By Mary Gordon
For anyone having difficulty feeling connected to something More, or for those feeling alone, a tremendously easy option for interaction is to connect with orbs through a camera. There is activity going on beyond our 3D world, and lucky for us, the technology available today allows us to actually see it.
I have taken thousands of pictures of orbs over many years. It started as great entertainment. I’d go out with my inexpensive digital camera hoping to capture the circular form with a thumbprint that is an orb. I’d look for their different colors. While most were white, I was thrilled when I would get pink ones, and green ones, and gold ones, and my favorite, ones that were deep iridescent blue. Sometimes they would be far away in the trees and later on as my picture taking progressed, they would come and dance in my yard and hang out with my flowers.
All was truly Magical.
There was a friendly feel to their visitations. I hoped with anticipation that they would show up, and in turn they replied by giving me a growing depth of photos showing movement, and later on, believe it or not, purpose.
I was able to actually see the “other side.” I was able to actually interact with the “other side.”
This was all done in a safe, comfortable way. It was amazing. Knowing they were showing up for me, for my camera, gave me a sense of connection beyond this Earth -- and quite a bit of joy and fun along the way.
Orbs can be picked up on regular film too, although you have to wait to see the results of your photos. I have 35mm pictures of orbs, yet I’m not patient anymore and now want to use a digital camera. For fun, go back and take a look at old film pictures you may have. You'd be surprised to know how many people do this only to find they had captured orbs all along, but just didn't realize.
There is much more to my orb story. Over the years I have experimented and questioned, examined and explored. I've developed a process that I use for myself personally and for clients. For the first time I’m putting this information out online in a live presentation on the Bridges Academy platform. My desire is for others to take what I've developed and use it for themselves -- or to use this information to spark their imagination to create their own process for connection. There is not one way to make this connection using the camera. There are as many ways as there are people who give it a try. Yet having my information and experiences to reflect upon may make the getting started easier and may open people to more than they would normally think possible.
We are truly in a Magical time. There is Magic all around us if we will let it in. Opportunities abound to feel a connection to the Something More, and taking pictures of orbs is a simple yet profound way to gain the feeling of not being alone, of being recognized, and, may I even say, being loved.
Mary Gordon is a clairvoyant and clairsentient intuitive. She provides readings for clients who are wanting clarity, counsel, and help with decisions, or to check in to see if they are on the right track.
To review a small sampling of Mary’s Orb photos, see: https://www.magicandhope.com/post/orb-images
Learn more about Mary’s presentation, and reserve your place:
Orb Magic, More Than Pictures
LIVE online, with Mary Gordon
Sunday, June 7th
1:00pm to 2:15pm Pacific (4-5:15pm Eastern, 10-11:15pm CET)
By Anyes Cartry March 18, 2020
Lucid Dreaming has become quite popular in the recent years and I certainly understand the attraction. The idea of being able to remain aware of one’s dreams while dreaming and remaining in the driver’s seat to orient the unfolding of events can be quite satisfying. As a millennial friend recently told me, “Being able to have some control in a world where we are totally losing control is all that’s left to us.”
However, Dream Harvesting® is concerned with a conversation with dreams that are experienced in deep sleep (REM phase). Although many of us may think dreams are a waste of our time and attention, dreams don’t ever waste our time. As expert Robert Johnson says, “Even a short insignificant dream tries to tell us something that we need to know.”
There is in each of us a guiding principle (Johnson calls it the psychopomp) that is there to help us function in the outer world and know how to respond in a way that is aligned to our best benefit, that is to say, in a way where our intentions, values, and ideals are enacted through our actions.
Because we are so attached to the “story line”- the events that happen, that we read about, the so called “information” - we forget that what makes our reality isn’t so much the events per se, but the way you or I experience them. In this way, every dream is a portrait of the dreamer, as much as every “event” as we recount it is a portrait of who experiences it.
We need to go deeper, look into the dream as a mirror, to find out who we are. The aim of every dream is to bring each of us back towards our center, our point of equilibrium from which we are free to go in the needed direction (needed for us). Dream Harvesting® takes trust, it takes questioning, genuinely not being afraid to surrender momentarily efficiency or smart thinking; it takes wanting to know what it is that we do not know about ourselves that is exactly what we need to be in equilibrium in our lives.
