Enriching Experience

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Onondaga Public Library now offers universal classes for patrons to engage in a variety of enrichment courses in an online environment.

“We certainly provide books and have traditionally provided educational books about learning different things. Now this is an online avenue for patrons to do the same kind of thing,” said e-resources librarian and supervisor Peg Elliott.

The Onondaga Library purchased the subscription service to the courses from Recorded Books. The online database offers more than 500 personal enrichment classes free of charge to any library cardholder.

Patrons log in from the library’s website with their card and PIN numbers, enter their email addresses and can register for the classes.

Areas of study include accounting, arts and photography, business, parenting, pet and animal care, psychology, cooking, real estate, science, social work, spiritual studies and web development among others.

Students can register for up to five classes at a time to engage in reading lessons, videos, homework, and the ability to email or chat with instructors and any other students around the country who are taking the same class.

The learning is self-paced and students have up to six months to complete the course.

Access to the online course is available 24/7 from any computer or Internet device.

“The library feels very strongly that life-long learning is part of our mission. We want to encourage our patrons having easy access to this type of resource. It a way for us to provide an additional opportunity for our users to access educational materials,” said Elliott.

Universal class provides library patrons with the option of more than 40 areas of study. The number of classes in each subject varies by topic from eight to 12.

Each class is taught by an educator certified in that particular area of study. Any amount of students is able to register for the course at any point in time.

After completing the eight to 12 classes in an area of study, many offer the option to purchase a continuing education unit certificate. CEU is the industry measurement of non-credit education. The certificate will prove that the student completed the training.

The courses are non-credit and do not substitute for any state, government, licensing or educational requirements. They are intended for personal enrichment.

Since the Onondaga Public Library launched the universal class program last spring, more than 700 users have enrolled in more than 800 courses with approximately 3,000 log-in sessions.