SBCC SEL in Cyberspace

By Steven Libowitz   |   April 2, 2020

What with all the online learning taking place in colleges, universities, and other educational institutions, it may not seem all that revolutionary that Santa Barbara City College’s School of Extended Learning is embracing the internet. Indeed, with the COVID-19 crisis, there was no choice but to go virtual.

What is rather exciting is the breadth of classes from the division formerly (and belovedly) known as Adult Ed that have made the journey. Courses in art (including drawing, painting, collage, and flower arranging as well as appreciation), music (including several singing sessions and instruction in the ukulele and more), acting, writing, travel, film, and much more.

More germane to our area, there are also plenty of personal development/spiritual practices classes that have zipped over to Zoom as well, a transition made all the more simple by the fact that most don’t require any props at all. You can choose from several section of Body/Mind Awareness; Consciousness, Science, and the Nature of Being; Essence of Compassionate Communication; Acupressure – Simple Patterns for Pain Relief and Relaxation; Health and Wellness: Active Body, Active Mind; and Naturopathic Medicine – Science and Nature Working Together, to name just a few. All of the instructors seem not only amenable but actively enthusiastic about having people join any class that’s already ongoing.

A little more surprisingly, Rodger Sorrow has figured out to take people on meditative journeys through the plentiful beaches, mountain trails, parks, and such in our area through his now virtual Nature and Self-Healing classes, which have both beginning and intermediate sections (not sure how they differ since nobody is actually moving).

“I think we can still have fun with this,” Sorrow said in an email message. “We will start with some time just to visit and connect. I will bring some hiking pics and short video clips so we can talk about different trails and the special features they offer. We can have our usual discussion of a self-healing topic and then a short meditation.”

What’s new is an assignment: a weekly suggestion to go for a hike while, of course, maintaining safe social distance unless you are with the people already in your household. You can even ask during class if anyone wants to go with you and perhaps try a new trail – keeping far enough apart that you’re untouchable by COVID. Participants can then share digital pictures with the class.

Sorrow provided the Zoom link, but I’m withholding it here, because students need to register as SBCC gets funding through attendance, and low enrollment means the class might get canceled.

Even more exciting, perhaps, is the news that came just this Monday that The SBCC School of Extended Learning has also arranged to conduct the annual Santa Barbara Nonviolent Communication Conference online. In response to COVID-19, the event, curated and moderated by Sorrow, will be hosted by the NVC Academy, the existing online classroom for learning NVC concepts, meaning dedicated Santa Barbara-area NVC practitioners can stay in touch with the local NVC community and learn from the seven visiting trainers without leaving your home. There will be 20 sessions in all during the April 24 -26 conference, which will be conducted via four parallel Zoom rooms. We’ll have more details in an upcoming issue.

Visit to see the current spring schedule and register for the conference. Email Sorrow at or call (805) 452-8874 to find out more about the new format.


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