Today's topic for college credit: Pokémon

Thursday, September 19, 2019
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Pokémon (Pokemon) charactersA researcher for a conservative education advocacy group argues that offering college credits on such topics as Pokémon, Marvel Comics characters, and Harry Potter devalues everything that a school offers.

The courses in question are part of UC-Berkeley's DeCal Program, which is a student-run aggregate of classes on topics "ranging from Taiwanese Language to Simpsons and Philosophy." A faculty member sponsors a student who runs the course as the "delegated instructor" for the faculty sponsor. At the end of the semester, the student facilitator then recommends a "pass/no pass" grade. Students can earn up to two credit hours per class toward their degree.

Dr. David Randall is director of research for the National Association of Scholars. He thinks such studies represent squandered time.

"When you have a course on Harry Potter or movies about Marvel comic books, this is clearly a complete waste of tuition credits, of institutional reputation," he states bluntly.

Campus Reform reports one of the courses is "Cal Pokémon Academy" – which covers the history of the franchise, to include marketing, popular media, as well as the games themselves. The course description adds "we will also discuss issues with the Pokéverse, then delve into the theoretical science behind your favorite creatures."

Other course titles include "The UC Marvel Cinematic Universe" and "UC Hogwarts: The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter."

Randall argues that by giving credit for such courses, Berkeley is creating a "moral hazard."

"When they say that something that is worthless gains credit, they're saying in effect everything they have is equivalently worthless," he explains. "So [by doing this] they have utterly degraded the value of a Berkeley education, which by me counts as a moral hazard."

UC-Berkeley reports that 3,000-4,000 students enroll in DeCal courses each semester.

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