At the Crossroads of Theory and Practice
The BU Cross-College Challenge (XCC) is the Hub’s signature interdisciplinary project-based, 4-credit elective course open to juniors and seniors from all 10 undergraduate schools and colleges. (Sophomores may enroll at the discretion of an instructor.) The XCC engages students in team projects that address a real-world problem or an enduring human question. Each section is co-led by two faculty members from different disciplines. Student teams work with their faculty as well as with a variety of campus and community partners on a substantial, research-based challenge while building their knowledge and skills in 4 key Hub areas.
All of the XCC courses satisfy the Intellectual Toolkit Hub units in Creativity/Innovation, Research and Information Literacy, and Teamwork/Collaboration. The fourth Hub unit addresses Communication in written, oral, and digital forms, and varies by course number.
- HUB XC 410
- CRI, RIL, TWC, WIN
- HUB XC 420
- CRI, DME, RIL, TWC
- HUB XC 433
- CRI, OSC, RIL, TWC
- HUB XC 475
- CRI, OSC, RIL, TWC
DME= Digital/Multimedia Expression
OSC= Oral and/or Signed Communication
RIL= Research and Information Literacy
WIN= Writing-Intensive Course
Spring 2022 Sections and Projects
HUB XC 410 A1
Back to the Past: Gaming and Design for Immersive Role Play
In this game-based course, students will play and then design an immersive role-playing game for the Reacting to the Past (RTTP) consortium. RTTP uses active, experiential learning to help students engage with important social, political, historical, and cultural\ndebates. Student teams will research, create, playtest, and pitch their own micro-games based on controversies broadly related to social justice (for example, suffrage or the Boston busing crisis) and/or focused in the Northeast (ex., Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day and the Wampanoag people or Yawkey’s memory).
Our focus will be on key moments — such as trials, rebellions, strikes, and public debates — involving historically marginalized communities as they pursued their social, economic, and political rights. Who stood with them? Who opposed them? Why? Who were their leaders, and what methods did they and their opponents use to persuade the undecideds to join their side? What spoken and unspoken rules, customs, interests, and values governed these various parties’ decision-making? How can we use this information to help others learn about these crucial historical moments?
Research will be conducted in partnership with a number of repositories, archives, and libraries. Ultimately, students will create a game that is playable, meets or exceeds the community partner’s expectations, and is, most importantly, fun, dynamic and engaging. Successful prototypes may be posted on the RTTP Game Library website for use beyond BU, with an option for submission to the annual RTTP game development conference.
HUB XC 410 B1
Justice Media Computational Journalism Co-Lab
Investigative journalism is an interdisciplinary endeavor. The Justice Media Computational Journalism Co-Lab will provide students from diverse disciplines an opportunity to work with and publish investigations in professional news outlets including GBH, the Boston Globe, CBS Boston, NBC Boston, the Associated Press, the Baystate Banner, and more. The investigative journalism news stories will be focused on issues of justice and accountability and have both written and visual components. This course will bring together students from journalism, computer science and other disciplines guided by veteran faculty practitioners in journalism and computer science/ engineering. Teams are encouraged and given the support to publish their written news stories, as well as any radio, television or visual media. Since publishing in one semester is not always possible, projects are graded on progress toward a publishable written data-driven, investigative story with visual elements.
HUB XC 420 A1
Unheard Voices: Deconstructing The Dominant Narratives By Inclusion
Given the racial injustice and the current pandemic challenges society faces today, it is imperative that higher education institutions create equitable spaces and opportunities to include the voices and experiences of marginalized communities that feel secondary and peripheral in a dominant discourse. Little attention has been paid over the years to exploring the lived experiences and expressed viewpoints of other ethnic communities. The feeling of invisibility and water-downed identities are delegitimized further by the absence of presence and cultural compartmentalization by race and color, in a society that prides itself ironically enough, as one that values equity and democratic principles.
Our project is to create a series of podcasts that share knowledge and thoughts from communities that often feel marginalized and invisible in the national equity and democratic discourse. To bring together some of the unheard voices and intersectional groups (E.g. Asian, Latinx, LGBTQ and Deaf cultures) to talk about their experiences and how they feel about equity and democracy and how it impacts their daily lives and experiences. Under faculty supervision students will develop, facilitate and host a series of conversations that cover several topics on equity and democracy. We will focus on bringing in speakers inside and outside of Boston University (including students) to share their experiences and perspectives and hold a series of conversations with experts and constituencies representing communities who are concerned about their exclusion in this dominant narrative.
Through these podcasts, students will continue to help Boston University cultivate an environment that fosters critical dialogue, social inquiry and ethical reasoning where communities feel respected, included and legitimized. More importantly, by sharing the knowledge and experiences of those often marginalized communities, students can work at solutions that will provide a more effective legitimization of these voices into the conversations and narratives that are currently absent in our national discourse in American society.
HUB XC 420 B1
What Does Walkability Mean to You?
WalkBoston is looking to utilize storytelling as a tool to help reframe walkability through a diversity of perspectives. Walkability means many different things to many different people, especially those who live at the intersection of historically excluded identities like Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, those with disabilities, older adults, those whose primary language is not English, immigrant and undocumented populations, and so many more.
HUB XC 433 A1
Thinking through Puppets and Performing Objects
Puppetry and other forms of object performance are experiencing a renaissance in the US and across the globe. But what can they offer a research university, where not only creating but also communicating new knowledge to a range of audiences is increasingly important? These “animated objects” have traditionally been used to convey narrative content; can they help research to become a compelling story that engages, informs, and even entertains an audience–by activating their intellect and affect? In this course, students from across BU’s many colleges will explore how a broad range of puppetry techniques can help them to investigate and then communicate abstract theories, philosophies, and complex processes, injecting them with humor, suspense, and awe.
HUB XC 433 B1
Marketing and Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry
This project intends to have teams work with the leadership of cannabis industry organizations in Massachusetts as they seek to promote entrepreneurial interests among social equity applicants. Teams will design and develop marketing plans, materials, and other wrap around services, for approved applicants. As part of this course, XCC student teams will conduct market research, develop strategies, and offer creative solutions around what those clients can do to generate awareness and market for those new businesses.
HUB XC 433 C1
HUB XC 433 D1
Andy Andres (CGS)
Baseball Data Science and Player Development
This course is designed to guide students into the discovery of how Data Science can help teams win baseball games and how to best coach and train players to become better players. An introduction to the study of statistics, baseball data, biomechanical measures, and injury prevention will help guide students towards the signature outcome of the Cross-College Challenge, a group project designing a creative solution to a given problem in the game. Various fundamentals of baseball will be investigated by students through team work in literature reviews and studying player performance. Emphasis will be placed on collaboration with team members, refining skills in information literacy, and communication with classmates and faculty.
HUB XC 475 A1
Spark! Technology Innovation Fellowship
The Spark! Innovation Fellowship program supports student innovators passionate about solving problems through technology. The course provides a structured process where students advance a technology project of their own creation, or an innovative solution for a problem sponsored by an external partner. The goal is to design, develop, and deploy a working prototype in one semester with the support of industry mentors. Students can participate as part of a pre-formed team or they can be assigned to a team. There are two participant tracks for each team: developers and designers. Effective Summer 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Oral and/or Signed Communication, Creativity/Innovation, Research and Information Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration.
*Permission and application required for this XCC section.
- Developers track:
- UX Designers track:
Competency in any of the following: knowledge of graphic design principles and proficiency in design software programs e.g. Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, etc.