This Summer, Ball State University will offer a special set of classes to examine the impact of COVID-19 from various perspectives, including crisis management, the humanities, societal debate, and the arts.

Professors will teach all classes on virtual platforms. Thanks to the University’s investment and innovations in online and strategic learning, Ball State is well prepared to offer learners a meaningful experience and quality education remotely. The University has a long tradition of providing premier distance programs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks its online programs among the best.


Pandemics impact all of us, even if we do not all get sick. This course explores how visual and performing artists respond to widespread illness, including perspectives of suffering, consolation, optimism, and courage.


Dean Seth Beckman

Date Range

June - July 17, 2020

In late 2019, a novel coronavirus called COVID-19 crossed from animals to humans, changing life as we know it across the world. Governments responded in different ways; some locked down their populations, initiated contact-tracing, and banned travel. Others waited, denied, and trafficked in dangerous conspiracy theories. Most governments fell somewhere in the middle.

The twin public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19—and countries’ twin responses—cracked open old debates about the role of the state. Should government let the market figure it out, or should it spend to avoid a global depression? This course introduces students to fundamental debates in global political economy through the lens of crisis. One part historical and one part based on current events, the course will first inform students’ efforts to imagine a post-COVID world by naming the historical political ideologies guiding governance at home and abroad and how the struggle over those ideologies is made visible in a time of crisis. Second, students will learn how to follow the news and will use that new skill to make informed analyses of current events and make informed decisions about what kind of world they want to see as they grow into their roles as active participants in our global society.

By learning to “see the state” in their daily lives and name and frame the debates about its role, students will come away from the course better equipped to interpret and analyze current events, assess the credibility of sources, and serve as resilient, informed resources in their communities as they respond to the global pandemic and its fallout.


Dr. Jackson Bartlett

Date Range

June 15 - July 17, 2020

This course is a review of strategies and techniques for effective leadership of yourself and your organization during periods of disruptive crises. The course consists of two sections. Section one is focused on the individual as a manager and how that manager can best respond to a crisis. This section focuses on focusing on leading yourself, provides an integrative application of emotional intelligence skills designed to develop successful strategies to manage emotional well-being at work. Section two focuses on providing leadership to an organization during a crisis with a special focus on crisis costs, intervention techniques to mitigate those costs, and managing sales.

Topics of the course include:

Section One:

  • Managing yourself during a crisis
  • Time management and scheduling during a crisis
  • Use of emotional intelligence during a crisis
  • Communication and messaging during a crisis
  • Leading teams in crises
  • Stress psychology and stress management

Section Two:

  • Changing and interpreting budgets during a crisis or disruptive change
  • Identifying relevant costs and benefits when making crisis-driven decisions
  • Using data analytics to forecast during a crisis
  • Managing sales and customers during a crisis
  • Managing state/federal interventions during a crisis

This course will be delivered online and is applicable to professionals across disciplines and industries.
After we overcome COVID-19, a course on “Managing Yourself and Organization Successfully During Crises” will continuously be relevant to respond to natural disasters (hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, forest fires), unexpected changes in economic conditions, technology, infrastructure, and systems failures (major industrial accidents, bridge collapses, power or cyber-system blackouts, airline and train crashes); infectious diseases (COVID–19, Ebola, MERS, H1N1, SARS, West Nile virus, avian flu); and purposeful, human-initiated disasters (terrorism, bio-terrorism, riots). These crises frequently challenge society on many levels and disrupt normal operations.

Date Range

June 15-July 17, 2020

This installment of COVID-19 from the perspective of the Humanities examines the global response to the current pandemic by focusing on four issues. The first issue is historical: how have epidemics and pandemics helped to shape modern society in the first place? We will look at medieval plagues, the spread of smallpox in colonial Americas, and later flu pandemics such as the Spanish flu. The second issue concerns epistemology: pandemic response involves a global demand to ‘trust the experts’, which has a special significance in the current age of post-truth and fake news. The third issue concerns social theory: the workforce is suddenly divided between ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ labor. The essential labor involving largely underpaid workers such as cashiers, mail-carriers, and factory laborers. What does the pandemic response teach us about the role of labor in modern society? What ought it teach us about income equality and basic rights such as health care? The final theme concerns demographics: COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the poor, the incarcerated, the elderly, and racial minorities. How and why has this happened? What should we learn about our society from it?

Students will learn about a variety of humanist methods and themes in the context of COVID-19. We will ask general questions such as: How does our knowledge, and ignorance, of history impact the way we view the world? What counts as knowledge? What is the role of expertise in today’s world? What is social justice? And what does it mean to be committed to such a thing? And we will examine these through basic humanistic methods such as learning to formulate historical questions, dissecting philosophical arguments, and analyzing cultural and artistic products.

Readings will include historical accounts of pandemics such as Hays’s The Burdens of Disease or the more recent Epidemics and Society by Snowden. Philosophical texts might include classical accounts of expertise and testimony by Hume and others, classics of social theory such as Marx and Rawls, and a range of studies on inequality in health care, income, and other relevant areas.


Dr. Kevin Harrelson

Date Range

June 15 - July 17, 2020

The course will address issues such as news coverage of the pandemic, data privacy in a country where people demand to know who and where infected people are located, and effects of a nationwide stay-at-home policy on numerous aspects of the media industries.


Dr. Michael Gerhard

Date Range

May 11 - June 14, 2020

The course will include a project analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, and use cases of 14 different online conferencing platforms and will look in depth at user experiences in remote work environments. It is a very relevant course for those designing or using systems in the current pandemic environment and likely long after.


Dr. Rebecca Hammons

Date Range

May 11, 2020 - July 17, 2020

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Current Students

Thanks to our investment and innovations in online and strategic learning, Ball State is well prepared to offer students a meaningful experience and quality education remotely. Faculty and staff are learning partners, no matter what. We deliver our online programs with the same faculty who teach face-to-face courses on campus, and they are ready to help our students “Fly” further this Summer.

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Haven’t enrolled here yet? Not a problem. You can take summer courses at Ball State as a guest student. You can start earning credits toward one of about 120 bachelor’s degrees or 100 graduate degrees we offer. Or if you attend another university, you can transfer your credits. To get started, complete our application!

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