The countdown to our annual Cyberhouse: An Online Open House has begun. Have you signed up yet? Join us June 2-5 for our dynamic, interactive, and free exploration of the online format.

Enrolling in our online open house gives you the chance to snag a 10% discount on more than 40 Writers’ Program summer courses. Not only that, but this award-winning four-day virtual open house allows you to interact with 39 summer quarter writer/teachers, chat with advisors who can guide you to choose the best courses to meet your writing goals, test out the Blackboard format, and mingle with fellow aspiring writers around the world.

Last year marked the first-ever Cyberhouse event—and not just the first for the Writers’ Program, but first for the writing world. Director Linda Venis traces the Cyberhouse development: “When we created Cyberhouse last year, we had no models; we built it from scratch. Not only at UCLA Extension but around the country, open houses are classic brick and mortar events: an opening talk by the program director, maybe one or two instructors discussing the curriculum, and staff advisors on hand to talk to prospective students. Writers’ Program’s own version of this event always attracted several hundred attendees to the UCLA campus and was quite successful, but could not match the access to writers, advisement, and exposure to other aspiring writers that Cyberhouse provides.”

She says, “What I witnessed through-out last year’s debut was world-wide participation in a dialogue about writing and writing classes. Questions to teachers ranged from ‘How many assignments do you give?’ to ‘How do you break through writer’s block?’; from ‘I’m stuck in the 2nd act of my screenplay’ to ‘Do you have any tips for digging into my hero’s psyche?’ Obtaining such a wealth of knowledge about teachers’ approaches to writing, literary and cinematic tastes, writing challenges experienced by prospective fellow students, staff guidance on matching students’ writing levels and interests to specific courses and instructors—not a fraction of this could have taken place in a single two-hour in-person event.”

And how did the students like it? Just ask writer Viva Barkowski, who participated in the inaugural Cyberhouse in 2007: “As an online distance [learning] student, without Cyberhouse I’d have only a cursory catalog description on which to base my class choice. The opportunity to ‘meet’ the instructors, find out a little about them, their philosophy of teaching, and their classroom goals, has been invaluable. Cyberhouse is great!”

You can join in the discussion. And the community. Last year’s Cyberhouse drew 663 posts and over 20,000 hits—and we’d like to set a new record this year. Help us. Enroll now. Call the UCLA Extension Registration Office at (310) 825-9971. For more details, email writers@uclaextension.edu.

Corey Campbell is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Online) and Events.

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