6 of the most useless online college classes

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College would be great if it wasn’t for all the classes. Thankfully the Internet has made it easier for students to avoid having to get up at dawn and endure a raging hangover to listen to an 80-year-old man in a tweed suit drone on about European socialism. Some courses offer students the opportunity to listen to lectures, finish assignments and even take final exams from the comfort of their personal computer through online college classes. Of course, if the course material you’re studying doesn’t applying to anything useful in the world, you’re better off getting stoned and breaking the world record for corn chip consumption.

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6 The Amazing World of Bubbles

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Bubbles, by their very nature, don’t have many real world uses. They making for lousy building materials. They are horrible modes of transportation. About the only good use they have in the modern world is alerting us to unwanted farts in bathtubs and swimming pools.

That didn’t stop Caltech University from offering their students the chance to study these fragile pockets of floating soap and air with a professor of mechanical engineering. Here, you’ll learn how “bubbles manifest a range of physical effects through their ability to gather, focus and radiate energy.” So does that mean we’ll be able to solve the gas crisis by driving cars that run on bubbles? Will we be able to go the moon on a bubble-powered spaceship? Can we score that all important “rebound” following our divorce in a supercharged, fully loaded, bimbo attracting “bubble” car? (Only if we don’t have to refer to it as a “bubble car.”)

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5 Witchcraft

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A lot of atheists love to knock religion and the study of theology as a wasted effort on a philosophy based on superstition, backwards thinking and out of touch with reality. Here is a theology course that sinks to a level lower than even the major religions ever could.

The Web site, witchology.com, offers several online classes in their field of magic that could only be slightly profitable now that Harry Potter has become a major box office draw. These classes offer a comprehensive history of witchcraft from its early days as a pagan ritual, to its modern uses as a form of escapism for awkward teenagers and grown adults who didn’t have proper parental supervision, and finally to its uses in modern society (which ironically is the shortest part of the course).

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4 The Moral Foundation of Politics

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WARNING: If you have already failed to notice the irony in the title of this section, feel free to ignore this example entirely. It will most likely contain references to people and policies that you believe will save the world if it wasn’t for those mouth-breathing, blockheaded, baby eating morons on the opposite side of the political spectrum. And not only will the irony be lost on you, but it might actually convince you that your way of thinking is misguided and you won’t be able to unring that bell, will you?

Believe it or not, there was a time when politics and moral diplomacy actually existed under the same roof as brother and sister instead of unemployed brother-in-law and coked-up whore sister. Yale is hoping they can turn the clock back on our political discourse with this free online class that attempts to use history, major political theories, and sound reasoning to show the foundation that was laid for modern politics, hopefully without the urge to laugh square in the professor’s face.

Photo credit: Capitol image by Christopher Parypa/Shutterstock

3 Sports Media and Culture: Who’s Calling the Shots?

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If your son or daughter wants to obtain a degree in sports journalism, a field more hated than Satan-worshipping tax accountant, take heart that there is a course that will show them just how futile such a life can become.

This course from the Open University helps future radio talk show screamers and catch-phrase spewing simpletons learn about the affect that the media can have on the sports world, which is none, and explains why it’s only a five-hour course. Sure, the pervasiveness of the media can take its toll on the players and even the fans, but believing that a sportswriter actually has any bearing on the outcome of a game is like believing that dentists have the power to convince their patients that they should start flossing.

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2 Physics for Future Presidents

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If you’re planning on become a future U.S. President, you better be prepared because your schedule will be quite full. You’ll have to be able to tolerate screaming babies and the billions of germs that are spread simply by kissing them. You’ll have to control your emotions in order to have reasonable conversations with segments of America who actually believe you’re a secret Nazi sent to destroy American democracy from inside the system by asking them to eat more carrots.

And most of all, you’ll have to understand how the real world works so Congress can immediately vote against any legislation you support for being too “intellectual” and “smart.” This online college class from UC Berkeley aims to give that future leader of the free world the basic knowledge they need in the complicated world of physics and how they can be applied to current events, which means the faculty will have to confirm your fate of becoming president before you can sign up for the class. Be prepared to mail a urine sample.

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1 Sanskrit

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If your college major is the butt of a joke from Jeremy Piven in the college comedy PCU, you can already bet that the job market for you will look fairly bleak.

That didn’t stop the Indian Institute of Technology Madras from setting up online college classes to study a language that is less popular than a Furbee Flowbee. The course consists of 12 lessons to “provide enough details for the student to understand the basic grammar of Sanskrit and sentence formation rules” as well as the opportunity to “interact with the Samskritapriyah group either to seek clarifications on the lessons or to address other issues relating to Sanskrit.” Here’s an issue they might have trouble answering: how is knowing Sanskrit useful to anyone who didn’t live in ancient Egypt more than 4,000 years ago?

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<br/(Previously published on September 18, 2011.)