The Big Ideas course series offers an academic experience completely unique to NYU. Students will engage with faculty experts from across the University to explore themes and topics relevant to today's issues, including social justice, the arts, sports, and artificial intelligence.

These courses will offer NYU students the chance to learn in a whole new way, and approach the world from the vantage point of celebrated and renowned artists, neuroscientists, philosophers, data journalists, historians, or ethicists.

Each course in this series will:

  • Be offered fully online in spring 2021;
  • Be open to all undergraduate students, regardless of School/Department or location;
  • Provide access to multiple faculty experts within a single class; and
  • Utilize a mix of asynchronous and synchronous engagement with faculty and course material.

All classes are offered in spring 2021. They can be held in the first seven weeks of the semester (Spring 1), or the second seven weeks (Spring 2), or for all 14 weeks. They are 2 credits, unless otherwise noted. Graduate students interested in auditing a course must check in with the Professor about limits on class participation (e.g. participating in breakout sessions, participating in graded assignments, etc.).

To enroll, log in to Albert, select the “Academic Threads” filter on the right-hand side, and select “Big Ideas course” in the drop-down menu.

Available Courses for Spring 2021


Artificial Intelligence

Course Number: CSCI-UA 74

Taught by a team of NYU's top experts in artificial intelligence lead by Turing award winner Yann LeCun, this course provides a high-level overview of the key ideas and technologies that lead to revolutionary changes in Artificial Intelligence and to the explosive growth in practical applications of AI.  

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 (7 weeks); M, W, 4:55 - 6:10 pm
  • Pass/Fail
  • Online Lecture

Instructors

Disability Justice and Radical Inclusion

Course Number: OT-UE 1403

This course will hear from the experts in disability justice and radical inclusion, noted disability activists and thinkers that have changed the face of disability rights, representation, and inclusive practices.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 (7 weeks); W, 10 - 11:15 am
  • Pass/Fail
  • Online lecture

Instructors:

Fascism and Antifascism in Art and Architecture

Course Number: NODEP-UA 171

The terms “fascism” and “culture” frequently resonate as opposites. We think immediately of sterile, bunker-like architecture, book burnings, and reactionary archaisms. Much fascist culture certainly entailed these. Yet we ignore the centrality of advanced culture to fascist ideas – both in the early twentieth century and beyond – at our own peril. This course examines the nuances of that centrality, through Mussolini’s Italy, Nazi Germany, Popular Front and Vichy France, and international anti-fascist activity up through World War Two.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 2; T, Th 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
  • Graded
  • Online Lecture

Instructors

History in the Headlines

Course Number: HIST-UA 70

Professor Rebecca Goetz will guide students on how to place today’s headlines within a broader historical and global context, and how to look beyond the surface for the real story.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 & 2 (14 weeks); W, 4:55 - 6:10 pm
  • Graded
  • Online lecture
 

Instructors

Music and Identity in Trade

Course Number: NODEP-UA 152

This interdisciplinary course meets at the intersection of applied ethnomusicology, performance studies, and heritage studies. By establishing a virtual Khaleeji percussion ensemble, it will pave the way for an in-depth understanding of both Khaleeji Arab music, and culture more broadly. The class will be divided into two segments: a percussion workshop and a seminar.  

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 (7 weeks); T, Th 9:30 - 10:45 am
  • Graded
  • Online lecture

Music and the Coronavirus

Course Number: NODEP-UA 157

Drawing on the current COVID-19 crisis, this course will explore the many roles of music in coping with omnipresent risk and uncertainty, and how the coronavirus has affected the music industry.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 & 2 (14 weeks); W, 11 - 12:15 pm
  • Pass/Fail
  • Online lecture

Instructor

Music, Sound, Oppression, Rebellion, Liberation

Course Number: NODEP-UA 162

This course will explore the role of music in the oppression and liberation of individuals and groups and the rebellion that often lies in between. Each week, students will hear from a dynamic cast of music and sound scholars who will present a specific area of their research.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 & 2 (14 weeks); Th, 2 - 3:15 pm
  • Pass/Fail
  • Online lecture

Instructor

Public Problem-Solving

Course Number: TCS-UY 2122

In this course, students will learn how to tackle and solve societal problems using real-world examples, hearing from expert guests in politics, technology, and the not-for-profit sector.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 (7 weeks); W, 9 - 9:50 am
  • Graded
  • Online lecture

Instructors

Race and Inequality: Advancing Equity Through Policy and Practice

Course Number: APSY-UE 1273

Cybele Raver and Michael Lindsey will lead students in a focused study on inequality in the US, assisted by expert guests in law, public health and allied health fields, education, social work, and public policy.

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 2 (7 weeks); M, W, 3:30 - 4:45 pm
  • Pass/Fail
  • Online lecture

Instructors

 

Technology and the Future of Work

Course Number: TCHL-UE 1021

Featuring a slate of guest speakers, this course will offer students the opportunity to discuss trends in technology and learn about the changing nature of work.  

Schedule & Format

  • Spring 1 & 2; T, 8:00 - 9:30 pm
  • Graded
  • Online Lecture

Instructors

  • Josh Shapiro