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Student Resources

Studying In The Summer

By WENDY TERRY - March 9 2011

Summer is a great time to take a course! Although the selection is more limited than in the fall, winter and spring terms, most educational providers offer courses during the summer months. You just have to look harder and register early to make sure you get a spot.

This year we have found the process of helping you shop for courses more difficult. A couple of colleges have changed the way they organize their calendars (see Seneca and Humber). Please read our comments and let these colleges know what you think.

Toronto District SchoolBoard (TDSB)

General Interest courses at the TDSB are easy to shop for since they put out a calendar that is completely devoted to their summer programs. Courses and sites are reduced in number during the summer months, so remember to register early.

Registration starts May 22 for July classes. Calendars will be out a week before that. Mark the date! Call 416-338-4111

Unfortunately, the TDSD Summer calendar was not published in time to be considered for this issue of Learning Curves.

ESL courses are offered at numerous sites. Take note: Students who are currently registered in the Spring term get first priority for July courses. Register now for ESL classes to be sure of getting a course for the July term. . Call 416-338-4300

TDSB’s Next Steps offers a range of Skills Training and Employment Preparation Services in Toronto and the GTA all year long. This year, due to federal government cutbacks, they will not be offering LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers) during the summer months.

Toronto Catholic District School Board

This school board offers English language instruction for newcomers year round.

Community Colleges

To find courses which start in June, July, and yes, even August, it’s better to scan the course calendars by start date under the subject area that interests you. Then when you find one that starts in the summer, scroll up to see what it is. Otherwise, you can spend a lot of time scanning course descriptions only to find out they are not offered in the summer. We used this method to research this Summer Learning article.

Colleges offer condensed courses in the summer, labeled Workshops, Intensive, Accelerated, or Boot Camp. You can take your holidays, or a couple of days in lieu time, or even a couple of Saturdays or Sundays, and complete a course.

Summer offerings can be grouped into two categories: general interest/broadly available courses like Computer courses, or general interest courses that are less widely available. This article gives you a sampling of both. Some are designed for particular professions. If a Nursing course is offered, for instance, people in that profession will probably know about it. Remember, you can often find interesting courses listed in areas where you might not think to look.

Distance Education courses are now part of the mainstream offerings and often have monthly intakes.

Every college has a core of similar courses, like computers, along with others that are the particular specialty of that college.

Often you will see a summer course you want but it lists a prerequisite – a course you need to have completed before registering – that you discover is not available in the summer.   Don’t let that put you off! Phone the registration desk and explain that because of your work experience or previous education you are certain that you will be able to manage the coursework. In reality, most of the time nobody even asks for proof of having completed the prerequisite when you are registering. After all, it’s your money. If it turns out that you can’t do the course work, the money is yours to lose.

Subject areas are bolded and courses are italicized.

George Brown 2011-2012 Continuing Education Calendar.

General interest and broadly available courses include Computer Applications (Basics) such as Computer Keyboarding, for those who are tired of hunting and pecking their way around a key board, or Computer Literacy and Windows, for those who finally want to organize their files into folders: Microsoft ACCESS I and II Excel I and II, Word I and IIAccounting lists more specialized areas such as ACCPAC- Accounts Payable and General Ledger II. Under Digital Publishing, you’ll find Adobe courses for MacIntosh and Windows. If Web Design interests you, consider an Introduction to Web Design and Development as well as more advanced courses in Dreamweaver andJava/Script

Under Business and Legal Studies, I found a new course that could interest retiring baby boomers looking for a new career but who might never have thought to look for it here: Starting a Pet Care Business. You can do this course on weekends in June.

Liberal Studies usually lists college preparation courses such as Math Essentials, Biology and Speaking with Confidence.

English and Communications and ESL offers a variety of courses: Canadian English and Culture; Essay Writing: English for Office Workers; Language Test Preparation; Reduce Your Accent I and for Interviews; Spoken English and Writing. Under English Foundations, designed for native as well as non-native speakers, look for: College English; English Essentials and Skills for College English. Under Business WritingProfessional Communications.

Under Languages there are numerous courses with late May starts dates: French, German, Greek, Spanish, American Sign Language.

