From parkour to swing dancing: Most underrated DeCals to enroll in

Karen Chow/Staff

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If you missed the DeCal expo last Monday but are still trying to lock in a couple more units, it’s not too late — there’s still a few exciting DeCals you can enroll in.

Get Over It! An Introduction to Parkour

Parkour is no easy sport — but the good news is, there’s a few Berkeley students ready to teach you the fundamentals. While the class is based primarily in physical activity, there’s also a few readings to help orient new parkourists to the training regime, which is derived from military obstacle courses. You’ll have to apply in order to be enrolled, but if you can clear that obstacle, then you’re good to go. Just remember, this is not a class you want to show up to in your flip flops. Stick to closed-toe shoes, and you’ll never lose a game of Hot Lava Monster again.

Fundamentals of Film Directing

For cinephiles, aspiring filmmakers and average moviegoers alike, there’s something to be learned in the Fundamentals of Film Directing DeCal. The course explores the responsibilities of directors through a combination of readings, discussions and screenings. It aims to contextualize familiar directorial styles and offer an outlet through which enrolled students can develop their own creative visions. The class requires two short papers as part of the grade, but the prompts promise to allow for pretty enjoyable homework assignments. In order to enroll, students should check out the course page.

The Poetry of Computer Science, the Computer Science of Poetry: Philosophy of Computation

Telling your friends which DeCal you’re taking might be a more tongue-twisting activity than you signed up for, but lengthy title aside, this unique DeCal — which begins Jan. 30 and is application-based — looks particularly interesting. The 2-unit class is pretty reading-heavy (the course description promises no less than 500 pages for the semester), but these assignments will likely prove more interesting than you think, with thoughtful philosophical musings about society’s relationship with technology on the docket. Philosophers and computer scientists can find common ground for perhaps the first time, as so rarely does their coursework intersect.

Virtual Reality DeCal

There’s been plenty of dialogue as to whether virtual reality is the next biggest subset of the tech industry — for plenty of techies, it’s just a question of when it blows up. Berkeley students looking to stay ahead of the curve should check out the Virtual Reality DeCal, which combines technical training in Unity, a game development platform, with lectures in topics related to the future of virtual reality as a field. Enrollment is application-based, but don’t let that stop you from making your virtual dreams a reality.


Admit it — you’ve secretly always wished you knew a little bit of swing dancing, just to show off next time the occasion arises. While this is the perfect class to get your partner to take with you, you can still have a blast solo, not only learning some sick new moves, but gaining a broader appreciation for the music as well as the culture of swing that thrives today. If you can make it out to the information session for the course, you can learn more about the application process for the class, which may take up to 60 students.

The best part is that this is just a sampling of the huge variety of DeCals you can enroll in this spring semester. Take a chance on a class you never thought you’d be interested in, and you might just end up surprising yourself. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to explore the topics that your fellow students are most passionate about!

Shannon O’Hara is the special issues editor. Contact her at [email protected].