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Why I Teach TREX

What is TREX?

ONU's Transitions Experience (TREX) courses
take an "out-of-the-box" approach to help students
understand how to think critically, reason analytically
and make connections between disciplines—all
skills needed to be successful in college.

by Dr. Jennifer Walton
Associate Professor of Communication Arts

Popular Culture Meets Communication has been a labor of love for me from the start. Most of my research interests involve film or television and one of my favorite courses to teach has always been a basic human communication course, which we did not offer.  

When the idea behind the Transition Experience courses was developed, I enthusiastically volunteered to teach it primarily because the concept was to teach in a content area in a creative manner, that both the students and I could have fun with and enjoy. I was also able to develop a course that used the concepts in a basic human communication to illustrate plotlines, themes and characterizations in popular films.

This fall will be my third time teaching TREX and the courses have been everything I hoped they would be and more.

TREX courses foster critical and creative thinking and I have found fun and effective, yet challenging way to do this. The students really don’t realize that they are using these skills as they discuss, journal and write papers about the films. I teach an upper level course on film study and analysis and so many of my former TREX students are registered for that course in the fall and have been excited about it since finishing TREX.  

As I have taught TREX, I have noticed that my students bond with each other in very unique ways. There is a family-like atmosphere and these students (who are brand new to ONU) have a sense of belonging. Many students continue to take classes together after completing TREX and this allows them to make ONU a home very quickly after arriving here.