Click here to learn more about Dream Harvesting®
“Dreamwork generates moments of clarity that allow us to gain traction of our problems and begin to turn our lives around.” 
My workshops are more of the “salon” type than classes per se, in the sense that I stress the conversational aspect of the exploration. Dream Harvesting® is about harvesting a wisdom that is mature like a fruit ready to be picked. I believe we wouldn’t dream a certain dream if we weren’t ready for it. The dream pushes out of the ground like a new flower from a spring bulb because it senses the warmth and light of our willing awareness.
Dreams are some of the richest and more accessible ways our unconscious establishes communication with us. As Greg Bogart judiciously points out, “Dreams spring from an underground stream that guides and heals” 
Many people either don’t pay attention to their dreams or think dreams are nonsensical because their language is out of reach, deprived of a continuous line and of the logic we are accustomed to. They take a holistic approach encompassing the language of the senses, somatic experiencing, feeling exploration, and word association. Although they can be intimidating, puzzling and in some cases even frightening, dreams invite us to open to a fuller mode of interaction, and that is what I will share and practice with you during this workshop. Click here to view the course.
 Greg Bogart, Dreamwork in Holistic Psychotherapy of Depression: An Underground Stream that Guides and Heals, Routledge 2017, p. XV
 Greg Bogart, Dreamwork in Holistic Psychotherapy of Depression: An Underground Stream that Guides and Heals, Routledge 2017, p. 1
I’ve long wondered why some say it is short (that in astral travel one can only go so far away from the physical body) while others say it’s capacity to stretch is endless allowing our astral body to visit other galaxies. Assuming all beliefs are valid in their own way, I decided there’s more than one type or meaning of the word “cord”. Like the words their, there and they’re – they all sound the same but mean entirely different things.
And then I discovered when learning about ancient Hawaiian shamanic practices in the Fundamentals of Huna course, that aka cords are also an internal conduit between the three levels of Self: the lower self, the middle self and the high self. (the subconscious, the conscious and the superconscious.) It was sort of mind blowing to finally see and understand how information and life force energy flows between these 3 parts of me. I had never before considered or even looked for a mechanism.
This reminded me of the first time years ago when I realized that those squiggly shapes of light dancing in the air on a sunny day, or just above the earth in my garden, are not eye dust: they are chi, or life force energy, or mana in Huna technology. There’s a huge difference between intellectually accepting a concept and actually living it, breathing it and ultimately... BEING it by integrating it into your being. As that revelation integrated into my daily life, I allowed myself to see the chi all the time, instead of blinking my eyes to block it out of my perception. Thus finally I could actually see why my typically high enthusiasm for shopping would evaporate in a big enclosed mall with no windows, poor lighting and recycled air, and very skimpy amounts of chi.
It’s widely understood that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. Now that I know that aka cords are a conduit between the internal aspects of me, it’s faster and easier to connect within.
In the Fundamentals of Huna course, we learn a “prayer-action” process that is actually an effective step-by-step process of manifestation. Every day now I practice the Huna method of gathering life force energy (chi or mana) in order to create what I want or need in life, transferring it to my high self along those aka cords. Several possibilities, including some that previously seemed unattainable, have come to fruition.
Meanwhile, I’ve barely scratched the itch to learn about Huna under Kumu Michael Longshore’s guidance, and will return to the course for more.
By Nora Hoffmann, BA, MFA, CCHT, Approved Hypnotherapy Trainer
Many years ago as part of a class for Taoist Healing Practices, our teacher led us on a journey inside one cell of our body. As he invited us deeper into the microcosm of our life experience, images emerged before me. I had not yet done ancestral clearing work at that point of my life.
Inside this tower we explore arising imagery through the methods of Integrative Gestalt Therapy and the help of living inner masters of alchemy as learned in Alchemical or Esoteric Hypnotherapy. This includes identifying oneself with the imagery discovered in the sense of “becoming” or “imagining being” the symbol, as well as speaking with the imagery. Inner masters and other compassionate wise spirit allies can instruct how to read imagery and what to do with it.
