Sound Bites - Issue #7 / March 2014
Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine
In This Issue:
- A Bittersweet Farewell to Barbara Bickerton
- What's New...
- Tarot Reading Classes Help Discover a Better Future
- Bob Cohen & "Bobology" for Your Technology Needs
A Bittersweet Farewell to
Career & Contract Ed.
Sometimes it’s the people you don’t see, the ones who work quietly and modestly behind the scenes, who are among the most crucial to a program’s success.
This is the case with Barbara Bickerton, administrative assistant, who has worked tirelessly for the last 22 years at Community Education to make sure classes run smoothly, instructors receive the support they need, and students get answers to their queries.
Alas, we will be saying goodbye to Barbara on April 1 as she embarks on a new chapter in her life: retirement.
Over the years, her strong work ethic and her dedication to solve problems for hundreds of students and instructors have been exemplary.
But don’t take my word for it. Here is what Monona Wali, memoir and creative writing instructor, has to say: “Barbara has made teaching at Community Ed so seamless – she's always on top of my rosters and classes. It took me a while to realize she was there, behind the scenes, making everything work so smoothly, and I was so happy to finally meet her in person – after about two or three years working there. She is so positive and supportive and I will miss her presence there in the corner office!"
I’m personally appreciative of Barbara’s sincerity and thoughtfulness – which has helped to make Community Ed a more harmonious unit.
We’re sad to see her go but wish Barbara much happiness in her new life.
Director of Career & Contract Education
Community & Contract Education
Our newly created “Secrets of Public Works Projects Series” debuted in January with great reviews.
“This course provides so much clarity in prevailing wage and calculating/completing reports for certified payroll,” Elana Daley said about the “Prevailing Wage: Tips You Need Before You Bid” inaugural class. “It makes the process 1,000 times easier!”
For those of you who are interested in bidding for public construction jobs, our series is designed to be your blueprint to succeed in Public Works construction. We will even connect you to the Santa Monica Small Business Development Center for one-on-one assistance in putting what you learn to work for you.
California has $100 billion in approved public works projects that require small Business Enterprise participation goals, so if you are in the construction business, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity to expand your revenue.
Our brand new “Estimating for Greater Profit” starts April 26.
Tarot Reading Classes Help Discover a Better Future
To spend an evening in Davida Rappaport’s Tarot Reading class is to be
immersed in a rich system of human guidance with Medieval roots but
with a simple goal: to understand ourselves better and discover how
we might live better in the future.
Observing Rappaport’s first of six SMC Community Education sessions
of her “Practical Tarot – the Minor Arcana” class reveals a fascinating
world of symbols laden with meaning, the power of intuition, and a
group of students with intriguing reasons for taking the course.
“I teach and use Tarot as a means of providing information so people
can make their own choices,” Rappaport says. “My goal is to entertain,
enlighten and empower and I teach my students to do the same.”
Rappaport teaches both the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana in two separate
classes. Major Arcana is a suit of 22 cards in the Tarot deck that represents
life’s spiritual journey. Minor Arcana are the 56 suit cards of the 78-card Tarot deck that represent the people and events encountered in life.
She covers the elements of Minor Arcana – wands, swords, cups and pentacles – and what they represent. The meanings get more detailed and layered when aces, twos, threes and so forth are added. But these are intended to serve as general guides.
“I try to get students to stop overthinking or trying to remember the information they learned in the class, but to trust their intuition and let the images or symbols from various different decks speak to them,” Rappaport says.
In her first class, held in late February, Rappaport asked students to introduce themselves and discuss what they hope to get out of the class. Some of the responses are fascinating.
One student says he wants to read cards to understand how a woman had predicted, long ago, down to specific dates and times, that his wife would leave him. Another student, who is working on her Ph.D. in physiology from USC, is doing Tarot for fun. Yet another student says he is taking the class on the advice of a psychic who told him that understanding Tarot would help him develop deeper empathic skills to use in his work with autistic children.
After her lecture on the elements of Minor Arcana and the aces and twos, Rappaport had the students play Peter Rosson’s profiling game in which one person asks a question and is read by another.
“The objective is for them to use the card(s) to answer the question(s) asked – not so much as to give them an answer, but to provide information,” she says. “Generally, I comment on their readings or add information showing them what I see.”
Rappaport started reading Tarot cards for her friends at the age of 15, encouraged by a mother who studied palmistry. She started reading professionally at a Halloween party in 1980. Seven years later, she began performing readings in the Excalibur nightclub in her hometown of Chicago with her friend, clairvoyant healer Kathryn Haun. In 1994, she relocated to Los Angeles and established herself, once again, on the party circuit, working with event planners, hotels and caterers.
Over the years, she has given thousands of readings at a wide range of events, including some hosted by celebrities, such as a Christina Aguilera New Year’s Eve party (where she gave readings to the pop star and her friends) and a “Will and Grace” season finale party (where she pulled out the Tarot cards for lead actors Debra Messing and Eric McCormack, as well as executive producer James Burrows and several of the writers and crew members).
Since she started teaching at SMC Community Education in 2006, she has developed a following of a number of students who frequently take more than just one of her classes.Said student Malini S. Iyer, “Davida taught me how to trust my intuition and use Tarot in
combination with my intuition. It was an excellent class!”
