Offer Live, Online Programming for Adult Education
Three Austin College faculty members have “gone public” with unique programming taught live, online with the McKinney, Texas, Public Library System. Through the collaboration, Mindy Landeck, assistant professor of East Asian studies;Tom Blake, assistant professor of English; and Karla McCain, professor of chemistry, Zoom into the homes of eager learners to talk about topics such as tea in Japan, vampires in literature, and women in science.
Like many institutions, public libraries have made dramatic changes to protect their patrons and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Because the whole point of a public library is to get materials in the hands of readers, McKinney Public Library pivoted to curbside service; then in an abundance of caution, eventually discontinued that for the city of 100,000 people, 30 miles south of Austin College.
Gary Landeck, program manager for the three-branch library system and Mindy’s husband, was leading his team to find innovative ways to continue to reach their community through online adult education.
“They talked about getting speakers from the community,” Mindy said. “And, I had three or four programs developed, ‘already in the can’ so to speak.” Mindy’s area expertise is Japanese culture, and she has collaborated with the library before on a children’s program called “Passport to East Asia.” Since 2017, the hands-on event has been co-sponsored by Austin College and the library and given Austin College students living in Jordan Family Language House an opportunity to share and serve.
The Landecks made quick work of preparing the distance-friendly programming for the community, and by late April, had live-streamed the first talk about the Japanese tea ceremony, followed by one on Japanese monsters, and another on Japanese gardens. The programs are delivered live via Zoom, for about 40 minutes, and are followed by questions and answers.
“This is a collaboration we felt would benefit each other,” Mindy said. “And, it’s a great way to familiarize others with Austin College by reaching an audience we have never reached before.”
Programming continues as Thomas Blake talks about the cultural fascination of vampires in “Revamping the Vampire: Victorian and Modern” on May 14, and Karla McCain asks, “Why Are Women Underrepresented in Science?” in late May.
To register for these free adult education sessions, visit the McKinney Public Library System on Facebook. These faculty members are bringing the best of the liberal arts to new audiences by delivering a variety of topics and problem-solving their way through social distancing.