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Online education isn't just for universities.

Colleges and universities have been offering online courses for years, but now some electronics manufacturers and retailers are providing Internet classes. Austin, Texas-based Powered Inc. (www.powered.com), has been working with several retailers and suppliers to be that customer point of information and interaction. In December, Sony Electronics Inc., San Diego, Calif., and Circuit City Stores Inc., Richmond, Va., launched an online education resource to help consumers learn about the latest consumer electronics and technologies. Free online courses are offered at http://learning.circuitcity.com. Powered Inc. develops the topics, which include digital photography, videography, and basic website design. Course lessons are accessible 24/7, and students can interact with expert instructors to answer questions while taking the courses.

Powered Inc. first partnered with Sony on a pilot program focused on digital photography. The success of Sony 101 at www.sony101 .com prompted an expansion of Sony consumer education and the development of the Sony Learning Center at www.learningcenter.sony.us. Meanwhile, Sony 101 has grown beyond digital photography to include online courses ranging from home entertainment to personal computing.

In October 2006, RadioShack Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, and Powered Inc., began offering customers free online educational courses through http://learningcenter.radioshack.com. Courses are moderated and taught by experts from across the country, including authors, technology leaders, and technology professionals. Courses have included topics such as getting started with digital scrapbooking, wireless home networking, digital photography techniques, and selecting the ultimate home theater.

Powered Inc. also provides online education programs for Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. HP initially created a learning center focused on their small-medium business customers, and then expanded to its Home/Home Office consumers. The site at www.hponlinecourses.com, focuses on technology as a part of consumers' homes, families, and everyday lives. The online courses feature topics like digital photography, digital entertainment, data security, and personal development.

The Internet offers suppliers and retailers alike new and interactive ways to reach customers with valuable information about products and services--whether it be online classes, blogs, or newsletters. And more and more consumers are looking for this type of information online.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Newsline
Author:Duiser, Beth A.
Publication:PMA Magazine - Connecting the Imaging Communities
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:356
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