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College Plans to Offer More Sunday Classes


Moorpark College will offer an expanded menu of classes on Sundays this spring, part of a national trend to give busy working people more educational choices, officials said.

While Saturday classes have become common in recent years, Moorpark is the first of Ventura County's three community colleges to tap into Sundays.

"We're seeing more information coming across our desks that different colleges across the country are giving this a try," said Pat Kistler, spokeswoman for the Ventura County Community College District. "People are so very busy between family and children's sports obligations on Saturdays, maybe Sundays are the only days they can come up for air."

Moorpark began the experiment this semester, offering three courses in a rapidly growing computer networks engineering program, said Eva Conrad, executive vice president.

The idea arose from students in that program partly because of a desire to earn certification more quickly but also because of booked enrollment in the weekday sections, Conrad said.

"These are very dedicated students with their eye on a specific goal," she said. "It was really a grass-roots decision."

The program, in its third year, is in high demand as virtually every company has become dependent on computers communicating with each other, said Rene Rodriguez, dean of student learning who oversees the networking program. About 16 students are in the class being taught now.

Rodriguez said the Sunday classes are part of the college's Cisco program, which is the most popular networking certification. Silicon Valley-based Cisco Systems Inc. manufactures networking hardware.

"They have been very successful," he said. "We didn't know if students would be willing to attend on a Sunday, but they're showing up."

And the idea has caught on in other departments. In addition to the three computer networking classes planned for the spring semester, the college will offer a nighttime astronomy lab, beginning golf and two tennis clinics on Sundays, Conrad said.

"Moorpark College is very open to trying things out," she said. "If it proves to meet the community's needs, we'll be very open to expanding it."

In Orange County, community colleges are experimenting with Sundays in response to increasing demand.

Susan Lemkin, spokeswoman for Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, said an English composition class being offered this semester has proved to be successful. Three more sections of the popular general-education course are planned for the spring, Lemkin said.

The most difficult aspect of offering classes on Sundays is finding an instructor willing to work then, she said, but she predicted that the college would continue to expand the effort.

Ventura County college district trustee Norman Nagel, who represents the Conejo Valley, said he was glad to hear that Moorpark is offering more Sunday classes, adding that he would like to see more in the future.

"I always hear requests for more weekend classes from our students who work during the week," he said. "I think this is a great opportunity."

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