CORVALLIS - Just imagine, college classes with nationally recognized professors - and no tests, no grades and, best of all, no tuition.

A pipedream? Not anymore.

As part of Oregon State University's annual Homecoming Weekend, the OSU Statewide Distance and Continuing Education program and the OSU Alumni College will present a day of free "Classes Without Quizzes" on Friday, Oct. 16.

A new program for Homecoming weekend, Classes Without Quizzes, presents some of the university's most popular faculty teaching classes such as "Football and American Culture" and "Fish Get Viruses, Too."

Pat Newport, marketing coordinator for OSU Statewide Distance and Continuing Education, said Classes Without Quizzes was originally intended to introduce alumni and others to the university's distance and continuing education program. During fall term, she said, there are more than 130 classes in 35 subjects being taught by 68 faculty members. Students can join a classroom at one of 18 locations statewide or take classes via the Internet, video, interactive television or one-on-one at a distance using e-mail, fax and mail.

But Newport admits that introducing people to the university's distance and continuing education program isn't the only reason for Classes Without Quizzes.

"It also sounded fun," she said. "There's a great variety of interesting classes we're offering, not only for OSU alumni, but to the rest of the general public, too."

To register for any or all of the free classes, call OSU Statewide Distance and Continuing Education at 541-737-2676, or 541-737-1279.

The classes include:


  • "McDonald Forest - A Special Place" (9:30 a.m. to noon) Dave Lysne, director of OSU research forests, will guide a tour through a portion of the 11,500-acre McDonald-Dunn Forest. You'll see a variety of flora and fauna, hear about current research and learn about how the forest is unique.


  • "To Know a Scorpion: How a Little Education Changes Fear into Fascination" (1 to 1:55 p.m.). You'll learn about the fascinating biology of these ancient and elegantly adapted animals, concentrating on sensory specialization for predation and courtship on the nocturnal desert. Philip Brownell, professor of zoology, will lead the class.


  • "Family Problem Solving with Children: Tips and Pitfalls" (1 to 1:55 p.m.). Family life inevitably includes some disagreements between parents and children. Sam Vuchinich, associate professor of human development and family studies, will provide some useful tools for handling these trying times productively.


  • "Fish Get Viruses, Too" (2 to 2:55 p.m.). In some years, salmon and trout in the Columbia River die by the millions from a virus infection. Jo-Ann C. Leong, distinguished professor and chair of microbiology, will talk about what scientists and hatchery managers are doing to curb this virus infection.


  • "What is Abstract Art and Why Should I Like It?" (2 to 2:55 p.m.). You've undoubtedly seen paintings by the likes of Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko and said, "my kid could do that." This is a short course about why the kid couldn't. Henry Sayre, professor of art, will lead the class. Sayre recently completed "A World of Art: A Work in Progress," a 10-part video course that aired on PBS, accompanied by a book, CD and website.


  • "Corporate Creativity: How Innovation and Improvement Actually Happen" (3 to 3:55 p.m.). Based on real-life examples of how creativity actually happens, Sam Stern, professor of education, will teach strategies and tips for promoting creativity in your organization. Stern's book by the same name, was rated as one of the top business books of the year. It has just been published in paperback.


  • "Football and American Culture" (3 to 3:55 p.m.). Michael Oriard, distinguished professor of American literature and culture, will present a new perspective of football's role in American culture, particularly on the way it has been represented in the media. Oriard's latest book, "Reading Football," just came out in paperback.

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Pat Newport, 541-737-1279