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One-day 101s kick off Oct. 9, with Western Religion 101

Ever look around and realize you now know full well the meaning of phrases like "Youth is wasted on the young," and "If I only knew then what I know now," and "Hindsight is 20/20"?

If so, you're certainly not alone. As we get older, most of us discover one of the great age-acquired wisdoms of the world: that maybe we DIDN'T actually know everything when we were in college.

So maybe you majored in French lit, but secretly yearned to argue passionately about politics and foreign relations. Or perhaps you were elbow-deep in frog carcasses in biology class, and couldn't take the courses in ancient history you would have liked. Or even (shudder to think it) you may have, accidentally (but only once, of course), fallen asleep during that history of Western religion course...only to become intrigued by that very subject matter as an adult.

Whatever the reason, you can now head back into the classroom for a crash course in topics you always wished you had studied (or wished you had paid more attention to) with LearningLife's new 101 series of courses.

The 101s offer a daylong overviews of many popular "collegiate" topics, including music, politics, religion, economics, earth science, biology, literature, and more.

Says program director Lara Roy, "The goal of the 101 series is to give people a chance to try a course in a topic that may not be completely familiar to them--or topics that people either missed out on in college or possibly took but would like to revisit. Rather than the LearningLife short courses [formerly known as Compleat Scholar], which often take an in-depth look at a very specific topic, the 101s provide people with a broad overview of a subject. They're designed like an introductory college course, but all in one day."

The 101 series kicked off in May with Art History 101.

Roy, who has a master's degree in art history, co-taught the course with art historian and instructor Allan Kohl from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

"Many of [the participants] either took an art history class long ago and have always wanted to take another, or they were frequent travelers and museum visitors who just wanted to know more about what they were seeing," says Roy.

She continues, "as an instructor it was great to spend the day with a really engaged and interested group of people who were all taking part because they had an interest in the topic."

Course participants agree. In their evaluations, Lois King called it "an excellent overview, [with] entertaining speakers and visuals." Sandra Backowski was impressed with "how much information was conveyed in a short amount of time."

And although the 101s are designed to welcome beginners, their appeal is such that even individuals who are familiar with the topic can have a good time. "The 101 series will appeal to anyone who enjoys learning and would like to spend the day exploring a topic of interest," Roy says.

"People can come with little or no knowledge, or they can be quite knowledgeable and interested in discussing the topic with other interested adults. Really, if you enjoy any program that brings learning alive for the intellectually curious, then these would be perfect."

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