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Learning for the Rest of Our Lives

By Chris Watson

Can I make sushi at home? What are all these apps for on my iPad?  How do I make a slideshow on the computer… with music… and text?  Is sugar really the arch villain of nutrition? Is anyone else besides me interested in astronomy? Was U.S. Grant that good of a general?  Or that bad of a president? Can I finally take all those courses that I didn’t have time for the last time I went to college? Can I get my degree… just because I want to?

For most of our professional lives we studied for survival or advancement. Job requirements, continuing education requirements, new machines, new programs, skill certifications, even baccalaureates and masters programs became the albatross hanging around our careers.  Learning was a necessity, not a passion. However, with broad participation from local colleges and universities along with national non profits, the learning albatross has flown the coop. Learning can, in fact, be fun.

The US Department of Education reports that the fastest growing segment of students is now adult and lifelong learners. What used to be simple community education courses and lectures has turned into a full service menu of opportunities. Here is a roundup of local and online resources to start back to school for the best reason around: the joy of learning.

Ohio Department of Aging. Includes a listing of colleges and universities that offer free courses for survey purposes along with other resources for going back to school.  Includes a link based list that provides portals to these institutions.



University of Toledo. Provides a wide variety of curriculum for the adult learner through the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning (CALL). Program 60 offers programs to those over 60 who wish to take college courses without credit (or audit). All audit courses are limited by availability and space. For the more serious the College offers three different bachelor programs geared to the non traditional learner. These include degrees in Professional Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Liberal Studies.

Information at University of Toledo Rocket Hall 1300 (main campus), 419-530-3311. utoledo.edu or email, call@utoledo.edu.

Bowling Green State

University.  Provides a wide variety of courses for seniors and adult learners along with a menu of community education programs for all ages.  Includes personal enrichment programs, professional development, and lifelong learning.  Financial aid and other programs provided through Senior Adult Grants for Education (SAGE).

Info at BGSU Community Education

14 College Park, Bowling Green, OH

877-650-8165 www.cee.bgsu.edu

Lourdes University.  Programs are open to all individuals. Lourdes has three levels of opportunities including classes, day trips, and monthly lectures. Classes include creative subjects like “Bad Astronomy” and “Sugar, the good the bad, and the ugly.” Lectures include interest peaking titles like “Edmund Fitzgerald, What Really Happened?” and “The ABC’s: Archaeologists, Bones, and Coroners.”

Information at www.lourdes.edu under the community outreach tab. Contact info at 419-517-8897 or lifelong@lourdes.edu.

Owens Community College. 

Program called “Work/Play, Learning for a Better Life.” The widest variety of short, targeted classes with a wide range of topics for almost any interest. Offers a strong slate of professional and skill certification courses for in software, real estate, medical (such as CPR training), and office training. Besides these development courses Owens offers a captivating array of courses for personal and hobby interest on subjects ranging from gardening to chef knife skills.

owensworks.com. Workforce and Community Services, PO Box 10000. 567-661-7357


Renhill. In conjunction with Owens Community College, Renhill offers a small variety of tuition free programs to train those who are still in the workforce or need to reenter it. The program is called Plus 50 and is targeted at the unemployed or underemployed. Courses are limited to specific, job related topics like Special Education Aid.

Contact Renhil at 419-254-2863.

Road Scholar. A non profit travel site affiliated with Elderhostel offering educational travel opportunities from local to worldwide.  Although not directly affiliated with an educational institution programs draw heavily from regional universities to provide guides and lectures for their trips. One trip locally involves a five day trip of the western Lake Erie basin investigating areas of geology, human and natural history.

Programs are listed with the Ohio Department on Aging. 800-454-5768. roadscholor.org.

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