Off the Beaten Course is a series that delves into SDSU's course catalog to share unique and non-traditional classes.
Course title: Geography 303 Severe Weather
Professor’s name: Edward Aguado
1) What inspired you to create this course?
I really do love watching (and talking about) weather of any kind and have taught basic weather and climate courses for many years. This one serves as an Explorations General Education class, which gives us the opportunity to delve into more detailed topics, which happen to be the most dramatic weather events.
2) What can students expect to learn from this course?
The title of the class — Severe Weather — is pretty self-explanatory in that tornadoes, hurricanes, windstorms and other types of severe weather are discussed. But students also learn the fundamentals of everyday weather as well. How do clouds form? Why do some clouds yield precipitation but not others? What causes wind to blow? Why is the sky blue?
3) What makes this course different from similar courses?
The majority of students in this class have lived in California most or all of their lives. And let’s face it, California is not known for the severity of its weather. So this class provides some insight into the type of events that people in other parts of the country take for granted, but many of us have never seen.
4) Is there one day on the syllabus for this course you most look forward to? If yes, why?
Tough question, as there are a lot of topics I particularly enjoy. Perhaps the lecture on freezing rain because it is so deceptive. Usually you get little more than a light drizzle occurring but the result can be a total economic shutdown of very large regions.
5) What’s your favorite thing about teaching this course?
Nature never stops providing new examples. Just about every semester there will be some major weather event to add to the list of examples. Discussing why those events happened the way they did and their impacts on people always keeps the material fresh for me.
6) Any other thoughts?
Things are pointing toward a stormy winter in California. Let’s see what happens.