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8 News SDSU olympian wins gold Meet SDSU’s atheist Monday August 20, 2012 The Daily Aztec

Amanda Guerrero Staff Writer

San Diego State graduate student Keshia Baker runs for the gold. Baker, a six-time AllAmerican, was part of the women’s 4x400-meter relay pool for Team USA during the 2012 Summer Olympics. “I feel very honored and blessed to be able to be a part of the Olympic team,” Baker wrote in an email as she traveled to compete in London. “It is a dream for many and I am glad it has now become a reality for me.” Another dream came true when Team USA brought home the gold in the women’s 4x400-meter relay. Although she did not run in the finals, Baker, who ran the leadoff leg in the semifinals, received a gold as a member of the team. She reached out to friends and fans via Twitter after receiving her medal.

courtesy usa track and field

“Thanks so much for your support and prayers!” Baker tweeted. “I’m so happy and just in awe.” Baker left London the day of the Olympics closing ceremony to compete with 15 other U.S. Track and Field Olympians at the DécaNation track meet in France, where she came in first place for the women’s 400-meter. The Fairfield native says although the combination of

school, track and interning makes her life busy, her desire to take advantage of her talents continues to motivate her. Baker, who is studying public health and social work as part of SDSU’s DUAL master’s program, says her friends and family help her balance the busy lifestyle of a student and an elite athlete. “I have an extremely big support system from my family and friends, including my cohorts and teachers at SDSU that allow it to be possible and not overwhelming,” Baker said. Despite her athletic accomplishments, which now include high-profile status as an Olympian, Baker’s athletic career has not overshadowed how much she values her education. “I am extremely proud of both and truly honored to see how supportive people are of me and my decisions to do both,” Baker said. “I truly believe that I have a gift from God, not only athletic but smart,” she added.

Look before you book Stephanie Zumwalt Contributor

The beginning of a new semester means new class schedules and textbooks. Because textbooks are an important part of course success in classes, buying them is a nobrainer. Getting them at a reasonable cost may not always be so easy. During the first few weeks of the semester, the San Diego State Bookstore will be filled with students purchasing and renting textbooks. Although the campus bookstore is a convenient place to buy or rent textbooks, it is not the only option. Alternative options for an Aztec seeking textbooks are available online or through local textbook shops.

or pre-owned textbooks, and all at competitive prices. The company’s website not only offers online listings on all books in stock, but also allows customers to compare prices between their store and various websites offering the same textbooks. ONLINE SITES Amazon.com and eCampus. com not only allow users to purchase or rent used or new textbooks for discounted rates but also sell back textbooks. If a budget calls for used textbooks, Textbooks.com is a great source for a variety of discounted preowned books for every subject. craigslist

SDSU has a large community of students who no longer

need their textbooks. Go online and check if the book is on the Craigslist database. Try and negotiate the price and then meet up with the person at a local Starbucks. When purchasing textbooks, it helps to remember there are multiple options out there. It’s easy to compare prices between websites and stores to ensure that you are getting the best deal, and renting used textbooks instead of buying new can knock hundreds of dollars off your purchase. Before spending an exorbitant amount of money on books, it’s always smart to weigh the alternatives and make sure you are getting the best deal.

kb books

KB Books is a textbook shop with locations at SDSU, San Diego City College, Miramar College and Mesa College. Students have the option of buying or renting brand new

Benefits of online classes Ethan Orenstein Contributor

At San Diego State, students have the option to take online classes. After a computer readiness survey, students are able to complete course work at their own pace in any location with Internet connection. “It requires much more self-discipline and responsibility because you have assignments and due dates, but no face-to-face

meeting time for the teacher or fellow students to remind you,” SDSU senior Kevin Kaderabek said. Kelly Lane, who teaches contemporary nutrition online, disagrees. “If you can get past the first hurdle of setting up the class, anyone can succeed,” Lane said. With teaching experience in both online and traditional courses, Lane does not see a relationship between a specific type of learner and success in

an online class. “The lectures are the same, the tests are the same and the activities are very similar,” she said. According to Lane, the online course is ideal for students looking for something convenient, whether they have a busy work schedule, a family to care for or want to complete the coursework outside of a classroom. The online course has a schedule and an outline just like a traditional class, but

hip-hop professor

Professor Whitaker will be teaching a hip-hop course as antoniio zaragoza , editor in chief well as SDSU’s very first course on Atheism this fall semster.

Allie Bidwell Staff Writer

Education has always been an important factor in the life of religious studies professor Roy Whitaker. Many of his mentors were teachers who inspired him to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an educator. In college, Whitaker set out with a mission to understand the analytical aspects of religion, questioning what happens after death, if there is a god and why bad things happen to good people. A phrase Whitaker heard in an undergraduate class sparked an idea, which formed the basis for many of his future studies and courses: people from different religious groups approach reality from many different perspectives. “I said to myself, ‘What I want to get is an appreciation of various religious traditions, not just one,’” Whitaker said. “I wanted to get into more of the comparative study of religion.” Whitaker blended his inquisitive nature with study of comparative religions in classes such as “Hip Hop and Religion” and “Atheism, Humanism and Secularism,” in which students learn more than the defining characteristics of religion or a lack of religion. Whitaker incorporates current events, field trips, guest speakers and a highly analytical and critical reading of contemporary texts to engage students in different religions. lectures are archived and allow students to make the class work around their personal schedules. Lane said the flexible schedule is a good way to pace students without imposing too much work upon them. While there is an absence of face-to-face time in a fully online class, Lane and other online instructors hold live online office hours for students to share concerns and ask questions. Instructors are also available to respond to emails in the online environment. “It’s great not having to go

After giving a lecture talk in 2008, Whitaker began to develop the idea behind his hip-hop course, slowly integrating the issues into a world religions course. At least one week would be dedicated to pop culture and religion. Eventually, this concept became its own class, focusing on how hip-hop culture and religious ideology cross paths. Whitaker said religious studies has historically looked at traditional religions, texts and prophets, while often ignoring other types of prophets—“prophets of the hood”—who struggle with some of the same issues addressed in religious stories. Whitaker said he feels religious studies also neglects studying irreligion. In his atheism course, he seeks to answer questions about the psychology of atheism, as well as issues of gender and race in atheism. But what really makes these courses successful, Whitaker said, is his effort to be as objective as possible when presenting material. The purpose of his assignments is not to accept or reject certain beliefs, but to encounter new communities and formulate impressions, he added. Whitaker said he is motivated to inspire students and help them expand their worldviews, while questioning assumptions in society. “I’ve had a wonderful relationship with (my students) in helping them recognize the importance of religion, and hopefully the importance of irreligion,” Whitaker said. to class for a couple hours a week,” Kaderabek said. “It’s also probably the only time you’ll be able to attend class in your underwear—arguably the best part about it.” This semester SDSU offers 29 upper and lower division online courses. Many of the courses fulfill general education requirements for sciences, humanities or cultural diversity. Online classes are something students should consider if they are looking for a convenient course schedule in a flexible learning environment.

08-20-2012  

Volume 99, Issue 1

08-20-2012  

Volume 99, Issue 1

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