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Houston Has its Own College Class All About Tacos

You might have stumbled across an article or two last week about a University of Kentucky course on “taco literacy.” The class offers students a chance to learn about food and culture in a largely Latino area of Lexington. Well, it turns out, Houston has its own class on tacos with similar goals. Instructor Temple Northup, associate […]

Fish tacos. Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public MediaTemple Northup Taco Block Quote - MHYou might have stumbled across an article or two last week about a University of Kentucky course on “taco literacy.” The class offers students a chance to learn about food and culture in a largely Latino area of Lexington.

Well, it turns out, Houston has its own class on tacos with similar goals.

Instructor Temple Northup, associate professor of communication at the University of Houston, says the class is actually titled “Multimedia Storytelling,” and students each semester are tasked with gathering and presenting stories in different media (articles, photos, video, interactive games, etc.) about one central topic. This semester, the focus is “telling the story of Houston through tacos.”

A ‘Tough’ Assignment

That means his class is visiting taco joints around town (tough assignment, we know), interviewing taco makers and food scholars, taking photos and videos of taco culture in Houston. The students will then assemble their work into a website about Houston’s taco scene.

Taco Illustration - MHNorthup says Houston’s diversity is paralleled in its tacos — from Mexican street tacos that reflect the growing Latino population here to Korean-inspired tacos that reflect Houston’s large Asian population.

He says an added bonus is that food gets students excited and people get excited about food.

“Everybody likes tacos,” Northup said. “So hopefully the students would bring extra energy to the projects.”

Shift in Educational Philosophy

A class on tacos is just one of many examples in recent years of creative college courses. So why are more colleges offering creative courses like this? Northup says it’s a fundamental shift in educational philosophy. The idea is to move away from the old model of a professor standing in front of a class talking and replace it with what he called “more active learning experiences.”

MORE:
University of Kentucky is Offering a Class on Tacos (Mashable, Feb. 1, 2016)
Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food (Houston Matters, Feb. 11, 2016)

(Photo and Illustration: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media)

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