In the Distance Education section, there were some interesting courses with June start dates: Novel Writing I, How to Start Writing Your Own Novel; Medical Terminology: Business Law; Human Sexuality; Introduction to Psychology; Introduction to Sociology

For professionals, there are summer offerings under Community ServicesFashion and Jewellery (a program unique to George Brown) Film and PhotographyHospitality and Culinary ArtsInformation Technology, and extensive offerings in Technology and Trades.

Some of the general interest in these professional areas include numerous courses in Image Consulting, Basic Sewing, Jewellery I; Digital Photography, Photoshop Basics; Baking Arts; Carpentry for Women Home Maintenance and Improvements

Call 416-415-2000

Seneca College

This year, Seneca College has published their summer courses in an online calendar format only. As a result, it is onerous to browse their calendar for summer start dates. You have to search from subject area to course title, then back to the schedule. Whereas our strategy for this article was to scan for summer start dates then look back up on the page to read the description of the course.

The powers that be at Seneca should read Lisa Evans’ essay in the Globe (March 28, 2012), I’m a continuing-education junkie. She talks about her excitement in sitting down with a continuing education calendar, spending hours browsing through it and highlighting courses of interest. Lisa is no baby-boomer technophobe. She is 29 years old.

To quote Karen Ferguson, the first editor of Learning Curves, computer browsers “drill” down into the data, they do not let you browse around. Adult learners are browsers. They enjoy shopping around for courses that are of interest to themselves, family members, friends, co-workers and so on. This client type will grow as the boomers move into their third career and/or leisure learning market.

We hope Seneca goes back to printing a calendar. In the meantime, if you go to our web-site,, you’ll find a list of what Seneca offered in the Summer last year in our May June 2011 issue. Start into their on-line catalogue for Spring 2012 from there.

If you would like Seneca to print a calendar, call 416-493-4144. Ask for the office of the Dean of Continuing Education.

Centennial College

General interest and broadly available courses are listed under Computers and Information Technology. Whereas George Brown lists application courses and computer professional computer courses under different subject headings, Centennial lists them together. There are numerous professional courses in Software Quality Assurance and Testing, Unix/Linux Systems Administration. You can advance your computer skills through Microsoft Word, or Excel or Access Advanced. Courses are all offered in July.

Under Lifestyle and Leisure, boomers might find Caring for those with Alzheimer’s, or Sandwich Generation 101 interesting. Or maybe you’re ready for a course in Home Renovations or Time Management?

Many of our readers are teachers and counsellors with a reduced work load in the summer. You might want to think about doing some PD by picking up courses like Assessment and Evaluation in ESL, or the Pedagogy of On-Line Learning listed under Teaching and Learning.

Under Transportation (an area that Centennial specializes in), there are courses for professionals like Driving Instructor Training but you’ll also find General Interest ones like Car Care Clinic for Women – a Saturday morning well-spent. And don’t forget the Motorcycle Courses!

In the Distance Education section, there are many courses with monthly start dates (June 1, July 1, August.1). These include Academic Upgrading courses ACE in Math for Apprenticeship or Business or Technology; Biology, Chemistry, Computers.

There are numerous offerings in Accounting and FinancialManagement and Marketing, Microsoft Applications. Under General Education, you might want to take a look at Principles of Psychology or Sociology. Given our increasingly globalized world, two courses listed under Relocation Specialist caught my eye: Introduction to Relocation andEssentials of International Relocation.

Professionals can look under Engineering Technology, or Health, or Hospitality.

Humber College

Humber still publishes a hard copy print calendar but does not publish the schedule in the calendar. You have to go online and scroll down through subject and course to find scheduling. Even the Distance Education course listings require “drilling down.”

This might work for Fall and Winter Terms when start dates are consistent (early September and early January). For the Spring/Summer Term, when start dates are spread out anywhere from March to August, it does not.

You can waste a lot of time looking for courses in June or July and having to scroll down to find the schedules for each one.

For adult learners, dates, days, and times are often as important as the content since they have to fit courses into hectic schedules. On a visit to Ireland in 1996, I saw a calendar for an educational association that was organized according to the day of the week. You could scan what was available on the nights of the week that you were free. I remember thinking that this group really understood how to organize courses for adults.

If you would like Humber to put the schedules back into their calendars, call 416-675-5005. Ask for the office of the Dean of Continuing Education.

Google Analytics-the driver or the learner?

