Community

9 Reasons To Take The University Of Oklahoma's ‘Chemistry Of Beer’ Course

There are a slew of reasons students sign up for the University of Oklahoma’s most popular Janux course, “Chemistry of Beer.” It connects online learners, it’s fun and interactive and, um, hello, beer. But, there’s a lot more to it than that. We went straight to the source — the students who’ve gone through the class — to hear their reasons for enrolling and why you should, too.

Posted on

1. It’s a ‘rather delicious’ way to earn a college credit

But did we really have to tell you that? That’s what Adam Szczepanski, a stay-at-home-dad with high hopes of becoming a brewer, enjoyed about the course. “I would call it a pretty painless one credit that exposes the student to a very particular, and rather fun and delicious, application of science and technology.” And that leads us to ...

2. Get a transcriptable OU credit as a non-OU student

OU now offers the one-credit course for $199 to non-OU students who are seeking credit. That means anyone, anywhere, can be a part of the online class and get some credit on their transcript while they're at it. On the flip side: Anyone, anywhere, can take the course for free, too. In that case, students don't earn credit, but they do receive a "badge" (of honor, as we like to think of it) that they can share through social media or incorporate into their blogs.

3. Helps novice — and master — home brewers know their stuff

As one class graduate Bruce Sanchez puts it: "As an experienced home brewer, I know what happens during the various stages of the brewing process. The information in this course showed me how and why."

4. It will help you, dear home-brewer, get your craft down to a science

Sanchez, an Edmond resident who's home-brewed for more than 20 years, views brewing as "more of an art." "Understanding the whys in each brewing phase moves the brewer from analog to digital control," he said. "You can really expand your flavor palate and fine tune your beers."

5. Students focus on one aspect at a time, making learning easy

"Chemistry of Beer" doesn't just throw information at you all willy-nilly. The course is broken up so that students focus on one aspect at a time. That's what Szczepanski enjoyed about the course. "On my own and in my home-brewing I tend to scatter around. It was nice to settle into each aspect for a few weeks at a time," the Philadelphia resident said. "I would say that anyone in the industry or wanting to be in the industry will benefit from the course."

6. You get a little history lesson, too

Oh, did you think this was all about chemistry? Szczepanski says that's the focus, but he also learned about the history of beer. "It had a nice balance of information about beer (from history to styles to effects of alcohol) and the underlying chemistry of beer and fermentation."

7. Your average beer drinker gains an appreciation of the process

Whether you imbibe on a regular basis or just occasionally, "Chemistry of Beer" offers the opportunity to get to know what exactly you're slinging back. Past student and current public relations professional Michelle Bui of Oklahoma City agrees. "As someone that enjoys trying new beers out when possible, it helped me learn and appreciate more about the beer making process," the 2012 OU grad said.

"I've gone to several breweries for tours to see how those individual places function, but what does it take to be a home brewer? Can anyone do it, or do you have to have all the machinery? It is astounding what you can do to make that perfect beer for yourself to start your own brewing process, and learning about it from a class like this helped me understand it better than before."

8. Connect with other learners across the globe

Sure, OU students are a diverse bunch, but how often do YOU get the chance to learn alongside students from other cultures and walks of life? For Janux students, that's the norm. Janux connects learners from across the globe, creating an online forum to learn from and interact with fellow students. Jimmy Hill, a principal software engineer from Austin, is a Janux believer: "As someone just curious how things work, the Janux system, along with Dr. Morvant, provides a great platform for cooperative learning, enabling you to interact with other students from all over the world."

9. Students help build a digital community in Oklahoma around science communication

"There isn't really a big digital community here in Oklahoma for that but we use chemistry on a daily basis," said Brandi Vanalphen, who graduated from Cameron University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Vanalphen is passionate about connecting people around a common interest and said the #ChemBeerOU hashtag helps to do just that. The chemist even blogged about her experience in a post she titled "Common Chemistry Makes a Curious Crowd."

"You get a massive network to work with and pull resources from whether you are a chemist or a home-brewer," she added. "It's a gold-mine for information."

Interested in learning more? Check out our "Chemistry of Beer" rundown — which provides all your pertinent info, all in one place — and read a Q&A with course instructor Mark Morvant. Take a look at other Janux courses while you're at it.