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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI's multimedia program clicks with students

PROVIDENCE, RI -- July 31, 2000 -- Question: What do a pastor in Burrillville, a URI employee, and a woman with new job skills have in common?

Answer: They all can create web pages, make a video, and design a brochure, thanks to a multimedia certificate program offered at the University of Rhode Island's Feinstein College of Continuing Education in Providence through its Special Programs Office.

The multimedia program offers a composite of print and video courses to members of the public who want to get a firm footing on a new career path, upgrade their technology skills, or take a course for personal growth. An Open House is planned on Thursday, August 17 at URI Feinstein-CCE from 5 to 7 p.m. in Room 333.

It's appealing to adult students because the program's hands-on training with one-to-one instruction and flexible lab time allows them a chance to get comfortable and feel at home while building their technology competence. Indeed, the individualized final project, based on a real-world need, becomes part of the student's portfolio.

"It's the only certificate program in Rhode Island," says Francine Fink, director of the program. "Other colleges and institutions offer courses, but URI is the only institution to offer such a well-rounded certificate."

The program is divided into two tracks: a print and web design track and a video production track. "The real bonus is that each track takes just 96 hours, so it can be completed within one semester," said Fink.

One recent grad of the program, the Reverend James A. Blair, pastor of the First Universalist Church of Burrillville, found the program had real practical applications for him. The pastor writes his sermons on the computer, produces the church newsletter, and is in the process of creating a church brochure. "I call this my little sabbatical," he says. "It's not just a necessity. I found myself enjoying itthe instructors' expertise and their sharing of their own experiences with clients. What a resource!"

Tim Tierney, assistant director for Audio Visual Production Services at URI, took both print and video tracks for professional development. He winced when he had to give up his Saturday mornings to attend a video class. After all, he worked with video all week long on the job. "Boy, am I glad that I went. I learn more things. The class was small and we would talk video talk. We usually ended up continuing our conversations over lunch. It's fun stuff. I'm a little mad at myself that I didn't jump on it sooner," he says, noting he enjoyed his experience so much he signed up for a computer design course offered by URI's Art Department.

Karen Jones of Providence was a transit planner in nearby Massachusetts before her department was downsized and she found herself without a job. The 47-year-old woman decided to switch careers. She took both print and video tracks. "It was excellent. I loved the hands-on experience," says Jones who designed her own Web page and created her own film.

While URI is committed to small classes, if there is enough demand, another section of the courses could be offered, according to Fink.

"The program is technical," says Fink. "Participants must have some computer expertise, for example some proficiency in Windows '95, word processing, and power point.

The program is also evolving, says Fink, in response to the needs of the public.

So far, 69 participants have gone through the program since it was first offered in the Spring of 1999 when the lab opened. The lab, funded by a grant from the Rhode Island General Assembly, has 20 computer work stations.

Fink said the profile of the class gleaned from surveys shows that the majority (59 percent) were women, many were 40 to 49 years old (42 percent), most had some college (67 percent), and nearly half (46 percent) said they were taking the course in search of a new career path.

For more information about the program, call Fink at 277-5477 or drop her a line at


For Information: Francine Fink, 277-5477, Jan Sawyer, 874-2116


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