Starting this spring, a new class will shake up the traditional catalog of course offerings at UCSB.

Electrical and Computer Engineering 94 – appropriately titled “Earthquake I.V.” – will explore what would happen to Isla Vista in the face of a large earthquake. Enrollment is currently capped at 24 students and the course is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday Spring Quarter from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., with a mandatory lab on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Taught in the California NanoSystems Institute department, the course will be led by three scholars who aim to approach the possibilities of such a calamity in the local community from both a scientific and societal standpoint.

According to Keely Roth, one of the three teaching scholars, the interdisciplinary course aims to offer a unique learning experience, with the style of instruction as well as the setting of the classroom constantly shifting.

“Specifically, we want to cover what would happen if an earthquake hit Isla Vista,” Roth said. “The course will have a different feel to it. Instead of homework there will be podcasting, which is great for anyone either interested in making podcasts or wants to learn how to. It will be a group-oriented class, but that will shake up constantly so students aren’t in the same group twice. There will also be constant field trips to I.V.”

During such field trips, Roth said students will judge the structural integrity of I.V. infrastructure, discuss hypothetical crisis resulting from an earthquake and cover a number of evacuation scenarios.
In addition to the podcast assignments, fellow teacher Neda Maghbouleh said that students can expect a less traditional testing format.

“There will be no midterm,” Maghbouleh said. “Students can expect the final to be a project that pulls together all the technology we used throughout the course.”

Roth said the course is the product of Insights on Science and Technology for Society – a program that allows teaching scholars to personally design and teach a 4-unit course with the goal of promoting scientific and technological literacy.

“We’re emphasizing three things,” Roth said. “Science, technology and society.”

Lindsay Gray, another of the three scholars responsible for creating the course, said her colleagues and herself are looking for active and engaged students to drive the class.

“We’re aimed at anyone, but mainly freshman and sophomores of any background and major,” Gray said. “We’re hoping the incorporation of such will make for better discussions. Along with the course being group-oriented, there will also be an emphasis on verbal communication. We want all sorts of different people, but most of all we want fun, enthusiastic students who want to be part of this exciting course.”

Students seeking further information can e-mail questions regarding the course to