A note about why educational institutions might drive adult learners to their websites instead of providing them with a hard copy calendar. Other than saving paper, they want to track “conversions.” If you go to their website and buy a course, your visit has been “converted.” They can track this through programs like Google Analytics just the way that corporations like Master Card can draw up your personal profile by tracking your purchases.

This robotic focus on tracking visits and conversions misses the point about how adults buy courses. Buying a course is not an impulse buy. Nor is it one where you buy the weekly necessities of life, like bread and toilet paper. It is a decision that is usually pondered for some time. Students mull over topics, costs, times, the fit with their interests and career ideas, etc. You may see a course highlighted in Learning Curves or a summer calendar one year but not have the time to take that course until the following year.

Maybe one of these educational institutions should consider asking their marketing students to study how adults truly shop for and buy courses. Then, instead of computer technology determining how courses are sold, the real shopping patterns of adults would drive College marketing strategies.

In the meantime, please let Learning Curves know how you shop for courses by going to our Facebook site: LEARNINGCURVES –WEA. You can also go to our Twitter account: LEARNINGCURVES1.

GTA Colleges

Sheridan College

Sheridan’s calendar lists courses alphabetically, according to the letters in their course codes along with their schedules, rather than listing courses under a program area. If you find a course that interests you listed under a specific program area, you’ll need to go to the course listing section to see the schedule. Going from the course listings to the program area is more difficult as it is often not clear where a course code like VDES fits. FYI, it is a photography course in Arts and Design.  

Adults generally shop for courses rather than programs since they are often rounding out or adding to their education. Youth are more likely to shop for a program since they are building their educational base. If these program and course schedules were listed together, it would result in a whole lot less flipping back and forth  

If you would like Humber to combine program areas and course listings in the calendar, call 416-905-845-9430. Ask to speak to the Dean of Continuing Education.

Under Computer Studies, there are Adobe courses offered on the weekends in July. Besides Adobe Photoshop Fundamentals, there are numerous advanced courses.

Also under Computer Studies, there a number of Saturday courses in July and August such as: Excel Macros and VBA Level 1, or 2 or 3.

Considering today’s focus on change, under Business-Management there is a course on May 26th, called Managing Change.

Under Arts and Design, you’ll find a weekend course in June called Niagara-on- the-Lake Travel Photography

Under Arts and Design, there is a one-week course in June on Landscape Painting with Len Aguanno.

Under Manufacturing Technology and Trades, there are AutoCAD Level 1 or 2 or 3 courses offered on a Saturday or two nights a week in July.

A number of Communication Skills Assessments dates are scheduled in August. It is necessary to attend one of these sessions if you want to enroll in Basic Communication Skills or Essential Communication Skills listed under Communications and Languages in the fall.

Under Recreation and Leisure, you will findthe Motorcycle courses.

Courses offered as Distance Education are listed as such under the title. None of the ones offered in June, July, and August were offered this way.

Durham College Winter Spring 2012

This Calendar makes two things really easy to find. First of all, the one day workshops are listed right in front of the calendar and are highlighted in the course offerings rather than being embedded in program and course offerings which one assumes are all one term long. Secondly, they also highlight college preparation programs offered in the summer at the front of the calendar.

Thank you, Durham College, for making it easy for the busy adult learner to shop!

In June, there are a series of one day workshops detailed under Computers in Excel Macros and VBA Level 1, or 2 or 3.

Under Management, there is a one-month-long course running from June to July, called Individuals at Work. Maybe it will help you understand your co-workers?

Under Leisure and Learning, you can find a number of Motorcycle courses.

Durham offers an extensive number of online courses which have monthly intake. They are organized alphabetically by course title. I have grouped a sample of them in related areas. BusinessAccounting, Accounting, Auditing, Report Writing, Cost Accounting, Economics, Human Resources Management, Managerial Accounting, Marketing. ComputersAccess, Excel, Word, Windows, Java, Power Point, Quick Books. Teaching AdultsAdult Learning, Developing Across the Lifespan. Languages: French. Liberal ArtsSociology.


See our front page feature story, Why Not U? for these offerings.

Community Based Programs

Community organizations offer courses year round and have continuous intake. Go to Select Employment, Education, and Training. Then select Vocational Training.

Career Colleges

Career Colleges run programs year round and have continuous intake so summer is not a down time for them either. Go to the Ontario Association for Career Colleges’ website:

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