In some cases, someone may be drawn to a brick which contains a healed image. In this instance, we can enter this image and draw on the completion and wholeness and magnificence we have previously attained in our inner work, reminding ourselves of the goodness of our lives, and receiving encouragement for current struggles and rejuvenation. In other cases, we may be drawn to bricks containing disorder or requiring repair. With the help of our spirit allies, we can address and repair our issues as they appear in a given brick or stair step.
In the instruction class, I explain the basic journey protocol and demonstrate it through a guided group journey. During debriefing discussion, I help students to both interact with and interpret the symbols or imagery they encountered.
During the subsequent hands-on practicum class, one student is guided through the journey as I demonstrate how to lead interaction with a client’s arising imagery. Then in small groups and using a handout, students apply the protocol on each other. There is time for questions at the end.
To learn more about the class. Click Here.
My crystal skull has been hiding since we moved a few months ago. No worries; based on previous experience I am positive it will emerge from its secret hiding place when the time is right.
My first real adventure with a crystal was a long time ago in a faraway place (late 1970’s in the Ottawa valley, Canada). I had read about a fun way to cleanse my first crystal - a new rose quartz. Ok, the rose quartz was new to me, certainly not “new”. The average rose quartz crystal is, so they say, 1,700 million years old. Also mind boggling for some reason: their pink coloration comes from titanium.
The instructions were to bury the crystal for at least a week, but preferably as long as one full cycle of the moon, ie one 27-day trip around the Earth. And then I was to bring it forth from the earth ceremoniously, with the feeling that a new child had come into my life.
I knew of a place not far from my home for the rose quartz to enjoy an undisturbed retreat. Overgrown by trees and barely visible alongside a path lined with trees, was a broken cedar rail fence. I reached in under what was left of the fence, found a soft spot, dug a hole, tucked in the rose quartz and perhaps most importantly - marked the spot. About a month later, I returned, excitement increasing with each step as I got closer and closer to the spot where the rose quartz lay in wait for me. Kneeling, I uncovered it from the earth, scooped it up to my heart in both hands, feeling an ecstatic surge in welcoming the rose quartz into my life. And then, suddenly came the feeling of being watched. I looked up.
A white tailed deer was standing above me on the other side of the fence. I was still kneeling. She seemed huge. Deer in that part of the world are about 4’ tall at the shoulder. We held eye contact for at least one minute of wonderment for me until she nonchalantly turned, took two steps and vanished into the trees.
What a ceremony that turned out to be! I kept that rose quartz nearby for many years, until the day someone needed it more.
So, back to the crystal skull.
Despite being drawn to them for various reasons from time to time over the years, I’d never had or worked with a crystal skull. While reading Joe Mancini’s “how to” booklet called Crystal Skulls: Old/New Tools for Transformation, I understood why I’d never brought one home: Crystal skulls need special care, handling and preparation. It was imperative for me to read a training manual. So, now feeling ready I decided to keep an eye out for one in my travels.
About a month later, Patrick and I decided on a whim to visit a favorite ‘new age’ shop, as a break from routine. He saw several in a display case and called me over. After some back and forth as to which one I might like, I chose the skull that we both liked the most. It was rose quartz, so fitting somehow. Brought it home, and buried it just outside the house in a soft spot under some trees.
About 10 days later, unexpectedly, a crew of workers arrived to make repairs outside the house, disturbing the spot where the crystal was snoozing, ultimately making it impossible to find. I looked everywhere in the vicinity of the original location. It did seem odd that it would be gone, but there was nothing to be done about it. Maybe it would turn up some day.
It did. Pat saw it peeking out of the earth a couple of weeks later, not far from where I’d put it, and called me to come and see. With an ecstatic happy feeling, I picked it up saying, “There you are!!”, holding it up to receive Pat’s grin too.
Obviously, the crystal skull had wanted us both there for that moment, just like when it found us in the store.
Then we moved house. It was packed SO carefully. And will turn up when it’s ready. Then I’ll ask it to smile for the camera, and place the photo here.
By Michael Longshore
May I tell you a story?
I remember a time in the third grade when we were studying the Hawaiian Islands. I found the subject matter usually interesting and very intriguing. All of a sudden, I raised my hand asking permission to be recognized by the teacher. She looked woefully down at me almost as if she hated to ask what I wanted.
