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Partnership opens door for community to take free online classes


August 10, 2007

A community-minded partnership between Arizona State University and the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (el Tec) in Mexico allows members of the community to take online courses, many of which teach skills for free, through the ASU Community Learning Center.

Course offerings are taught in Spanish and select indigenous languages. Plans call for the addition of English classes among the more than 90 courses offered through the partnership.

Access to the classes offered through this program has become easier with the opening of the Community Learning Center at University Center on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. In this state-of-the-art learning center, participants may access 15 laptop computer stations to do their coursework.

ASU offers these courses to help participants gain computers skills that are essential in today’s business world and to become more comfortable in an educational environment.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community to learn new skills and to participate in the ASU experience,” says Carol Sumner, program manager for the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus Academic Success Programs unit.

Those who have never worked on a computer before can come to the center for the “Basic Computer Skills” class that includes tutoring from student workers and feedback from el Tec in Monterey, Mexico. The class covers seven modules with subjects ranging from basics such as a mouse’s function to complicated formulas in Excel. Students who complete the basic course receive a certificate from ASU and the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. A graduating class of 20 will celebrate completing the course on Aug. 11 at the ASU downtown campus.

Other course offerings include how to design a Web page, basic math skills, money management and how to write a business plan.

While most classes are free to the public, a handful, such as the “Basic Computer Skills” course, carry a fee of $30 because they offer individualized tutoring. Registration for classes begins the week of Aug. 27.

ASU Community Learning Center staff is networking with organizations such as the Salvation Army and Chicanos por la Causa to inform and encourage their clientele to take advantage of available classes.

The ASU Community Learning Center is open three days during the week at the downtown campus and two days a week at the Tempe campus. ASU student workers also travel to community-based sites to tutor students taking classes at remote locations, such as Frank Elementary School in Guadalupe where students may enroll through Tempe Adult Education.

For more information, go to clc.asu.edu. or call (602) 496-0362.