CRI invites you to learn

By John Nadeau | Aug 19, 2011

“How do you like this assignment?” Dick Gibson asks.


“In the next few weeks, I have to become an expert on the U.S. Constitution, killer whales, and film noir.”


Gibson, who conducts an interview program on several community access channels, is talking about preparing for conversations he will have with instructors at the Creative Retirement Institute.


Edmonds Community College sponsors CRI, a lifelong learning program for older adults, which offers college-level, non-credit courses at low cost.


The fall term is about to start.


To call attention to CRI and highlight individual courses, Gibson has been conducting interview shows for about half a dozen years.


The programs appear on Comcast channel 21 (channel 26 within the Edmonds city limits) and Frontier cable channel 38, which serves all Snohomish County.


“These have been fun to do, because I’ve always liked talking to people,” says Gibson, who is a retired Presbyterian minister.


Because he himself is a CRI instructor, who teaches courses on religion, he appreciates that some guests will be anxious on camera and does his best to put them at ease.


“Ahead of time, I always make notes on the topics and ask each instructor to submit five or six questions,” he says.


In the studio, occasionally he’ll ask the instructor one question, and he or she will go full throttle without interruption to the end of the show.


“That can be good -- or bad if not enough information comes out.”


The flip side is that sometimes – thankfully, not too often – the interviewee will clam up. That means Gibson, with maybe ten minutes to fill, must carry on practically solo.


Daniel Dootson, the college’s visual communications specialist, helps Gibson in getting the shows on the air.


His department produces about 200 programs a year for classroom instruction and telecasts.


Gibson has high praise for the production crew.


“They go about their work professionally, and they’re always courteous to the talent,” he says.


The programs, which are aired throughout the week at various times, can be a little hard to find.


They will be underway in a few weeks.

In general, the CRI interviews air shortly before the courses start.


For example, the killer whales course will be the topic on Tuesdays, Oct. 18 through Nov. 1; the Constitution course on Wednesdays, Oct. 19 through Nov. 9; and the film noir course on Tuesdays, Nov. 15 through Dec. 6.


You can check the daily schedule at


If you‘ve ever considered taking a CRI class, tuning in might be a good way to audition one. Of course, another approach would be to sign up for a course and see for yourself.


Remember, at CRI there are no exams, research papers, or grades.  Just the enjoyment of learning.


For more information, you can phone 425-640-1830 and ask for a free course listing.

CRI classes are open to all older adults, regardless or educational background.

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