Overlooking the California coast, Pepperdine’s most intriguing classroom is the Pacific Ocean. Introduction to Surfing provides students the “basic knowledge and enjoyment of surfing and a general understanding of ocean safety,” according to the university’s course catalog. The class was first offered in 2003 and has since experienced waves of success, filling up almost instantly after registration opens.
Not your average Sunday stroll, this class can take students on routes anywhere from 15 to 25 miles each session. The class ties in philosophical ideas about nature for a greater appreciation of one of the human species’ most basic actions. Pupils typically wander with Professor Ken Keffer, who has taught the course for more than a decade, around Danville, Kentucky's Centre College’s campus, although Keffer has also brought the course to the streets and paths of France and Germany.
Classmates learn how to ascend massive trees for college credit, learning at a more advanced level than the introductory lessons procured in the childhood backyard. The class is capped off with an overnight trip where students “have the option of camping out on our tree platforms or sleeping suspended in hammocks between branches of the same tree,” according to Cornell’s course catalog.
Going off the crowded groomed ski runs, students are guided through the less-traveled alpine terrain of the Wasatch Mountain range. According to the course description, advanced skiing experience is not required to enroll, but because mandatory avalanche training is part of the curriculum, that ski experience will likely accumulate quickly.
Successfully completing a triathlon requires carving time out to follow a training regimen, so you might as well get some college credit along the way. This no-frills course provides workouts during the semester, all leading to a final goal of finishing a sprint-distance triathlon with a .5 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run.
The class title says it all. Students will learn about marathon tactics while completing training runs with the professor, a veteran marathoner himself. The class culminates with participation in Nebraska’s Lincoln Marathon.
Alaska Pacific University boasts an Outdoor Studies department, which has to be considered one of the top in the country purely based on the surrounding landscape. Professors of Expedition Mountaineering take their instruction above the tree line, teaching students how the navigate mountainous and icy terrain. The class includes a three-week trek through different mountainous destinations for the ultimate hands-on learning experience.