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The art of educating everyone

Julie ThomasBy Julie Thomas

The January – August 2020 EdVenture, Iowa Valley Continuing Education’s class schedule, was recently mailed and distributed to communities across the Iowa Valley service area. Registration is now in full swing for a multitude of courses that range from short-term career training to dancing or estate planning … and everything in between!

Those of us who arrange the IVCE classes often get asked: “How do you decide what to offer?” “Where do you find instructors?” or “Why don’t you offer XYZ?” There is no one answer to those questions.

Courses are always created to meet a need or fulfill a request. Ideas for course topics come from individuals, businesses, the news, student evaluations, and repeats of successful classes.

How do we find instructors? News articles, clubs and organizations, professionals, small businesses, and educational institutions are popular resources for us. Sometimes instructors contact us directly and offer to teach a class. Good instructors have skills or expertise in a specific subject and the ability to explain or communicate it to others. A college degree is not always necessary, but excellent communication skills are a must.

The members of Creative Retirement, for example, told us that some in their group were looking to downsize and/or move to an alternative housing situation, while others are helping parents do the same. “Downsizing: Planning your next Move,” presented by a local business, was offered last fall. Because those instructors provided practical ideas and solutions, and had great evaluations, they will present a class open to all in February.

In the area of computers and technology, we receive calls from people whose jobs require both basic and advanced computer skills and specific software expertise. Students from our Microsoft Excel Specialist class last fall told us they would like the same type of training for Microsoft Word, so that’s being offered in April and May. Another group requested Computer Skills for Seniors, which will be offered at two levels in June and July. Mini lessons will provided an overview for the seniors, followed by one-on-one coaching by MHS students and their instructor.

Do you need to learn something specific? Have an idea for a class? Want to share a favorite hobby or skill? We would love to talk with you!

Julie Thomas is a Community & Workforce Education Coordinator for Iowa Valley Continuing Education.

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