiatives within the field,” Guzman said.


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