School may be out for the summer, but learning happens year-round with your Omaha Public Library (OPL) card! OPL's Gale Courses, opens a new window subscription offers patrons the opportunity to sign up for interactive six-week online classes that are led by real instructors.
Courses cover a wide range of subjects, including accounting and finance, college readiness, design and composition, and writing and publishing, among others. Find a full list of available courses, opens a new window. Each month, a new session of courses begins. The next sessions begin July 14, August 18 and September 15.
For Denisha Seals, Gale Courses has offered her a chance to brush up on her Spanish speaking skills. Seals learned about Gale Courses from her fiancé and has completed Speed Spanish Levels 1, opens a new window & 2, opens a new window, and plans to enroll in the Speed Spanish 3, opens a new window and Spanish in Law Enforcement, opens a new window courses this year.
"I visited Spain and Argentina when I studied abroad," said Seals. "Fluency has always been a passion and a goal for me. I will definitely say these courses have helped me tremendously."
Seals has also found other courses she's interested in taking, including some that cover grant writing, opens a new window, which would be a new skill that she believes would be beneficial to know.
"I think everyone should take the opportunity to expand their craft, whether it’s language, business, grant writing or college prep," Seals said. "There are so many dynamic courses that everybody can benefit from and they're all free."
Gale Courses also offers classes that cover creative topics, including photography, opens a new window, creative writing, opens a new window, guitar, opens a new window, and more! These courses came in handy for Kristi Starmer, who decided to enroll in the Drawing for Absolute Beginners, opens a new window and the Using Social Media in Business, opens a new window courses. While she started taking them before the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that they especially came in handy in 2020, when she spent more time at home.
"I took drawing classes in college and decided to take the Gale Course for a refresher," said Starmer.
As someone who has Muscular Dystrophy and is in a wheelchair, the availability of these online courses is all the more convenient for Starmer. While she's chosen to take courses that serve as refreshers for things she's done before, she also has plans to enroll in courses that cover new ground for her, including music theory, opens a new window and gardening, opens a new window.
"I totally recommended that others do them," said Starmer, adding that she often shares information about them with others in person and through social media.
Once students finish a Gale Course they receive certificates of completion. Most courses cover 24 hours of material, though the hours for each are specified in the course descriptions.
To enroll in Gale Courses:
1. Find courses by browsing the course catalog, opens a new window. Click "Enroll Now" next to the course of your choice.
2. Select your course start date and click "Continue."
3. Create a free Gale Courses account, or sign in to an existing account.
- New Students - Enter your email address in the New Student area and click "Create Account." Complete the "Account and Student Information" page and then click "Continue."
- Returning Students - Enter your account email and password and then click "Sign In.”
You will use your Gale Courses account email and password to log in to the My Classroom area to view your lessons once your session begins.
4. Enter your library barcode in the box labeled Submit. Then click “Use Library Card” to complete your enrollment.
Students who have enrolled in a course must log in and view lessons one and two within 13 days after the start date of the course, or they will be automatically dropped.
Students who are dropped from a course will be able to enroll in the course during a later session.