All posts by John Eby

Memphis can seem miraculous!

[This spring, experience the home of the blues and the
birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll on a fun, three-day excursion in the magnificent river city of Memphis, Tennessee. Parkland Community Education Program Manager John Eby, no stranger to the sights and sounds of Memphis, provides a taste of what’s to come.]

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Memphis, Tennessee, is a hard-working southern city that requires several hours of travel through relatively monotonous countryside to reach. When you approach it in the daytime, you wonder if there’s anything special about it, because it looks like many other metro areas: a little desolate, a little desperate, with a beltway around its stone, glass, and steel structures. And then, there’s the very wide and very muddy Mississippi splashing up against its western side.

But! As the sun goes down, and the neon comes on, a miraculous thing happens! Memphis transforms into one of the most fun, most delicious, and most welcoming cities in America. If you’ve been there, you know that Beale Street is lined with Blues venues, BBQ restaurants, and small-time vendors with shelves full of kitschy souvenirs, rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, and of course … everything Elvis.

If you’ve never been to Memphis, know that you arrive early, you stay late, you eat meat that’s sloppy with sauce and desserts that are rich and satisfying. Then you’re expected to hop from house to house to hear the Blues played by up-and-comers and old-timers alike. You can eat more, imbibe more, and enjoy the true heart and soul of the city until the early morning hours. (Specific recommendations from a two-time visitor: Blues City Café and King’s Palace.)

At St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, real miracles happen, and Parkland College has a unique and long-lasting connection to the medical facility’s campus. In 2011, students, staff, faculty, and affiliates—36 altogether—spent spring break completing the design and installing the landscaping for a garden outside the hospital’s main entrance and adjacent to the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion. Read a pretrip profile here. Since its completion and dedication as “The Hope Garden”, this space has served patients and their families as a place for meditation, reflection, and play. It’s a special connection to a miraculous place for the Parkland community.

Join us on a great three-day trip, April 6–8, 2016, and experience these highlights of Memphis and more! Our itinerary includes visits to Graceland (we can’t forget Elvis), the Mississippi River Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Center for Southern Folklore, and the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion at St. Jude, with free time to enjoy the fantastic meals and music served up on Beale Street.

Reserve your spot today; your deposit is due Dec. 18, with the balance due Feb. 26. For more information about the trip and to complete a registration/deposit form, please contact Parkland College Community Education at 217/353-2055 or communityed@parkland.edu.

We look forward to hearing from you!

No Panic Necessary for Lack in Computer Skills

You’re a fairly computer savvy thirty-something. The phone rings. It’s your mother, and it’s the same panic again:

“IthoughtIsavedtheletterI’dwrittenbutnowit’sgoneandIcan’tfinditanywhere.WhatdidIdowrong?
Can you help? Please?!”

Can you help her? Yes, you can. You can recommend classes that will make her feel more confident and competent and that will allow her to enjoy working with the computer. Panic controlled.

Parkland College Community Education offers computer courses for skill building at three levels. Jane Bateman, our experienced and patient instructor, leads participants step by step toward an easier connection with the technology and its advantages.

  • Beginner, Beginner Computers starts with the basics. Learn efficient use of the mouse and important terminology.
  • Beginner Computers is for those who have a nodding acquaintance with a computer. Learn skills to increase your comfort level.
  • Intermediate Computers goes beyond computer basics. Learn how to navigate using various computer programs and the benefits of all they can do.
  • Computer File Management shows there are very efficient ways to format and organize computer files. Learn the best practices, and start getting information and documents in order for quick and easy access.
  • You’ve Got Mail: An Introduction to Using Email and the Internet gets you comfortable with the ins and outs of managing email and shows you how to search for information on the Internet and download pictures (intermediate-level computing skills required).

Former students have gained useful information from these classes, and our instructor always gets good grades. In fact, many of our older students rave about Jane’s warm and helpful manner:

“Great instructor.”
“Helpful and willing to work with all levels of ability.”
“…personable and helpful.”
“Keep Jane!”

Perhaps neither age nor experience is the issue; maybe work and life haven’t required a computer or only minimal work with one. Maybe an employer had a system that was new in 1992 and now, with plenty of time on your hands, you would like to upgrade to 2015-2016 and beyond. These classes will boost your skills, too.

