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Join us at Laurier

Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Courses generally run two hours per week for six consecutive weeks and are offered in morning or afternoon sessions. LALL offers courses three times a year:

  • Spring semester: usually runs the second week of April through the third week of May.
  • Fall semester: usually runs the second week of October through the third week of November.
  • Winter semester: usually runs the first week of February through the middle of March.

Note: Your instructor may recommend additional items for purchases (e.g. books). These are only recommendations and are not mandatory for participation in the course.

Waterloo Course Offerings for Fall 2017

Gilgamesh and the Origins of Literature

  • Dates: Mondays, from Oct. 16 to Nov. 20.
  • Location: R270, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 9:30 to 11:20 a.m.

This course examines the structure and nature of stories with reference to the oldest written narrative, The Epic of Gilgamesh. A Mesopotamian poem dating from 2100 BC, the Epic of Gilgamesh stands at the beginning of written literary tradition as the oldest recorded narrative. It consists of stories, myths, and folk motifs which recur not only in the literature of the past but also in of the novels, poetry, and plays of our contemporary world. We will first read Gilgamesh and then examine its motifs, plots, and characters as an entry into the shapes and substances of our own literature. Reading materials will be online.


Jim Weldon retired in 2014 from the Department of English and Film Studies at Laurier after a thirty year teaching career. He also served as the co-ordinator of Laurier’s Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies programs and was the president of the Canadian Society of Medievalists.

Living Next Door to Uncle Sam: The Challenges of Being America’s Neighbour from Confederation to the Trump Presidency

  • Dates: Mondays, from Oct. 16 to Nov. 20.
  • Location: R271, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

Recently, Canada is becoming increasingly out-of-step with the policies and word view of our neighbour to the south as the agenda of the Trump administration has been implemented at home and abroad. The “America First” ideology designed to “Make America Great Again” has upset the relatively positive relationship between Canada and the US since the Reagan era of the 1980s. Canadians forget that periods of discord were frequent from 1867 to the Nixon years. Americans supporting the victorious North in the American Civil War were loath to forget the nests of Confederate spies in colonial Canada. America First sentiments promoted the tariff barriers that exacerbated the impact of the 1929 Wall Street Crash and prolonged the world-wide Great Depression that followed the crash. President Kennedy and Prime Minister Diefenbaker showed open contempt for each other during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Presidents Johnson and Nixon resented that Canada accepted draft dodgers during the War in Vietnam. So, is the Trump era a renewal of the times when Canadians saw themselves as the mouse and the US as the elephant next door – and hoped that the elephant would not roll over on them?


Deb Nash-Chambers teaches in the Departments of History and Criminology as well as for the North American Studies Program at Laurier. She received her PhD in Social History from the University of Guelph. Her academic pursuits include immigration history and social justice issues as defined by ethnicity, race, gender and age. She is very active in heritage and public history initiatives in the Guelph area and serves as the vice chair of the Guelph Museums advisory board.

Memory and Aging

  • Dates: Wednesdays, from Oct. 18 to Nov. 22.
  • Location: R271, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 9:30 to 11:20 a.m.

What are the brain changes that accompany aging, and how do these impact our ability to think, communicate and remember? Are they inevitable? Are there strategies to enhance memory? In this course we will review evidence from cognitive experiments, neuroimaging data, and studies of normal aging, that pinpoint critical processes, and brain regions, important for enabling contextually-rich high-quality memories and recollections of the past. We will also examine the role of a variety of factors, such as cardiovascular health and depressive symptoms, in explaining individual differences in memory performance in healthy older adults. Additionally, we will discuss evidence-based strategies to improve memory performance in older adults who are experiencing normal age-related memory changes, through in-class exercises and instructor-led discussions.


Melissa Meade holds a BA (Mount Allison) and Masters degree in Psychology (Waterloo), and is currently a PhD candidate in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on how different study techniques, such as drawing, can effectively enhance memory performance in older and younger adults.


  • Dates: Wednesdays, from Oct. 25 to Nov. 29.
  • Location: R271, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

Have you ever wondered why people behave the way they do? Or have you considered why some people think, feel and behave in very different ways? In this course, we will examine different theories of personality, to gain some insight into these questions. Broadly, we will examine individual differences, and how different parts come together as a whole.


Susan Alisat is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, and most recently completed her PhD in developmental psychology. In addition to her work in the Educational Technologies department at Laurier, she occasionally teaches the Psychology of Personality in the psychology department there, and collaborates on research looking at the relationship between developmental stage and personality expression. Susan believes that learning and growth are important, and now that she is no longer a student, she continues to learn, but in areas which are somewhat less academic.

Classics in the History of Western Philosophy

  • Dates: Fridays, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 24.
  • Location: R271, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 9:30 to 11:20 a.m.

A survey of six classics in the History of Western Philosophy: Plato/Aristotle and Greek philosophy; Thomas Aquinas and medieval Christian philosophy; Rene Descartes and modern philosophy; John Locke and empiricism; Kierkegaard and existentialism; Wm. James and pragmatism) The aim of this introduction to these classics will be to understand some of the main ideas of each of these philosophers and then to ask what they might have to say to us today. We will cover a range of topics in this survey of the classics: knowledge and truth, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life. Students will be given a handout each time which will include some essential excerpts of the writings of the philosopher being studied. Each session will attempt to balance lecture and discussion.