To register for Tarot or other classes, call (310) 434-3400 or go to: http://commed.smc.edu.
Bob Cohen & "Bobology" for Your Technology Needs
Bob Cohen is so versatile in his expertise on virtually anything to do with computers and the Internet – from social media to blogging to iPads –
and has such a diversity of students and clients, from beginners to
corporations that he has coined a term to describe what he does:
“My late wife started finding t-shirts and other clothing years ago with
Bob slogans on them,” Cohen says. “When it was time to pick a brand
name I wanted something easy to remember and that I could use on
different social media sites and my domain. Bobology kind of refers
to a subject that you would learn, and I'm the “bob” in bobology so it
combines a training theme with my name.”
An SMC Community Education instructor since 2011, he has taught at
extension programs at 20 community colleges since 2007. His three-
and four-hour workshops at SMC include a wide range of topics, including
“Blogging for Fun & Profit;” “Facebook & Social Media Marketing;”
“Facebook, Twitter, & Social Networking for Beginners;” and
“Internet Marketing for Writers and Authors.”
He has also been a technology "coach" with over 25 years of experience in high-technology marketing. He teaches more than 100 seminars a year at various locations throughout California and makes technology easier to understand and use.
“Bob was absolutely delightful and very professional,” says one of his SMC students. “He delivered the substance of the material in a very 'user-friendly' way. He took his time in his presentation and was able to answer all of our questions.”
How do you keep up with the rapid changes in technology?
I think I'm lucky when it comes to technology. I always had an interest in technology since I was a kid and was what you'd call a geek in today's language. I built electronic kits, did research, before there was online content, and always took an interest in new and interesting things related to science and technology. I never had much patience for staying focused on one thing too long though. As a result, I became someone who knows a little, about a lot of things technical. I found a job where educating customers was considered a "marketing" role, and became a content marketer for most of my career. Being in the tech industry in marketing, product management, and owning several companies helps me keep up, but it's just a natural interest I seem to have.
You bring a lot of knowledge and experience to your class. Is there a particular approach or philosophy you bring to the classroom?
I focus on trying to explain technology in non-technical language. Today understanding technology is both a work skill and a life skill. People who may have never needed to understand how to use technology are finding that they need to use it to communicate, learn, and do many of life's tasks. For people who work, the rapid pace of change has made it critical to catch up and keep up to maintain work skills and survive in the workplace or in business.
What do you hope your students will come away with?
The ability to know how to learn more and not be afraid of technology, whether it s for personal or professional use.
What are the rewards for you as an instructor?
I heard from a stay-at-home student (recently) who started her own blog and is posting articles about play date activities for pre-school kids. The fact that she was able to take what she learned and start this is why I like teaching adults. I also do a weekly newsletter and receive a lot of thank you notes from students for helping to explain technology terms.
You teach students at all levels – from those who are not even sure how to use iPhones and iPads to those who are seeking sophisticated social media marketing tips. What is that like?
I like to do it because I just find so many things in technology interesting and stimulating. It's an industry that thrives on buzzwords but I find it challenging to break it down and make it simpler. I was in marketing and business development but always thought that if I could educate the customer, they could decide whether the products or services I was presenting were right for them. In fact, that's much of the way marketing on the web works now. A recent marketing study shows that over 80% of business customers start their purchase by searching the web to learn more about companies, products, and services.
Many technical people also are afraid to get up in front of a group and speak. I hear that public speaking is the biggest fear people have but I like it.
If there's a frustrating part it's the misinformation that people receive from salespeople about everything, from smartphones to Internet marketing. People seem happy to find someone that makes it understandable.
The students in your Community Ed classes, do they tend to be beginners? Do they skew older?
The marketing classes have all ages of adults, since there's not much academic training on the new marketing methods in academic classes, and even recent grads find they need to learn these skills. Just because they know how to use it, they realize that doesn't mean they know how to use it for marketing.
One of your classes is “Internet Marketing for Writers and Authors.” Why did you tailor a class specifically to writers and authors?
I started to see a number of writers and authors taking my marketing classes and wanted to put together a process for one type of entrepreneur. Most authors were telling me that publishers don't do any marketing. After showing the process to some friends that know Internet marketing more than I do they said the process really applies to any business. So I adapt the class a little.
Do you believe that social media marketing is effective for all kinds of businesses, individuals, etc. or just certain kinds? If so, what kinds?
All kinds. The entire web is social now.
Can you share with us one tip or “secret” of social media and Internet marketing?
With every marketing message you create, answer the question for your audience "Why should I care?"
Tell us an anecdote or two about your students or classes that are particularly memorable.
When I was covering a topic in a class recently there was a student in a class that shouted, "Learning just what you explained just now made the class worth the money." In a sense, our Community Education students are our customers, and it's satisfying to know they see the value in our products.
Another time I had to kick the students out of an iPhone/iPad class because they stayed after class to try out so many new things they had learned, but security needed to close up the room.
Anything else you would like to add?
I wish prospective students could see more of the reviews of classes at community education programs. Many are extremely high quality and better than some much more expensive ones offered at four-year degree extension programs.
Bob Cohen will be teaching Blogging for Fun & Profit on April 30.