Las Positas College in Livermore is poised to introduce a new educational program designed for a diverse group of students and community members.
The "Lifelong Learning Academy" initiative will provide a number of courses taught by school faculty on various subjects. The community college encourages people to revisit a hobby or interest, possibly after retirement or undergraduate education.
Notably, courses are offered without homework or exams. This type of learning, the school said, will give students the chance to explore new fields and skills without an extreme feeling of pressure or commitment.
Kristina Whalen, vice president of academic services for Las Positas College, described the unique benefits of this learning style.
"(Students) gain the intellectual enrichment that comes with being in a community of learners without the burden of assignments and exams required to award credit toward a degree. This approach appeals to an audience that seeks the intrinsic worth of learning," Whalen said.
"Moreover, without the workload of grading homework and exams, professors have the capacity to invite more lifelong learners into the classroom," she added.
The program will include classes on nutrition science, gender and sexuality, cinema, archaeology and music studies. Whalen said the school hopes to expand the course offerings over the next several years.
"Scholarly articles on lifelong learning show that people gain confidence, creativity, and enjoyment by sustained connection to the pursuit of new knowledge and ideas," Whalen said. "The Lifelong Learning Academy provides those rewards to Tri-Valley community members."
Faculty member Daniel Cearley from the department of anthropology will be instructing courses within the Lifelong Learning Academy. Cearley told the Weekly his introductory archeology course provides a foundation about the science of archaeological investigations.
"It is very hands-on with periodic exercises designed to expose students to techniques archaeologists use to gather data and ask questions about the past," he said.
Cearley also discussed the advantages of the learning academy.
"These sorts of programs produce a more diverse campus environment where students from various ages and backgrounds can interact. This sharing of knowledge across generations provides a rich learning experience for all," Cearley said. "I hope that the Lifelong Learning Academy will encourage ever increasing numbers of people from the Tri-Valley area, and beyond, to see Las Positas College as a welcoming place to cultivate our inherent curious nature."
School officials have said enrollment in a course does not impact a student's grade-point average but will be included on the official transcript. First courses are offered at a flat rate of $30, each additional course after that is $1.
Classes will align with the regular school schedule, starting Jan. 17.
To learn more about the Las Positas Lifelong Learning Academy, visit laspositascollege.edu.
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