Begin at the appropriate level. Figure out what else you need to know, and we can most likely find a way to teach you.

And… after these five classes, you can call your mother, just to chat.

 

[John Eby is program manager for Parkland Community Education.]

Coloring? For adults?

Ready to relax, use your imagination, and revisit your inner child? Then spend a few hours coloring! Parkland College Community Education is offering a unique and creative outlet over three evenings this September.

You’ll have fun and explore the basics of visual art when you register for “Coloring for Adults.” When you do, you’ll join a current trend happening across the country–check out this article about adult coloring released just this past week.

During your first class, on Tuesday, September 1, visual artist Ella van Wyk will help you explore the materials, mark-making techniques, and basic color theory behind this experience. By week two, you will find your coloring abilities have reached a whole new level after a guided work session with the instructor.

At the end of your last class, you get to choose from a selection of original coloring pages by van Wyk to use as your final project and celebrate everyone’s finished pieces, with an informal critique of pictures and process.

Give yourself permission to enjoy this age-old method of stress relief. The fee for “Coloring for Adults” is $59, which includes all supplies for the class. To register, please contact Parkland College Community Education at 217/353-2055 or visit us at 1315 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign.

Hear, View History with Community Education

Parkland Community Education classes are challenging, dynamic, often fun, and, of course, always educational.  We engage students and the community in learning more about topics with which you’re familiar and in gaining new knowledge and experiences about topics you’re encountering for the first time.

We present our classes during times we hope are convenient for you, and we hold them in various, easily accessible locations.  Our listing is always available online at www.parkland.edu/communityed, or you can receive a printed listing by calling 217/353-2055.

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We have quite the treat for you this spring: an exciting tour of American Civil War history, led by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable historian! PLUS, we’ll take you on a trip to visit places well-known to then President Abraham Lincoln, and let you experience contemporary interpretations of the man in Springfield, Illinois.

365px-Abraham_Lincoln_head_on_shoulders_photo_portrait

Since 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Community Education is offering four occasions for you to listen, discuss, and debate the Civil War and the culture surrounding that time, with historian Christina Smith.

A master’s candidate at Illinois State University, Smith’s areas of interest, research, and writing include 19th-century culture, the American Civil War, and the post-war Reconstruction era.  Her passion for the subject takes her on yearly pilgrimages to Gettysburg, as well as most of the major Civil War battlefields.

Also, don’t forget to reserve your spot soon for our spring bus trip to visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Old State Capitol, and Lincoln’s final resting place.

The Civil War history sessions and the trip information are posted below. Course dates, times, and registration fees vary.  Please contact Parkland Community Education for more information: 217/353-2055.

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North & South: Really so Different?  (1:30 PM — Tuedsay, February 24 — BTCE room J127)  Analyze the similarities and differences between the North and the South. How peculiar was the American South? What were many of the self-proclaimed Southern distinctions? Was slavery the only divisive factor?   fee = $9

Battle of Shiloh: Dividing the Nation  (1:30 PM — Tuesday, March 3 — BTCE room J127)  The Battle of Shiloh shocked the nation. April 6 – 7, 1862, were the  most devastating early days of the Civil War. Discuss and debate personal, cultural, and political perspectives and aspects of the War.    fee = $9

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Cultural Divisions: A Woman Not of Her Time  (1:30 PM — Monday, April 3 — BTCE room J125)  Elizabeth Packard was imprisioned and declared insane because she refused to conform to gender roles and traditional cultural and religious norms. Hear how she helped reshape the idea of womanhood in the mid-19th century.   fee = $9

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Going Home: Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Train  (1:30 PM — Monday, April 13 — BTCE room J127)  Possibly the longest train ride in American history began in Washington, DC, on April 21 and ended in Springfield, Illinois on May 3, 1865. Hear how the North/South political climate was changed, and the 1654-mile journey that brought the slain president back to the Prairie Capital.  fee = $5

Lincoln’s Life and the Presidential Museum  (8:00 AM — Friday, May 1 — departure from BTCE parking lot)  Travel to Springield and visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum, honoring America’s 16th president. Special exhibits, memorabilia, and unique performances make this museum a truly unforgettable experience. Continue the history lesson with a visit to the Old State Capitol and Lincoln’s Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery.    fee = $39 (lunch additional)  registration deadline = April 17.