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Once a teacher, always a teacher

Created date

August 3rd, 2009
Editor s note: This is the first in a series of stories featuring Wind Crest residents who are continuing to work and pursue their passions into the traditional retirement years. Gwynne Larsen retired from her full-time job back in 2007. But the former tenured professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver says, Sitting around just isn t for me. I enjoy relaxing and reading a great mystery like anyone else, but I want something more, something else to keep me going, something to keep my mind sharp. So Larsen, who holds an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in business management, has used the past few years as an opportunity to do what she loves teaching her students about computers, software, and computer operating systems. Pressure off, enjoyment on Larsen says that she used to carry a full load of courses each semester. It was a daunting task that often included teaching, grading, and keeping track of hundreds of students. There wasn t much breathing room, she says. Now she handles a smaller class load. I wanted a job, and I didn t want to have to relearn a whole new job, she explains. So I just kept on doing what I enjoy. I always loved teaching and the students and the intellectual exchange, only now all that pressure and the stress of carrying a huge workload is gone. I m teaching for the sheer enjoyment of it. Larsen currently teaches two courses over the Internet, and she reports to the Metropolitan State College campus at least a couple times a week to collect assignments, hold office hours, and tutor students who need assistance. It s a great place, Larsen says of the school. I m very thankful that the college let me return part-time after I retired. I hope to stay on as long as they need me. Evolving knowledge Given Larsen s expertise and experience in computer science, a field that is as popular as ever, she will likely be able to keep working as long as she wants. Larsen is the author of 18 books on computer usage and programs, some of which are used for college courses throughout the country. The current course she is teaching is designed for students looking to use computers in their academic pursuits and careers. She teaches them how to use a personal computer and take advantage of all of the features in common word processing, spreadsheets, file management, and graphics software. The course also reviews the historical, societal, ethical, and technological aspects of computers. I like to learn and teach about the most up-to-date software, says Larsen, who has been working with computers since the first micro computers became popular in the early 1980s. There are so many wonderful programs out there, and most people only use about 10% of all the functions available to them.