Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Universal Class is a certified online learning service that provides continuing education courses free to all Library patrons. Students earn certificates and continuing education credits. The courses have lessons, assignments, activities, exams and assessments of your progress. The course selection is vast - there are more than 500 courses in the catalog and they include Alternative Medicine, Business, Do It Yourself, Crafts & Hobbies, Social Work, Pet & Animal Care, Career Training, Self Help, Web Development, General Education, Spiritual Development and Test Preparation. The number of courses available on such diverse topics is truly mind boggling. You can learn everything from Operations Management, to bread baking and freshwater fishing! I have been exploring this service and taken some classes. It has been fun, useful and surprisingly challenging.
Investing 101 was my first course. It is a subject I didn’t know well but wanted to understand. Once you select or “join” a course, the first page gives a summary of the number of lessons, exams, and assignments it has, along with an estimate of how many hours it should take to complete. I learned the basics of economic markets, the difference between stocks & bonds, what a mutual fund is and how to create a portfolio. Because I set the pace, I could zip through the sections I understood and spend longer on the more complex ones. After 6 lessons, 8 exams & assignments and roughly 4 hours, I earned a certificate.
Next, I took Cake Decorating 101. I took this out of curiosity more than anything as I have taken cake decorating classes and been a baker for years. The course was offered for credit or video audit, as are most courses. I chose to audit and found the videos to be clear and the lessons thorough. It was also fun to watch the instructors decorate the cakes.
The class I am currently taking is Microsoft Excel. I used Excel many years ago but have forgotten most of it and this course is the most involved and complicated one so far. I am on the fourth lesson with eleven more to go. The video tutorials that accompany the text are life savers because there is so much information on each spreadsheet it would be impossible for me to understand it without the visual aid. Taking Excel has been a challenge, but this has been a great way to learn.
If you would like to take advantage of the fantastic courses offered through Universal Class, just grab your library card, create and account, and get started. Who knows where the learning will take you?