Have you ever had an interest in taking a course at university, but didn’t want to pay the price required to enroll? Not only is there the cost of tuition, there’s the additional cost of the application fee, the required textbook and additional student fees. Post-secondary education offers a chance to improve your knowledge in a particular subject or work-related area, but it comes with a very high price tag. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to try the course without the financial cost, to see if you liked it before embarking on the path to a post-secondary education? You can.
West Vancouver Memorial Library will be hosting an information session, to provide insight into a way that you can take university courses, through accredited and recognized universities, for minimal, or no, cost. MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses, are a recent development in distance education that allows access to online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. The courses are typically non-credit, but there are often options for receiving recognition for having taken them, and opportunities for receiving credit (which does come with a cost).
MOOC courses have many things in common: video based lectures, interactivity through online quizzes, the ability to participate in online discussions, and frequent feedback so you can monitor your own progress. To find out if you’re interested in participating, it’s as simple as looking through the West Vancouver Memorial Library’s list of MOOC institutions and going from there. The library offers these tips to help you decide if a MOOC is right for you:
- Watch the instructor’s introductory video
- Check the course outline for prerequisites and the level at which the course will be taught
- Look at the instructor’s college webpage and search the web for course reviews.
If you’re interested in finding out more, head to the West Vancouver Memorial Library on Tuesday, September 23, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Give yourself the gift of learning without the financial strings attached.
 West Vancouver Memorial Library
 West Vancouver Memorial Library
If you’re looking for that extra help in learning a new language, look no further. Your BC Public Libraries offer a solution that makes it easy to learn when convenient for you. Search for Mango Languages on your Library webpage and follow these easy steps to getting started:
Step 1: Create your Mango Languages account. You will need your Library Card to access this service, and you will require an email and be asked to create a password.
Step 2: Pick your language. I found this hard with so many choices available. In the end, I closed my eyes and pointed to the screen. I landed on French. I jest; I actually want to learn French to support my daughter in her French Immersion Education and my French skills are limited to say the least. I imagine us, 10 years from now, going on a trip to France together and being able to converse our way around with ease. It’s a long term goal, but one to work towards.
Step 3: Load the program. It doesn’t take too long. Remember the days of dial-up-internet and rejoice that technology has come so far.
Step 4: Start your program by clicking on the appropriate starting point. I’m starting with the basics because my French is so limited. Some of this will be review, but most of it will be new to me.
I have made it through Lesson 1. My daughter likes to laugh at the progress I’ve made so far and corrects me often, but it has been a fun experience for the both of us. Her ability to teach me only reinforces her learning so far and gives her the added confidence of being smarter than her mother. Nothing wrong with that….for now.
For me, the start of the school year is like a new beginning. Summer draws to a close, ending the frenzy of activities that are brought forth by warm days and late sunsets. School returns as does routine and normalcy. The calm of the season slows me down enough to set new goals; look for ways to expand myself in some way. Except this year.
The teachers’ strike has prolonged this transition. My normalcy is not returning. I am scrambling: instead of setting new goals, I am researching what I can do with my children to keep them on track in their learning and keep their minds busy. I am fortunate enough to have daycare lined up for them, but I worry about their minds not being stretched to new heights.
The BC Public Libraries are my first point of contact. In their everyday normal operations are set up to expand the minds of its users. If my children gain delight from story-time at the library, I am happy. If my children get lost in books, even better. If they play on the computer, I know the programs are friendly for them and will teach them something. If I find a program for them to participate in, I know their minds will benefit. The libraries have not changed because of the teachers’ strike. They just continue being awesome by doing what they do.
I also want to review the BC Teaching Curriculum to see what the learning outcomes are. Somehow, I am going to keep my children up to speed with their learning. This is a bit more difficult as I am limited with the amount of time I have to do this. I do not have the hours per day that my children would normally have to learn a curriculum set forth, but every bit of effort will pay off.
Finally, I look around at the various clubs and organizations to see what types of day camps are available. There are a multitude of services being offered through activity and community centres: gymnastics, taekwando, canoeing, etc., that are at a discount rate to give these kids a chance at socializing with their peers while learning a new skill.
Somehow or another, this strike will end. The kids will be back in school expanding their minds. I will go back to setting my own goals and expanding myself in some way. In the meantime, I have to work at creating an interim routine to bridge the gap.