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TMCNet:  From smartphones to history, IU's Mini University teaches range of topics [Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind. :: ]

[June 10, 2014]

From smartphones to history, IU's Mini University teaches range of topics [Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind. :: ]

(Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 10--"Oh no," Nancy Tittle said to the man sitting nearby. "You have a dinosaur phone? Really, if you get one of these, you won't go back," she said, holding out her iPhone.


It was minutes before the start of class -- Simple Ways (or Tips) to use Smartphones -- and the room was filling with men and women holding notebooks and pens as well as their mobile phones.

This class on Tuesday morning was just one of the offerings at the 43rd annual Mini University that started Sunday and goes until Friday. Sponsored by the Indiana University Alumni Association and IU Lifelong Learning, the week offers a mix of classes and opportunities to meet IU faculty and other attendees from 24 states.

"It's that combination of the interesting topics and social outlet," said Kyla Cox Deckard, director of public relations and community outreach for Lifelong Learning. She added the technology classes are popular because they are targeted to the audience of mostly retirees.

This year, more than 500 Mini University students are in Bloomington -- a little more than half are IU alumni -- for classes such as the smartphone one as well as ones about craft brewing, opera costume design, the American West and more.

Inside the smartphone class, Amy and Eric Kinser, both senior lecturers at the Kelley School of Business, taught the group the basics from smartphone photography to how to play music on their phones to terminology such as "Bluetooth" and "encryption." And the questions spilled from audience members.

"How do I turn selfies on?" "What in the heck is cloud storage?" "Can a SIM card go bad?" Answers: There is an icon to flip to the other camera on your phone. It's a way to store things off your device. Yes.

Tittle, who is from Valparaiso and had an Android phone before, said she attended the session to learn about her iPhone. She said she picked up several useful tips.

"Don't you just want to take those instructors home with you?" she asked.

The professors are all volunteers, and organizers work hard to keep the topics fresh and up-to-date, said Jeanne Madison, director of Mini University for Lifelong Learning. She said it's not uncommon to hear attendees discussing their classes on breaks instead of making small talk.

And the program has a nearly 75 percent return rate, Madison added.

For Shirley Friduss of Munster, attending the smartphone class taught her how to add Pandora to her phone to listen to music. The longtime Mini University attendee said she's attended the event for about eight years, because she finds the classes great and the people wonderful.

"I already have my reservation for next year," she said of the Indiana Memorial Union Biddle Hotel for the week of Mini University. "Same room." ___ (c)2014 the Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.) Visit the Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.) at www.heraldtimesonline.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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