Otis College of Art and Design logo


Integrated Learning Liberal Arts Elective

Integrated Learning Liberal Arts Elective

* This class may be taken in either the fall OR spring semester

Designed especially for sophomores, the Integrated Learning Liberal Arts elective enables students to work in transdisciplinary teams with a community. This course emphasizes collaborative methodology, synthesizing diverse perspectives, creativity, critical thinking, clear communication, and information literacy enabling students to engage in issues that extend beyond the traditional classroom. See department for course offerings.


Examples of planned and previous ILML 200 courses:
Designing the Political
This course investigates the role of artists and designers as powerful agents of protest and progress. Emphasis will be placed on a historical contextualization of political graphics to learn more about the role of propaganda, the face of the enemy, and the power of the visual text to shape the perception of the “other” for better or worse. Partner: Center for the Study of Political Graphics
Students will learn what goes into building and promoting a successful community festival. They will create a business, marketing, and fundraising/ development plan, which can be used to create an annual festival that celebrates this area of the city in a partnership between Otis College and local government agencies and businesses. Partner: LAX Coastal and Westchester BID
Homeboy Histories and Culture
This course explores personal experience narratives and how they are expressed in the visual arts by their narrators. In addition, this course focuses on identity and the way in which it is expressed: political, ethnic, and social identities serving as markers for social mobility and control.
Partner: Homies Unidos
LA Past Lives: A Virtual Architecture
This course will challenge students to reconstruct past physical and social nexuses of neighborhoods/ communities in Los Angeles, combining both architectural and design components with art, cinema, and private histories of present and past community members. Students will generate an online archival display of the city’s past communities as part of this course.
Partner: Richard Riordan Central Library
Modern Mysticism and the Afterlife
This class explores the concept of the soul/spirit as viewed through modern mysticism, mystic individuals. and social movements. Students will look into crosscultural perspectives, explore rites of intensification, attend field trips for firsthand experience, and attempt to use or perform some of these practices and concepts in class.
Partner: Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Museums: Public Engagement
The question of visitor engagement in the work of museums is especially heightened in Los Angeles, one of the world’s epicenters for the arts. How can the rich content of museums function as a useful resource for the way we live our lives? Can museums ignite the muse or inspiration in all of us? How can a hub of cultural activity also be a place of solitude and contemplation? Can museums be a resource for the complex concerns of our time?
Partner: Getty Museum
LA Legacy PST
The LA Legacy Project focuses on the Gettysponsored initiative, Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1945–1980, which includes more than fifty exhibitions that tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene. Students develop a web-based publication. Site Partner: PST 
Public Policy in the Arts
The LAX airport is developing art installations as an expression of the “public face” of Los Angeles. This course will focus on the management, implementation, selection process, and ongoing commitment to art exhibitions at LAX. Students will discover how the public sector builds relationships with community partners, serving as a catalyst for the delivery of art, culture, and heritage, while offering entertainment at an internationally public site. 
Partner: LA Cult. Affairs Dept. and LAX Airport
Palau Freedom Memorial: An International Experience
Students will work with Palauan artist and students in Palau to design a Freedom Memorial/public art project for the Palauan people. Students who choose to enroll in this class need to be committed to stretching their goals, diving deep, and promising to make a difference. Partner: Republic of Palau
Examining the Civil Rights
The Civil Rights movement made far-reaching strides during 1956–1968. Students will discuss how this era reshaped American history, society, and culture from a multidisciplinary perspective. This course will also examine the events, figures, and issues central to the Civil Rights movement. Partner: African American Museum
Comic Books and Social Issues
Students will be introduced to the comic book plot structure and will learn how comic book creators use story to focus on socially relevant issues. Students will develop their own social conscientiousness by creating an original comic book story and script. 
Life Stages
Students will work with the Culver City Senior Center. Students are then guided through a process in which they work individually and collectively to create an original script that explores personal identity, family history, and various compelling intergenerational issues.  
Human Ecology
The course provides an introduction to the relationship between cultural, social, and ecological systems. A course goal is to advance awareness of how artists and designers can problem solve the issues collaboratively, beyond the confines of any one discipline. 
Sustainability minors only
Urban Farming
In this class, students will learn ethnographic theories and methods to apply to deepening our understanding of the ways urban farming and community gardens affect people’s lives, connecting to concerns in society and how the work of the artist can and does contribute.
Beasts of Myth and Fancy
Arabic, Chinese, and Medieval bestiaries populated the world and the imagination with creatures composed from parts and ideas in the natural world. Some of these creatures still populate our imagination, and their influence can be felt in all aspects of culture. This course will further explore the theme of creativity.
The Life of Art: Objects and Their Stories
Objects can tell tales. There are stories about how objects took their form, incurred damage, were restored, reached museums, or were owned by different people throughout generations. Some objects may be family heirlooms, part of collections, or are souvenirs, mementos, symbols, or religious icons. Objects are displayed so that their physical characteristics can be appreciated. This course will explore the ways in which objects, through contexts of creation, ownership, collections, meaning, and display, embody and inspire contemplation and discussion.
Partner: The Getty Museum
Black Car Culture in California
The divide between African Americans and Latinos has been an ongoing problem in California, specifically in Los Angeles. The members of many of the local car clubs have managed to bridge that gap and to present a model of unity everyone can adopt. Car clubs have been in existence as far back as the 1960s. Students will be introduced to the history, ideology and current presence of the car clubs in California, through the use of images, research, lectures, and guest speakers. Partner: The Mayme A. CLayton Library and Museum
Reel Docs
This course presents nonfiction cinema about real people and critical issues that shape our lives and the world in which we live. Nonfiction films will be viewed as agents of change, critically and aesthetically, and students will examine the power of the medium to educate, enrich, and even change lives. 
Clay in LA: 1945–Present
Students will go on field trips to various Getty-initiated Pacific Standard Time exhibitions to understand Los Angeles history in painting, sculpture, metal, wood, weaving, and public art.
Branding Otis
Students will have the opportunity to contribute to the branding of the Otis website. By analyzing successful educational and commercial sites, students will identify some of the problems inherent in the current website. Students will then be guided to work in small teams to design a solution to these problems. At the end, the best solutions will be presented to the Public Presence Committee who oversees the Otis brand. 
Partner: Public Presence Committee