Excitedly I rose to my feet and began to tell a tale of a time I remembered when my father and I went fishing off the coast of one of the Hawaiian Islands. It was a bright sunny day; the ocean was a deep blue-green and I can remember the spray of the wave tops splashing across my face as my father and I enjoyed casting our nets out into the water hoping to catch a delicious evening meal. The hours passed by quickly; near mid-afternoon I became aware of a large thunderous clap. Looking towards our home, billowing up out of our mountain, was a plume of black smoke racing towards the sky and spewing out large chunks of red molten lava.
Immediately my father and I headed back to the island. Once we arrived at the shore I found myself watching our homes burn to the ground. There were many victims lying here and there; some were injured, some were deceased and I felt a deep sorrow and pain down in the pit of my stomach.
Well at this time in the telling of my story, the teacher instructed me to move to the corner of the classroom and stand there with my nose in that corner thinking about this far-fetched tale that I had just told. I remained in the corner until approximately 7 PM that evening and there standing in the dark I was found by the school janitor. He contacted my parents and took me home. The janitor told my parents why I had been punished by the third grade teacher. I remember my parents thanking the janitor for bringing me home. They punished/scorned me for having told such an outrageous tale.
Fast-forward 30 years into the future, at approximately 40 years old and attending the Berkeley Psychic Institute in Sacramento, California. One evening as I walked along the hall towards one of the many classrooms, I was greeted by a student psychic reader. She asked if she might give me a reading. Without hesitation I agreed to sit for the reading. This young talented psychic reader began to tell me a past life tale of when I was a Kahuna living in the Hawaiian Islands. She quickly took me back to a time when I was fishing with my father out upon the ocean when without warning we witnessed the eruption of a volcano near our village. She said we returned to the village, helpless and unable to prevent the death and destruction that was taking place. Most importantly, she gave me the message that due to this event I had developed a deep sense of fear and apprehension regarding anything that involved being in a position of authority where the well-being of others was at stake. She continued to inform me that it was now time to release all of that guilt and any shame associated with that past life event.
Many months later I found myself in contact with the teachings of Max Freedom Long. (Max dedicated his life to the study of the Polynesian metaphysical knowledge that he had rediscovered and synthesized. Max referred to this knowledge as the “ancient magic of old Hawaii”. Soon after, this ancient magic became known as HUNA.) I spent the following 30 years learning to live the HUNA ways that I had known so many years/lifetimes before. And consequently my life has been enriched and joyfully empowered in more ways than my third grade teacher ever could have imagined.
Heal and Empower Your Relationship with Money
By Nora Hoffmann
The inner work of "Money Mastery from Within" will develop your understanding about your relationship with money, so you can be at peace, emotionally clear, and confident about your financial decisions.
Most people in the modern world suffer one way or another in respect to our shared economy and currency. Too many stay behind, and not merely financially: Too much soul substance and meaning get lost. Our existing global economic model does not appear to be working for most people. But only when we meet ourselves and others with love and empathy can we see clearly, and make wise and powerful economic choices.
A truly functional, life-serving economy must be participatory, inclusive of and sustainable for all. It needs to work for everyone, and be nourishing enough that every member of humanity is naturally drawn to participate and express themselves in it.
It looks to me as if a new model is emerging, waiting to be recognized and shaped by all of us. How do we recognize this new model? How can we know how to shape our personal and global economic relationship so that it will truly support our needs for sustainability, belonging, and partnership?
I know that the key resides in each of our hearts and being. Therefore, in order to know our new economy, we need to know ourselves. Knowing ourselves, we will act from our inherent integrity. And in this way, we will shape a new economy, both individual and global, that will provide meaningful livelihood for every person affected. Instead of the rampant inhumanity with which money is widely used and wielded, I envision a world where economic strength is used compassionately and wisely, so that our humanity will be reflected in the way we participate in our economic relations among each other.
I assume that the foundation of meaningful sustainability is the relationship with oneself, and one's connection within the whole. Thus this course provides an exploration into what your unique relationship with money looks like: Not to follow a previous paradigm trajectory, but to discover in your own heart what money means to you, and what qualities matter to you in your relationship with currency.