Elmer Thiessen received his PhD from the University of Waterloo in 1980. He taught philosophy at Medicine Hat College in Alberta for 36 years. He is the author of several books and many articles in journals, magazines and newspapers. He was a member of the Community Editorial Board of the Waterloo Region Record from 2007—09, and a member of the Waterloo Public Library Board from 2010—14. This is his ninth LALL course.

Demystifying Social Media

  • Dates: Fridays, from Oct. 27 to Dec. 1.
  • Location: R271, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

In less than a decade and a half, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have forever changed how we interact, connect and communicate with one another. In this course, you will learn what social media is really about, how it emerged, and what the different platforms are all about. You will learn about the power of social media (particularly social listening – and how many brands are listening to you!), as well as the risks that companies and online communities face every day, and the future of social media. We will also do hands-on exercises to get you using some of the newer platforms. After this six-week course, you will truly feel like you have taken a peek behind the social media curtain, and will be able to hold your own in any conversation with a teenager about social media.


Sandra Muir started her career as a web journalist for CTV News and helped launch CTV’s first news website. Since then, she has worked in corporate marketing and communications in the private sector, and has started several companies in a variety of industries. She is currently the inaugural social media strategist for Laurier, and manages the main institutional Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn accounts. Sandra is always eager and excited to share her knowledge of, and experience with, social media, and has taught several classes in Conestoga College’s Social Media Marketing program and in Laurier’s Digital Media and Journalism program. She has an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University, and Bachelor of Arts from Western University.

On Tour in Berlin

  • Dates: Fridays, from Oct. 20 to Dec. 8 (no class on Nov. 17 and Dec. 1).
  • Location: R271, 202 Regina St.
  • Time: 1:30 to 3:20 p.m.

This course will take us on a virtual tour of Berlin. Using landmarks in the contemporary city as gateways, we’ll discuss Berlin’s role as home to Prussia’s kings, capital of the German empire, birthplace of modern German democracy, site of dictatorships, and the hottest flashpoint of the Cold War. We’ll discover that there are many Berlins: a city of political drama, artistic innovation, cultural diversity, urban renewal, historical heritage, and youthful rebellion.


James Skidmore is Director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies ( ) and a faculty member at the University of Waterloo.

Brantford Course Offerings for Fall 2017

The History of Gaming with Syd Bolton

  • Dates: Tuesdays, from Oct. 24 to Dec. 12 (eight weeks).
  • Location: Grand River Hall, GRH104
  • Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Cost: $70

An eight-week course that explores the history of video games, their impact on our culture, and the future of where they are going. Various actual artifacts from the largest collection of video games in Canada will be presented to students for discussion and examination. Presented by Syd Bolton, Canada’s top video game collector and noted gaming historian.

Week One: The Beginning

This class will cover the definition of what a video game is and the early origins of computer games. We will also discuss Spacewar! and its impact on the future, and the early commercialization of video games led by Ralph Baer.

Week Two: Creating a New Industry

This class will look at early arcade video games (1972-1978) including the introduction of Pong and how it impacted the industry. The introduction of video games at home and how games on mainframes (multi-million dollar machines) had an impact on home computers (sub $1,000 machines).

Week Three: Golden Age of Video Games

This class will cover the “Golden Age of Video Games” (1978-1982) discussing hits like Space Invaders and Pac-Man (and its inclusion of women into the “hobby”). Second generation consoles like the Atari 2600 and Intellivision will be discussed, as well as the idea of how arcade games were licensed for home use and how this idea expanded into the licensing that is done today. Early home computer games will also be discussed and how they relate to games today. Lots of examples will be brought into this class.

Week Four: The 1980s – Part 1

Gaming computers, earline online gaming, handheld LCD games all made their rise in the 1980s as well as many seminal games that still have a presence today.

Week Five: The 1980s – Part 2

The video game crash of 1983 and third and fourth generation consoles will all be discussed in this class. The Canadian made long lost game “Extra Terrerestrials” will be shown (literally) as a discussion about video games as a business and what we can learn from that.

Week Six: The 1990s

The resurgence and decline of the arcades as well as the growth of handheld games will be discussed here as well as the rise of games from other cultures like Tetris. The fifth generation consoles will be discussed as well as making the move to 3D gaming and the switch from cartridges to optical media. Early mobile phone gaming will also be discussed.

Week Seven: The 2000s

The sixth generation of consoles (Xbox, PS2, GameCube, Dreamcast) will be discussed as well as the rise of online gaming with certain titles will be discussed. The highlight games from each console will be reviewed and their place in today’s gaming landscape discussed. Mobile games, the seventh generation of consoles and the rise of casual games will also be discussed as well as the introduction of cloud computing.

Week Eight: The 2010s and the Future

The eighth generation of consoles (2012-present) will be discussed as well as a recap of the highlights along the way. We discuss the current state of the industry and where things are going. Remasters, virtual reality, and more.


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