U of S professors use The Walking Dead as teaching tool
Class teaches students to think outside of the box
Let's face it — some high school students could be easily confused with zombies, shambling aimlessly from class to class.
However, two professors at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Education had something different in mind when they designed their undergraduate class, Educational Administration... and Zombies.
Professors Paul Newton and Dave Burgess are using episodes of the popular zombie show The Walking Dead to explore how educational systems work.
"Neither of us were really into the zombie genre," Newton told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "We started talking out loud and thinking about what happens if those elements that usually cause resistance in educational change are removed. So, we started thinking about apocalyptic kinds of scenarios, and the zombie apocalypse was really sort of a thought experiment."
1st year available as undergraduate class
So far, the duo has taught the class at a graduate level, but this is the first year they've made the class available to undergraduates.
"There are lots of things that we can bounce questions off of when we watch episodes and we do character studies," he said. "We talk about what are the intergroup dynamics, and how are people wrestling for power, and how do they collaborate in the episodes. And we talk about what that looks like in their own experience as well."
Both professors stress this is a serious academic class. It just happens to feature hordes of face-chewing zombies as well.
"It's a way to deal with really significant educational theory and issues, but in a fun and engaging way," he said.
"If we talk about the theory of organization, it's very dry and hard for students to relate back to their experience. If we can take those concepts, and apply them to looking at something like The Walking Dead, that sort of comes alive for them."