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Noncredit courses offer noncompetitive setting for learning

Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor
(217) 333-2894;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The basics of using the Internet, insights into local nature, and music from opera to Sousa to beginning piano.  All are among the choices this spring in noncredit courses and lecture series sponsored by the University of Illinois.

Also among the offerings: a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the university’s new Spurlock Museum, an introduction to black-and-white photography, and an exploration of the Inklings, a group of mid-20th century English writers known for their worlds of fantasy and mystery.

Sponsored by the U. of I.’s Office of Continuing Education, the spring-semester personal and professional enrichment programs are presented in a noncompetitive, informal atmosphere.  There are no exams or grades.  Instructors are selected primarily from the university faculty.  Classes will meet at locations on the university campus or in the Central Illinois community.

Prospective students are encouraged to enroll at the earliest opportunity since some classes may fill quickly.  Enrollment is limited to people 18 years or older.  Fees range between $15 and $215.  Discounts are available for some courses to people 60 or older.

Among the courses offered:

• “An Approach to Opera for the Musician and the Non-Musician,” an eight-week lecture/performance approach to opera, incorporating the Krannert Center production of the “Pelléas et Mélisande,” by Claude Debussy.  Monday evenings starting Feb. 28.

• “Working the ’Net:  Getting Down to Work on the Internet,” an eight-week series designed to help professionals learn concepts of how to make productive use of the Internet in their organization and in their professional lives.

For the most part, “Working the ’Net” classes will be taught through lecture and demonstration, but some hands-on opportunities will be provided.  One may take all eight of the sessions in the series or selected sessions.  Sessions include “The Internet in Plain English,” Feb. 15; “Productive Web Searching I,” Feb. 22; “Web Site Construction I: Thinking Big, Starting Small,” Feb. 29; Productive Web Searching II,” March 7; “Web Site Construction II: Building the Framework,” March 21; Productive Use of e-mail,” March 28; “Web Site Construction III:  Getting It Online,” April 4; “Web Site Traffic – Building It, Analyzing It,” April 11.

• “Tickling the Ivories:  Beginning Piano for Adults,” a 12-week series focusing on the development of basic musicianship skills at the keyboard using state of-the-art keyboards during class.  Tuesday evenings starting Feb. 15 for part 1, or Wednesday evenings starting Feb. 16 for part 2 (for those who previously took part 1).

• “The Seasons of Allerton,” a pair of two-Saturday courses, one in the spring and one in the summer, highlighting seasonal-specific natural and man-made wonders of Allerton Park’s 1,500 acres of native floodplain, upland forest, landscape gardens and outdoor sculptures.  Spring sessions will be April 22 and May 6; summer sessions will be July 15 and Aug. 5.  One may enroll in one or both.

• “Introduction to Photography,” an eight-week course concentrating on the basics of black-and-white 35mm photography.  Thursday evenings starting Feb. 17.

• “Meet the Inklings:  The Fantasy and Mystery Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Charles Williams,” a nine-week interactive course in which participants explore samples of this circle of English writers’ works and share their own mystery, fantasy and essay writing.  Sunday evenings starting March 19.

• “John Philip Sousa, the ‘March King,’ ” a four-week course providing a look at the ‘March King’ and his U. of I. connection, his professional and private life, his compositions, and his lasting friendship with Albert Austin Harding, Sousa’s colleague and a director of the U. of I. bands.  Tuesday late afternoons starting Feb. 15.

• “Creative Movement for Adults,” a six-week course that integrates exercises from various disciplines while developing poise, concentration and inspiration for the child within.  Tuesday late afternoons starting April 4.

• “The Making of a Museum,” a two-session program that will provide an opportunity through presentations and hands-on activities to see the new Spurlock Museum in progress.  (The target date for the museum opening is February 2001.)  Wednesday evenings, Feb. 16 and 23.

• “The Ecological Wonders of the Twin Cities,” a five-week course in which participants will join Audubon Society members and other local environmental experts examining natural habitations and wildlife native to Champaign County.  Friday afternoons starting April 14.

Additional courses are being offered for individuals age 55 and older, including seven U. of I. Elderhostel programs and eight Senior Scholar programs.

For more information, registration or to receive a comprehensive spring 2000 course catalog – listing both personal and professional enrichment programs and programs for older adults – call (217) 333-7369.