I encourage us all to participate in our personal and collective economy with gusto — passion, clarity, and confidence: Toward an economy of the people. To the thriving of us all.
My desire for soulful practical living, including holistic and self-reliant money management, goes back to my early teens. I have been mystically inclined ever since I can remember. Training in music and theater since early childhood provided me with a balanced education of both intellectual as well as artistic pursuits. During German High School (Gymnasium) years, I studied Philosophy, Latin, and Ancient Greek. Due to challenges during childhood and youth, I was forced to embark on a journey of self-healing early on. Before moving to the US, I studied Psychology, Languages, and Anthropology at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin. I moved to California in 1999 in order to pursue my passion for spontaneous musical composition.
After graduating from the California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in Music Composition, I wanted to balance my creative and intuitive background with solid business skills. I discovered a strong affinity with bookkeeping, and at the time decided to make it my bread-and-butter profession so I could pursue my independent art with integrity and without financial worry. I'm not sure whether my money management talent emerged from being a music composer, because I'm German and therefore thorough, reliable, and detail-orientated by culture, or because my mother had taken care of my father's painting business’ administration and her knowledge had trickled into my blood. Or maybe I've been a scribe in ancient times, because the whole double entry accounting system feels natural, intelligent, and spiritually accurate to me. And so I have owned my own independent financial consulting firm since 2007.
I truly enjoy the principles of accounting, because I love how much sense it all makes -- through the right lens! I had been doing my own bookkeeping since 2001, and remember trying to make a simple bookkeeping program do things I felt needed to happen for accurate accounting, but it wouldn't comply. This left me confused and unsure how to be effective. I wanted clear and solid accounting procedures, not sloppy numbers! To my great relief, upon studying accounting principles, I found that such procedures are indeed in existence. To this day, I am grateful for the double entry accounting system, because it gave me the clarity and practicality I have always wanted for properly understanding the flow of money. This clarity is also an integral part of the way I support my clients: I like helping people understand what's going on, how things are "accounted for", and why, like energy in the universe, nothing can really disappear from your accounting. There is always somewhere money came from, and somewhere it has gone; something that became money in your accounts, and something else that money leaving your accounts has become. Nothing is ever lost. And you do want to be in touch with these changes and transmutations.
This understanding has led me to treat money as holistic and humanistic.
With excerpts from the book by Linda Baker
You Are an Unlimited Being
Most of us accept the brain training given to us by the adults in our lives. Linda Baker believed for a very long time that her thoughts were the truth until finally, after years of anorexia and low self worth, she finally woke up. Realizing that other people’s thoughts and old programming were in her brain, she made a conscious choice to retrain her brain. Linda now lives in fulfillment beyond any expectation. Through writing this book (and offering hands-on help via a live online training program) she shares her tips to accelerate our journey to a way of thinking that works for us, to a way of thinking that doesn’t hold us back from our heart’s desires.
“Brain Training frees us from old programming. You are the sole (soul) owner of your life. To find and live your purpose you need to throw off the shackles of negative thinking, free yourself from the addictions, patterns and beliefs that have been passed on to you, and accept that you are an unlimited being.
“By taking back your own mind you create a better and brighter life for yourself. You will also light the way for others.”
The first step is to become acquainted with your own energy.
You, Getting to Know You
Linda offers a simple exercise you can practice to become acquainted with your own vibrational energy.
“Close your eyes and recall a time when you were doing something that felt really good to you. Allow yourself time to completely go into this memory and notice how your body feels, what expression you have and how your posture is. As you spend time in this memory notice how the areas of your stomach and heart feel. Possibly in this memory you are smiling or laughing and your stomach and heart areas feel relaxed and open. Breathe in and feel how this good memory feels. Now let it go.
“Next, bring in a memory of an event or person that caused you to feel badly, angry or distressed in some way. Again with eyes closed allow yourself to sink into this memory. Now notice what expression you have, notice your body’s posture and pay attention to the stomach and heart areas. This time you might be aware of an angry or sad expression while the stomach and heart areas may feel contracted or tight. Take a moment to be in the energy of this difficult memory and feel how it feels. Now let that go.
