'Playboy' honor doesn't bug professor

'Playboy' honor doesn't bug professor »Play Video
Professor Burgett

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Twenty students, one professor and PowerPoint.

This is Playboy magazine's best college course in America?

You better believe it.

In Mike Burgett's "Far Side Entomology," it all starts with a comic.

The honors students from a mix of majors take it from there.

"So for us, we always are just looking at what are the connections to humans in this comic and this type of insect and what are some of the themes running through it that might be related with humans also," said Scott Crook, an Oregon State senior.

This week's class led to discussions about who is superior: ants or humans?

"We have Chuck Norris, so I'm going to give us a point there," a student suggests.

Also: a debate about whether or not there are flies in heaven.

"I've got a solution that works for everyone," a student says, "a separate heaven for flies."

Burgett hopes his students learn an important lesson.

"An appreciation of the fact that we share this planet with a lot of other species, and most of those other species, 5/6 of all known animals, are insects," he says.

Talk to students and you find it's working.

"One of the things about the class is that it makes you think about how similar we really are to all the other species on earth," says Allison Gicking, an Oregon State senior, "which is not something you normally think about."

So why did Playboy pick Burgett's class?

The professor says an editor told him because the class combines humor and actual learning.

Burgett and his class aren't a pop culture flash in the pan, either: last year, he earned kudos from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Which was the greater honor?

Burgett says that's easy. "The Chronicle is not read by the student body." he says.