Course Catalog for Superheroes: A Sample

“In the Nick of Time:” Part of being an effective superhero is mastering the art of getting away from the villain in an effective but still impressive manner. While multiple kinds of vehicles may be employed while being pursued by the bad guys, the car still remains what many would consider the most reliable one. More durable than a bicycle, less complex than a plane, train or speedboat, the humble auto will be our vehicle of choice to practice leaving/arriving at the scene of the crime. We will learn such skills as hot wiring (or instinctively knowing which car in the lot still has its keys in the ignition), climbing in and out of the car while it is in motion, using random items inside to stave off our attackers, navigating one way streets and narrow alleyways, hydroplaning safely after colliding with a fire hydrant, and how to avoid hitting panicky pedestrians who are scrambling to get out of the way. For the final exam, you will complete both a written exam and road test by a licensed superhero driver, and upon successful passing, you will receive certification.

Vehicles provided, but there will be a fee, as well as legal forms to sign upon registration.

Soliloquizing 101: A famous Shakespeare character once said, “To be or not to be/ That is the question.” While rescuing the kidnapped, busting out the imprisoned, and killing the person responsible is always satisfying, it’s equally important to give a meaningful speech right before this occurs. We will examine famous speeches given by superheroes throughout the ages and analyze them for their tone, pacing, wit and use of trademark phrases. We will also discuss the importance of timing, as a common mistake even with seasoned superheroes is to talk so much that the villain is able to regain his/her bearings and manage to once again escape. For the final exam, students will prepare a ten to 15 minute soliloquy which will be rated by the class and the instructor.

When All Else Fails: Sometimes despite our best efforts in the heat of the battle, our weapons get lost or broken, our allies don’t show up when we most need them, and our super-suits malfunction. Then it is up to us to depend solely on our own ingenuity when it comes to dueling the villain. Fortunately, many ordinary items both indoors and outdoors can come in handy and provide adequate protection, at least for awhile. Many everyday objects turned into weapons can also retain some effectiveness, even after they are partially damaged. We will be viewing an array of action/thriller films in order to pick up pointers. For the final, each student will be required to give a practical demonstration for approximately a half hour, after being blindfolded and led to an unfamiliar location.

The Great Escape: It’s a rare superhero who hasn’t found themselves at least once trussed like a Thanksgiving turkey or imprisoned in a seemingly inescapable fortress at the mercy of one’s nemesis. Fortunately, though, there are time tested methods of getting out of such jams. We will study such escape artists as Houdini, as well as other famous superheroes in order to increase the odds that we will be able to get away in such a situation. We will also examine the role of disguise as an aid to getting away, as well as the advantage of bonding with the minions of one’s nemesis. A practical exam will be administered at the end of the course.

Hacking 101: While it’s possible to find a hacker who can provide key assistance on the spur of the moment, doing so when the fate of the world is at stake and you’re on the run can be a challenge. In this course, we’ll learn tips and tricks for gaining access to other people’s secure systems in the least amount of time possible. Although most villains have the mental capacity of a Wheat Thin when it comes to protecting their personal data, there are still some who have working brain cells and enact barriers more complex than having “password” or their birthday plus their dog’s name be their ultimate protection. The final will consist of a practical exam in which each student will have a limited amount of time to access and retrieve data.

Gymnastics 101, i.e. “Flips and Dips.”: Agility is a necessary quality for a superhero. In this course, we will learn maneuvers that will best help us dangle out of buildings, scale cliffs, and navigate grids safely while decreasing the odds of pulling a muscle, breaking a bone or winding up dead. For the final, there will be a practical field exam.

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