“As you begin to bring awareness into your body and recognize how you feel when you are in a high-energy vibrational state, you more easily notice when you are not.”
The first time I tried this was a proverbial light bulb moment. There’s nothing closer to me than my own body; just a simple moment of paying attention was a revelation.
“As you make a practice of this you will more easily recognize when your energy is being drained and you will be able to take immediate steps to stop the drain and raise your energy vibration back to its high level.”
Ode to Mrs. Fisk
While helping Nora Hoffman to prepare the booklet for her online class, Tea Leaf Reading for Fun and Insight, I remembered Mrs. Fisk. Years ago, back in the early 80’s, I had the great pleasure to visit a remarkable tea leaf reader named Mrs. Fisk. Mrs. Fisk was somewhere near or past retirement age, living with her family on an active farm located on an out-of-the way country road in the Ottawa, ON valley. I traveled there a few times over the years with friends on what always turned out to be a great outing, a change of pace, and sometimes it was mind blowing. The drive home would seem incredibly short because everyone would be talking, sharing and pumped about the revelations and ideas sparked in the tea leaf reading.
Readings were by appointment and set at a very low, low price which Mrs. Fisk explained was per an agreement she had made with God. If you tried to give her more than the set amount, she flatly refused and pointed to items she had for sale. To supplement her income she sold a variety of trinkets and handmade items displayed randomly on table tops and shelves.
The chaos of the reading room rapidly faded into insignificance as she began reading. Mrs. Fisk told me of choices that were ahead for me, some in a far off distant future time when she herself would actually be long gone from the planet. (Many times through the years since, something would happen where I’d find myself thinking, “Oh my gosh, Mrs. Fisk told me about this!” or, “Mrs. Fisk said that this might happen!”)
We didn’t actually drink any tea. A small amount of water and tea leaves were put into a cup, which we were instructed to hold in both hands. After a few moments the cup was turned over onto a saucer, rotated the required number of times, whereupon Mrs. Fisk would take it into her hands to begin the reading. Although she spoke at length of many of things she “saw” in my cup, Mrs. Fisk barely even looked at it. She held it in her hands; would tip it this way or that while giving it a quick glance, all the while looking at me 99% of the time.
Was Mrs. Fisk using a method similar to the one Nora Hoffman teaches in her upcoming class? These memories of Mrs. Fisk today make me even more excited for the class. I can’t wait.
Patricia Haggard, Aug 7/18
Are online courses the right option for you?
Online classes may be a departure from the traditional classroom, but for many it’s definitely a change for the better. It brings the experience straight to you, allowing you to develop at your own convenience, making a better life for you and your family. The ultimate Best of it all: taking online classes lets you integrate your studies into your schedule, a convenience that fosters a golden opportunity to be successful lifelong learner.
Here is a quick list of 6 common questions, followed by several reasons to get excited about online courses.
6 frequently asked questions and 8 reasons to get excited about online courses
1. Are online classes an 'easy' route? Is the content easier?
Put simply, the answer is no.
It’s true that many online courses offer flexibility to learn at your own convenience, but that doesn’t change the amount of work you put in. You still have the same amount of work — just without the formal classroom setting.
The flexibility of online classes can be extremely helpful to busy adults, but that same freedom means that self motivation is vital to your success. For live online classes, it’s up to you to clear your schedule for the allotted class time, planning ahead to avoid distractions in your environment during class and keep yourself on track with the group. Often the live classes (and the Q+A segments) are recorded for you to replay at a later time which can be a great help if you’re not able to attend at the last minute, however you will need to play the recording and do any assignments before the next class.
2. Can I actually do better in online classes?
Students participating in online classes do the same or better than those in the traditional classroom setup. This is because the quality of education is the same; the difference is just in the delivery method.
Online lectures are a great option if you tend to feel lost in the crowd of a classroom. Recordings afford the ability to pause and take notes or even re-play parts you didn’t quite understand the first time. Plus, you can always reach out to your instructor for one-on-one help in various ways (like email, text or perhaps a private Facebook page) to ask questions about material you didn’t understand.
