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Lifelong learners sign up for spring classes

  • Updated

Older adults looking for new learning opportunities registered for classes Friday at an open house event from USC Aiken's Department of External Programs, Continuing Education and Conferences.

The USCA campus offers two programs for senior adults: the Academy for Lifelong Learning and the McGrath Computer Learning Center.

The Academy hosts a wide range of lecture classes, which are just for fun and don't include homework or tests. Harriet Haynes, president of of the Academy, said courses about health local history have been popular.

This spring, some of the course titles include "Famous Aiken Winter Colony Visitors You've Never Heard Of," "Tales of Old Edgefield," "Age and the Brain" and "Great Plants for Growing in Your Southern Gardens."

Haynes said there was a decrease last semester in membership at the Academy, but classes for spring were filling up during the first few hours of registration.

"The people are, for the most part, mature, and this gives them an option to go out and meet people...," Haynes said. "Everybody seems to thoroughly enjoy it."

At the McGrath center, students can learn skills in computers, smartphones, tablets and even TV streaming.

Wayne Rickman, coordinator for the McGrath center, said TV streaming, iPhone, iPad and Microsoft Excel are some of the program's most popular courses.

"A lot of the older people don't know about computers or how to do something online, or those kind of things, and we think we help them out a great deal to show them how to do it," Rickman said.

The program used to focus on basic computer skills for senior citizens who likely retired before getting the chance to use personal computers, Nancy Hughes, marketing chair for the McGrath center, said.

Now, as retired people have more experience in personal computers, McGrath has expanded to offer intermediate and advanced courses, Hughes said.

"I just think it's a great program for the community," Hughes said.

Although attendees could register at the open house event, registration for both programs is still available in person, by mail and online.

For more information, visit for the Academy for Lifelong Learning, or for the McGrath Computer Learning Center.

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