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Thousands to ride learning curves with continued education

September 22, 2012
Times Colonist
Katherine Dedyna
Article Source: Read the Original Article

Greater Victorians yearn to learn. How much? Up to 28,000 adults will enrol in a mind-bending profusion of courses offered by local post-secondary institutions this year, instead of staying home with Honey Boo Boo.

So whether it’s Intermediate Finnish, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or the Neuroscience of Leadership, they’re all up for your consideration, thanks to hundreds of classes in continuing education open to anyone with a few spare hours.

Continuing studies at Royal Roads takes in “all the ages and stages” of learning, says director Hilary Leighton, who expects 3,500 to 4,000 people to enrol overall.

Given global problems and pressures, courses aim to help create “the conditions for the largest conversations we can have with the world and with ourselves,” says the eco-psychologist and educator.

“This is university-level learning, so while we’re totally casual in approach, we’re totally serious in our nature,” she said.

Leighton will teach several courses, including Getting Lost on Purpose (Oct. 27, $95), her approach to journal writing.

Courses taught by others include Soulcraft Dreamwork to Embracing Imperfection (for the overachievers; $195 on Dec. 1 and 2) and Seeing the Forest and the Trees: A Practical Introduction to Systems Thinking (Nov. 30, $195).

There’s also Can I Eat That Mushroom? (Oct. 13 and 14, $115) and Social Media Bootcamp for Beginners — for those yet to learn all about Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Wordpress — on Nov. 15 for $145.

Whether the 300 offerings are professional advancement or personal enrichment, prepare to participate and expect “critical inquiry, creativity, curiosity and care,” Leighton said.

“We’re drawing from the wisdom of many disciplines, even in a course on project management. We’re really interested in people really coming to know themselves well through learning.”

The University of Victoria offers more than 200 courses and attracts about 15,000 students.

For a laugh, Improvisational Comedy aims to juice up your performance and confidence with insights from Jan Rabson, a former member of the improv group The Groundlings — once a regular act on The Tonight Show (Oct. 20, $65).

If the Middle Ages whets your appetite, six sessions with Sharron Gunn on Life in a Medieval Castle start Sept. 25 for $100. Freedom From Attachment and Fear can be yours, along with The Buddhist Path to Liberation on Saturdays with the help of Gen Kelsang Zopa of the Bodhichitta Buddhist Centre (Oct. 6-20, $58).

Missing math? What about sitting in on New Geometric Patterns Which Lie Between Boredom and Confusion — free on Nov. 30 with Ian Putnam, Canada Research Chair in Operator Algebras and Dynamical Systems.

It’s best to have studied beginners Finnish before sitting in on Intermediate Finnish. The text is called Suomea suomeksi, a.k.a. Teach Yourself Finnish, but John Dingley will oversee 10 sessions at $189, beginning Monday.

Classes represent the arts though business, science, travel and more, from Strategic Investment Planning to Masterworks by Shakespeare.

“We do our best every fall and spring to mix it up,” said Michael J. Turner of UVic continuing studies. Program co-ordinators are always looking for new ideas, talking to students and asking them what they’re interested in.

Camosun College attracts 8,000 to 9,000 adults annually — many taking more than one course — to its mostly work-related continuing education and training courses, said director Gloria Darroch.

Elders and caregivers can jump feet first into Beyond Corns and Clawtoes (Nov. 5, $85) while tea lovers can savour 12 sessions starting Oct. 2 to train as a Tea Sommelier Level 1 — a specialist who can match teas with food, and advise on the optimum ways to buy, store and serve tea ($567).

The bottom line belongs to certified credit professional Bev Ross: How to Collect Your Business Receivables. Four sessions beginning Oct. 29 tackle everything from the “danger signals” of non-payment to eliminating the excuses. $125.