3. I’ve been hearing that time management is important.
So true. It’s your responsibility to take the initiative to keep up with your work when enrolled in online classes. It can be easy to let assignments slide and miss due dates because of the wiggle room and flexibility that come with online courses. It’s fair to expect online courses to take about the same amount of time and effort as traditional courses.
Procrastination is a slippery slope that can affect your outcome negatively. It’s important to stay organized and follow a schedule because, as in any class setting, it can be difficult to catch up once you fall too far behind.
In your planning, consider the amount of time you’ll need to spend to study or prep for class. Additionally, many online courses include required reading lists or videos to watch in addition to the time you spend in the live class. Review the course description carefully, and email the instructor if you have any questions.
4. I love group projects. Are they even possible with online courses?
Group projects, a staple of the traditional classroom, is becoming easier and easier for distance learners to tackle. With collaborative tools like Google Docs making it easier for groups to work together, don’t be surprised if you find yourself assigned to a group project in your online course. With the affordable live conference room technology today, breakout rooms are quite feasible.
5. What about making connections, and friends?
One of the absolute most wonderful and enuring benefits of attending classes is meeting new people, kindred spirits. Friendships, mentorships and networking can all come from academic experiences—but is that still the case with online classes?
Yes. We recommend that you make an effort to get to know some of your online classmates and your instructor. Outside of class there are numerous online services (like personal messaging) that provide excellent ways to interact and network with classmates, so be sure to take advantage of that and don’t hesitate to make the first move and reach out.
6. I’m not familiar with the technology. Is it complicated to connect?
It’s easy. You can connect via any device with an internet connection. Bridges will provide you with all the contact information you need to connect easily and if for any reason you have problems, we will help. Many of our instructors use a service called Zoom for their live classes. With Zoom there’s nothing to join or download, just clicking on a simple link will connect you.
Why all the excitement about online courses?
Many people say that online courses are less stressful because of all the precious time NOT wasted in driving or commuting to and from class. So much can be involved in physically getting to a classroom, whereas online you are in the environment you choose, safe from the stress of driving, parking, being out late, etc. Online classes save so much time, and that is something to be very excited about!
The instructor of your course may be located in another city, or even another country. The cost to travel in person to their location can be significant and “stopping your life” in order to be away from home may take a Herculean effort that defeats you before you even set out; you might have to take on extra debt or wait years for the opportunity to learn with this instructor in person. Online classes can save tons of money, and that is also something to be excited about.
For prerecorded self-paced online classes, it’s great to log in when you’re feeling good and your energy is UP, rather than commuting to class after a long work day.
No need to drop all those other responsibilities that you enjoy (kids, jobs, commitments.) And there’s no need to choose family or work over education; all is possible with online classes.
Location, Location, Location
Your course goes with you, whether you’re at home or not. You can travel without missing class. Some of us travel a lot during the year, whether for work or leisure. It’s possible to log into your online course from a hotel room or while waiting in the airport. Or maybe you have a favorite little cafe that is perfect for attending online class discussions.
No uncomfortable desks or squeaky chairs; no sneezing classmates. Some students attend class in their PJ’s, with a warm cup of tea. It’s easier to focus and concentrate when you are comfortable. Additionally, most people feel they learn more effectively in an online setting without the distractions in an “in person” classroom. It is your choice whether to send the instructor a private message, or speak aloud to ask a question in class.
People read and learn at a different pace. Online courses make it simple to find a pace that works for you; pause to make notes, or rewind the recordings and replay until you fully understand a lecture. You decide how much time (and when) you want/need to dedicate to your courses. And odds are that you’ll be enjoying yourself so much that your learning will be deep.
Online classes are a great way to meet individuals from around the world and form friendships with people who share your interests and passions. Even though your classmates may have different motivations to attend, you obviously share common interests and goals. No matter where everyone is located, it is easy to develop and grow your personal and professional networks of kindred spirits and like-minded people through online courses.
Substantial numbers of online students attend for personal knowledge and personal growth. Lifelong learners are motivated to learn and develop because they want to: it is a deliberate and voluntary act to indulge in curiosity, invest in a passion, or unlock potential. Lifelong learning enhances understanding of the world around us, nurturing self-sustainability, employability, providing us with more and better opportunities to improve the quality of our lives and the lives of others.