Students are birding during their May Term course that involves exploring wildlife and camping in the Smoky Mountains.

By Roanoke College News

Camping, ocean swimming, playing blackjack - for class? It's May Term at Roanoke

For several weeks this month, some Roanoke College students are hiking, swimming at Cape Hatteras, learning how to win roulette, camping at a music festival and more.

These experiences are part of the College's May Term Intensive Learning courses, which began in mid-May and include field trips and on-campus activities through June 3.

Roanoke students are not only staying on campus this May Term. Some are traveling to 12 different countries, from the United Kingdom to Belize.

Below are some highlights of this year's campus and short trip courses:

Differ-abilities: Considering the Experiences of the "Disabled"

Students are learning what life is like for those who live with disabilities in this class led by Professor Frances Bosch. Through one of the class' projects, Toy Like Me, students are reconfiguring dolls and other toys to have physical challenges that represent disabilities, such as adding feeding tubes, cochlear implants and casts. The toys will be given to children who have the same disabilities.

The Mathematics of Gambling and Games

The gaming industry relies on mathematics to drive profits and avoid loses. In this course taught by Dr. Adam Childers, students learn the basic winning strategies for roulette, blackjack and various forms of poker.

Bluegrass and Old-Time Music in Southwestern Virginia

Students in this course, led by Dr. Gordon Marsh and Dr. Hannah Robbins, are exploring music culture by examining old-time and bluegrass music, while also camping at a music festival.

Exploring the Biological Diversity of the Southern Appalachians

Roanoke students are keeping field notebooks and identifying trees, forest wildflowers, birds and other wildlife in the region through this course led by Dr. Rachel Collins. The class also is spending six days camping in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in Tennessee.

Health and Happiness

The class, led by Dr. Michael Maina, examines happiness and its impact on wellness. Students are spending this week in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, for ocean-based activities and exploring the nature of happiness and its influence on health.

Politics in Art

Politics and art are intertwined, and students are exploring both through discussion of films, books and a trip to Washington D.C., where they will visit well known sites and museums and learn about the architecture of major buildings, monuments, and the design of the city itself. The course is led by Dr. Marit Berntson.

American Political Parties

U.S. politics comes to life for students taking this course. The class, led by Dr. Bryan Parsons, is divided into three parties - Republican, Democrat, and a yet-to-be-named third party. Students are taking day trips to Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, to meet with party leaders and debate the State of the Parties in politics today.

Adventure into Nature

This course, taught by Dr. Steve Powers, offers extensive insight into the geology, plants and animals of the southern Appalachians and their interactions with each other and human inhabitants. Several backpacking trips in Virginia and West Virginia are part of the class.