9 Free Courses to Take When You Go Back to School This Weekend

The University of Calgary turns 50 this year. To celebrate, everyone is invited back to campus this weekend for the 2016 Alumni Weekend.

Photograph courtesy of University of Calgary


Last week, we asked whether you would study something science-related or arts-related if you could go back to school for one weekend. It was close, but the majority would want to return to the faculty of arts

And this weekend, you can. To mark its 50th anniversary, the University of Calgary is holding its 2016 Alumni Weekend. This isn’t just for U of C alumni — anyone is invited back to school for the weekend. 

There are more than 50 lectures over the two days, as well as demonstrations, workshops and tours. If you like science, learn about healthy brain aging or how to keep your knees in shape if you’re a runner. If you just want to re-experience campus life, paint the campus, visit the pet resource fair, hang out with Dinos athletes or take your photo in one of the photo booths using fun props and costumes. 

Since the majority voted to go back to school to re-experience the faculty of arts, here are nine arts-related courses and workshops to attend this weekend. All are free and all will teach you something. Register for the courses online.  


If you’re going back to school to study music

The course: Drum Circle

The host: Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes

When: Saturday, 11:30 a.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: Mac Hall, That Empty Space

Feel the rhythm and learn a little bit about percussion. While you’ll learn something new about music, there’s a bit of science in this course, too. It’s been shown that drumming aids healing, improves the immune system and even has calming effects. Each of the two sessions last one hour.  


If you want to study astronomy

The course: Gaze Through the Rothney Telescope

The host: Jennifer Howse

When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. until 3:45 p.m.

Where: Depends on the weather

Astronomers from the university’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory are focusing a telescope on the sun and sharing a live feed. If it’s sunny, the telescope will be at various outdoor spots around campus. If it’s cloudy, it’ll be set up in the Mac Hall food court. 


If you want to mix your study of art and English

The course: Making Comics

The host: Nick Sousanis

When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Where: Mac Hall, Cassio A/B

Nick Sousanis, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of English, leads a lecture and hands-on workshop for comic book fans. Learn how meaning is constructed through comic books and discover your own drawing abilities when you go to make your own. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t picked up a pencil in years — no previous drawing experience is necessary for this course. 


If you’re interested in psychology and body image

The course: Weight Bias

The host: Shelley Russell-Mayhew

When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.

Where: ICT 114

Russell-Mayhew of the Werklund School of Education discusses how eating disorders and other weight-related issues touch people of all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. In this session, learn about the numerous pressures that can cause young people to feel like they need to look a certain way. This event will also be live streamed. 


If you want to hear a panel discuss LGBTQ issues

The course: Changing Attitudes

The host: Andrew Estefan, Deinera Exner-Cortens, Tonya Callaghan and Shoghi Nikoo

When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Kinesiology B132

The four hosts, from the faculties of nursing, social work, education and medicine, talk about three different LGBTQ issues. Hear about the role nurses play in mental health and human sexuality, hear about domestic violence from the perspective of a social worker, and learn from an educator about how perspectives and attitudes are changing. 


If you’ve thought about going back to school to study journalism

The course: Bring a Strong Cup of Coffee: The Future of News

The host: Shelley Youngblut and Geoffrey Morgan; moderated by Gillian Steward

When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.

Where: ICT 116

This panel discussion sees individuals who work in media discuss citizen journalism and how news and reporting is changing in the 21st century. 


If you always wanted to study environmental design

The course: Emerging Trends — Design in Everyday Life

The host: Barry Wylant

When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Where: ICT 116

When it comes to building trends and innovative design, the University of Calgary’s faculty of environmental design is doing some cutting-edge work. Learn about the research going on in the faculty and gain an appreciation of why design is something all Calgarians should care about. 


If you want to learn about First Nations culture

The course: Truth and Reconciliation

The host: Phil Fontaine, Lorena Fontaine, Elder Fred Kelly and Leroy Little Bear; moderated by Kathleen Mahoney

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where: Kinesiology B132

Four First Nations leaders join in a panel discussion about recognizing and re-building relationships within nations. 


If you just like studying and want to attend a course

The course: Reinventing Your Life

The host: Carol Patterson

When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.

Where: EEEL 16

Carol Patterson has done all kinds of things. She has a private pilot’s license, she’s worked in tourism and she’s an author. Once a senior supervisor in an oil and gas firm, Patterson now does exactly what she wants. In this talk, she discusses how you can combine what it is that you love with something that will pay the bills. 


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