Que Pasa? Want to learn a language?

If you are learning a language or want to learn a language or just want to brush up on a language, there is a list of Beginners’ Courses available in French, Spanish, German and Italian. Check out the BBC website.

The website has weekly email tips to help you along as you learn.

The website  has a Phrases of the Day, Tips and Stories, Foreign Language TV and more.

It has a list of essential phrases in 36 languages. It is the language friend you’ve been looking for to practice, practice, practice!

What a gift from the BBC…

Or perhaps BBC isn’t what you need? In The Web Way to Learn a Language, you learn about some websites that charge you money but what they offer might work better than the BBC/Language website. Or maybe not!

Let me know what works best for you so I can let others know too!

— Marge

Ever WonderHowTo do something?

Ever wonder how to do something? Well, there’s a site called WonderHowTo.com (of course there is) which will show you a wide range of videos to answer any question you might have. Ever wonder how to whisper kiss, flirt, load a dishwasher or change a tire.

If so, someone has already asked and the topic is in full color for your viewing pleasure. This site is sure to give you the nudge you need to get your files organized, your windows washed and your towels folded like a pro.

Tie a necktie? Write a business letter? Get a library card?  If you are wondering, there is probably an answer … this is truly your lucky day!

Download Free Courses from UC-Berkeley


I found this information on LearnOutLoud.com about these streaming videos from the University of California-Berkeley. In 2006 they became the first university to podcast a significant number of their courses on audio, making lectures available as downloadable MP3s put up on RSS feeds that you can subscribe to.

Their podcasted courses cover science, psychology, engineering, and many other subjects. Podcasts of lectures are released throughout the semester and they also have an archive of all their previous courses which they’ve made available on podcast and streaming video. Check this link to see a list of courses available for download right now.


Hewlett-Packard: Let the Good Times Flow!

Here’s another hidden gem tucked away in the maze of websites: HP Learning Center: www.hp.com/go/learningcenter

Sign up for a wide range of classes that you can use immediately. These helpful resources include lessons on digital photography, PhotoShop tips, MS Excel 2007, Word 2007, Windows, printing basics, Adobe Acrobat, Windows Vista, OneNote and more.

The lessons are quick and in a step by step format. You want it? You got it. Check it out!

Forum Network: More than you can EVEN imagine!

The Forum Network is a national collaboration of public television and radio stations offering online lecture webcasts created in partnership with cultural and educational institutions in their local communities.

These lectures are contributed to a central archive and made available to other public stations to offer on their local Forum Network Websites.

Now you will be able to listen to scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policy makers and community leaders from different regions of the country, and the world, speaking about the compelling issues of our time.


So Go Learn Something — for FREE!

Learn online.

For free.

And then decide if you like taking online classes.

And then decide if you’ve chosen the right field.

And if you like taking online classes then take another class. And another and another …

All online classes are not alike. At least I hope not. Many are cookie cutter using a learning management system (i.e., Blackboard, WebCT, eCollege) and in order to manage the courses going out the door, the schools determine a standard template.

A standard template is actually OK – as long as the instructor deviates from it. Standard templates can be enhanced by adding rich media content, urging the class to search the web and find additional material that adds value to the class, allows for updates to the syllabus when world issues force their way into the learning sphere and more, more, more.

Academic Earth at academicearth.org offers free video courses from leading universities. Check the wide range of subjects that are offered and take the plunge!

YouTube EDU at www.youtube.com/education . What better way to learn than to watch videos from classes from over 100 universities and colleges? Here is another location to access complete courses that interest you

250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities : www.openculture.com/2007/07/freeonlinecourses.html

It’s free so lack of money is no longer an issue.

Remember, you can get an education (without the degree) for free. No more excuses!

The Gift of Gab

Why is it that some people can just walk into a room and strike up a conversation with a total stranger? What is it they do that makes it so easy? How can they be so engaging with a total stranger? To them, it’s not about talking. It’s about making contact with another person.

It’s about listening.
It’s about sharing.
It’s about caring.

It seems that when you have a talent, you don’t even know it. That’s how it is for people who have the ‘gift of gab’. They know how to engage you in conversation, encourage you to share and are wonderful listeners. They walk away with an awareness, understanding and insight that enrich them.

Everybody has a story and most people are willing to share it if they think someone really wants to hear it. What’s your story? When was the last time you heard someone’s story and walked away with a new appreciation for life?

For most of us, when we are in a conversation we realize we weren’t even listening. At the store you may run into a friend and get introduced to her sister. You say hello, chat for a bit and leave. What was this woman’s name? What was she wearing?

A good communicator is a person who listens with eye contact, awareness and interest. Have you ever talked to someone only to realize that person was looking across the room – perhaps waiting for someone better to talk to? It’s a creepy feeling and it’s obvious the person is not engaged and is not listening.

You can become a better communicator by doing these three things:

1. When meeting someone for the first time, ask them a specific question and then just let them talk. “What brings you here today?” is a good question. Keep your eyes and ears open to the spoken and unspoken reply. Watch for body language such as hand movements, facial expressions, posture, and other qualities that help to connect you to that person.

2. Repeat their name in the conversation as a way to remember it and to become more personable. If you don’t remember or didn’t hear the person’s name, ask. And when you ask someone to tell you their name, ALWAYS repeat your name to them. If another person joins the conversation, stick your hand out and introduce yourself again. This is a great way to remind others of your name and to get them to repeat their name.

3. We all want to be acknowledged, so it’s important to let the person know you are listening. You can ask a follow-up question,add a comment, make eye contact, smile and all those things that you appreciate in others. To really connect with another person, share something about yourself. When you offer something personal in a conversation, you help the other person to see your humanness. It’s the sweetest gift you can offer.

Making contact with another person is an art that anyone can master if you are willing to ask a question and then truly listen… because the gift of gab isn’t about talking at all!

Marge Mercurio is an expert in The Art of Contact, Meeting Facilitation. She is an eternal student, loves visiting bookstores, libraries and meeting new people. With a BA in Communication and a MA in Counseling, she has expertise and experience that comes through in her writing.
The Gift of Gab in 3 Easy Steps