Comic Books & Visual Literacy in the College Classroom (GEC)

Artist: C. C. Beck/Writer: Otto Binder

Have you ever found yourself trying to convey a complex, abstract idea to a group of students only to discover that words have failed you? We’ve all been there before, from English and math to history, nursing, physics, fire science, and every subject in between. In this course, we’ll discuss various strategies to address these issues by introducing visual narratives to the classroom. The medium of comics or graphic novels includes a number of texts—from the historical and literary to the scientific—that hold great promise for faculty and teachers of all disciplines. How might you use visual narratives in your classes to engage students and to enhance their learning experience? Along the way, we’ll read recent studies on visual literacy. We’ll also study a lot of great comics and graphic novels, including a book about the life cycle of a honey bee written and drawn by a biologist; an autobiographical response to quantum physics; a story about the Holocaust told by the son of two survivors; and an account of OCD and depression that offers suggestions on how health professionals might better serve their patients. We may even read a couple of superhero comics for fun as we consider how these visual narratives might refresh our teaching practices and engage our diverse body of students.

  • Format: Blended (online and face-to-face)
  • Dates: October 5, 2017 – November 30, 2017
  • Face-to-face meetings: Thursdays, October 5, October 19, November 2, November 16, November 30, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., D269
  • GECs: 3
  • Instructor: Dr. Brian Cremins, English
  • View Syllabus
  • Fee: No cost
  • Register Now (Registration Deadline: September 21, 2017)

Questions? Please contact Brian Cremins at