Lesser known electives: all about American Film Studies

By Leah Ogden

Even though Arundel offers plenty of unique and interesting classes, students lose opportunity due to simply not having enough information about them; whether it’s a case of not knowing what can be expected from a course, or even not knowing that it exists at all. There are far too many classes that our students miss out on when they could be imperative for a specific career, a more preferred way to gain necessary credits, or just a fun way to fill their schedule.

A lot of people might also be shocked about the amount of these classes that count as honors credits—which can serve as a helpful boost to your GPA. Electives aren’t “necessary” classes, yet we have many students who are passionate about and dedicated to their interests and hobbies, which may explain the fact that these more personalized classes are being considered higher-level.

 This lack of course information also causes its own array of scheduling problems; students are either taking classes that end up disappointing them, which can contribute to the headache that surrounds adjusting schedules, or they end up overlooking classes that might be important to them and their future, which also tends to include the ones that won’t be able to run due to lack of students signing up for them. Even the counselors have reported uncertainty about what each class entails. These articles, written with a focus on the lesser known classes at Arundel, are meant to provide clarity on the subjects that will hopefully open up better opportunities for all students and teachers.


American Film Studies

Arundel actually offers a class that allows you to watch and study films for a grade, which is unique, especially in comparison to your general, core classes. While plenty of the current students are taking this solely because it’s fun and they enjoy watching movies, it’s worth noting that this experience could help you realize that you have an interest in the industry and the ways and reasons that films are made.

   The format of the class should be familiar; it’s similar to normal English classes in the ways that you get to research, develop arguments, and write essays. However, the content focuses on the historic and artistic value of film; the curriculum moves through studying things like film production and related careers, genres and their purposes, and visual aspects, such as design and cinematography. The students will learn how to apply their gained knowledge of these topics and the purposeful details of film to their very own film reviews, giving them an opportunity to showcase their refined opinions.

   The class could be valuable because it helps those who attend it view film as something more than just entertainment, and it helps them appreciate it artistically and develop their own preferences and judgments. It’s also more time set aside to polish useful skills, such as researching, reading, presenting and writing. However, “a lot of the students tell [Dr. Depriest that] these types of activities are “more fun” when they are focusing on a movie, rather than on a book.”  Dr. Depriest, the current teacher of the class, hopes that “[her students] come out of it being able to talk thoughtfully about the stories films tell, and the ways films tell stories, especially how they use visual storytelling.”

When you’ve heard about this course, you’ve probably wondered: do they do watch movies during class? The answer is yes; they watch movies that relate to specific topics they’ve studied and contribute to the student’s understanding of them. If students are particularly interested in these subjects and their examples, Dr. Depriest helpfully offers her assistance with “further resources to access outside of class if they want to know more about any of the units [they] cover.”