The Jackson County Public Library continues to offer Gale Courses, which are free online classes from Gale, a Cengage company.
Through this unique program, library district residents can access instructor-led online courses through an Evergreen Indiana opt-in purchase.
“The mission at Jackson County Public Library is to help the community connect, learn and grow,” Library Director Julia Aker said in a news release. “With Gale Courses, many Jackson County residents can brush up on key workplace skills desired by employers but also expand their own personal development and enrichment. The course catalog offers something for everyone.”
Gale Courses offer library customers access to more than 350 instructor-led online courses, including accounting and finance; business; computer applications; design and composition; health care and medical; language and arts; law and legal; personal development; teaching and education; technology; writing and publishing; GED test preparation; and more.
Library cardholders can enroll at no cost. Courses run for six weeks with two new lessons released weekly (12 lessons in total) and new classes beginning every month. The courses are entirely web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes and assignments. A dedicated college-level instructor coordinates every course by pacing learners, answering questions, giving feedback and facilitating discussions.
Seymour resident and author Kathi Linz recently retired from her position as information services assistant for the library after just more than 17 years. She has taken several of the Gale Courses.
She has completed eight courses so far: Writing the Fantasy Novel, Introduction to Internet Writing Markets, Travel Writing, Drawing for the Absolute Beginner, Advanced Fiction Writing, Growing Plants for Fun and Profit, The Craft of Magazine Writing and How to Make Money from Your Writing.
“I am currently taking two more classes, Writing Young Adult Fiction and Romance Writing, and have several more scheduled up to May,” Linz said. “If the database stays on the library website, I will probably continue to take classes until I run out of courses that interest me.”
Linz said 10 years ago, she took courses like these with the exact same course titles and some of the same teachers from Ed2Go.
“If you check out that website (Ed2Go) now, you will find that these classes cost about $149 each,” she said. “Through the library, they are free. How can you beat that?”
Linz said the six-week classes include 12 lessons and a final exam with classes open on Wednesdays and Fridays.
“You have two weeks to complete each lesson. The assignments are helpful but optional,” she said. “The final is open book, and I always print out each lesson so I can save the information for future reference.”
Linz said odds are she will never write a romance novel, but the course is free, so why not take a look at it?
Tiffany York, information services assistant at the library in Seymour, said the courses the library offers are a wonderful way to increase your skills and learn something new through an online-only platform at no cost to library card holders.
“They have professional instructors leading each course with weekly guided videos, instructions, quizzes and group discussions,” York said. “The courses are unlocked usually one week at a time, but you are given two weeks to complete them and can work at your own pace within that time frame.”
She said after completion of a course, the participant receives a certificate.
“I personally have taken the Speed Spanish and the Discover Sign Language courses so far and will be taking many more,” York said. “The videos are incredibly helpful for these types of courses, and I have picked up quite a few new phrases in each.”
She said many of the Gale Courses also come in a series. For example, she will be continuing with Discover Sign Language 2 and Speed Spanish 2.
“I am using these toward a certification at my job here at the library, but people can also use these for other reasons, to just expand their knowledge, for those retired looking to keep their minds engaged, for students to add to their college applications and even homeschooling,” she said.
She is currently homeschooling two of her children, and they are using these courses as a major part of their curriculum. They have been taking Personal Finance, Digital Photography, Writing the Fantasy Novel and Get Started in Game Development so far.
“There is such a variety offered, such as computer applications, photography, health care, criminal law, nonprofit, gardening, teaching, scrapbooking and accounting, that there really is something for everyone,” York said. “Gale Courses has been a wonderful addition to the Jackson County Public Library online resources we offer our community.”
Jackson County Public Library district residents can enroll and participate in courses from home or use the library’s public computers if they don’t have access to one. For information about the catalog of courses offered or to enroll in a course, visit myjclibrary.org.
The direct link for Evergreen Indiana participating libraries is education.gale.com/l-evergreenin. A short video tutorial is available at support.gale.com/doc/courses-video1.
For information, contact Information Services Manager Janet Hensen at [email protected] or 812-405-1833.