UWA Online Blog

A Look at Livingston Historical Sites

Since its incorporation in 1835, the seat of Sumter County—Livingston, Alabama—has kept many of its historic landmarks, from its thrice-replaced county courthouse to a source of pride, the University of West Alabama. Much can be learned about a town through visiting landmarks. We’ll take you through a look at Livingston historical sites as far back as the 1830s.


  1. Sumter County Courthouse. This tenacious county courthouse, now listed on the national register, has been through three reincarnations: first as a log building; second as a frame building in 1839 before it was destroyed in a fire; and third as the red, brick-laid courthouse built in 1902 presently located in the center of town.
  2. The University of West Alabama. While UWA has history into the early 1800s, it didn’t begin as the school we know today: the university began operations as the Livingston Female Academy. The institution transformed into the Alabama Normal School, where appropriated funds were used to train teachers. Later, the school became the co-ed Livingston State Teachers College in 1929, and after a few more iterations of its name (Livingston State College and then Livingston University), the University of West Alabama was officially born in 1995.
  3. Myrtlewood Cemetery. With respect to those deceased buried here, Myrtlewood Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Sumter County, with records dating back to 1830.
  4. Bored Well. This well, located in the Courthouse Square, is not named for being in a state of perpetual boredom. The well was named for its original conception in 1854, in which a mule pulled an old auger in circles until an artesian aquifer was found. This Livingston historic site has also gone through some changes: a handpump was install to the well in 1904, followed by an electric pump in 1928. A drinking fountain now stands in its place, covered by a brick pavilion.
  5. Livingston City Hall. Visitors to Livingston can see the original design of the old Southern Railroad Depot where the Livingston City Hall now stands. The building was built in the 1870s and served passengers and freighters for the railway services passing through Atlanta, Birmingham, and New Orleans. The old depot continued as a freight office even when passengers were no longer being picked up until the state of Alabama granted the building renovations in 2001, turning it into Livingston City Hall.
  6. Covered Bridge. The covered bridge in Livingston originally spanned across the Sucarnoochee River in 1861 before it was moved to serve the Alamuchee Creek in 1924. The bridge was moved yet again and renovated to the University of West Alabama. It is considered one of the oldest bridges in Alabama.


If you’re thinking about visiting Livingston, Alabama, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the local history by visiting any of these important Livingston historical sites. Stay in touch with what is going on in and around Livingston and the University of West Alabama by continuing to follow the UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning blog! To learn more about our course offerings or to register for courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce.

Course Spotlight: Professional Photography 3212

If you are ready to move beyond capturing life’s photographable moments with your iPhone, consider Professional Photography 3212—an online continuing education course through The University of West Alabama Online!

Working with today’s digital technology, it is easier than ever to become an effective photographer given practical information and guidance on proper photo-taking techniques. In Professional Photography 3212, participants will learn about both digital and analog photography with an emphasis on basic concepts that are involved in the art. Students will come away with a better understanding of camera and editing techniques, including a basic knowledge of Photoshop and insight into starting an at-home photography business.

This course will cover the following:

  • The basic principles of photography and camera anatomy
  • The steps involved in processing photographs
  • Digital photography techniques, including composition
  • The basics of establishing depth of field, perspective and lighting
  • Techniques for improving photographs, including corrective elements and special effects
  • The critical elements of launching a professional photography career or photography-based business

This course is ideal for persons with a range of photographic abilities, including the photography student wanting to learn more, the interested hobbyist, the amateur enthusiast and even the skilled photographer looking to make a transition from photography as a hobby to a full-time career. It will be supported by an educational mentor, who will be available to review student work, respond to questions and interact with students as needed.

Professional Photography 3212 has certain hardware requirements, which are listed on the course description of the UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning course catalog. This course is open now for registration through Dec. 15, 2017!

If you are interested in Professional Photography 3212, click here to register for the course, or to browse for other UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning courses! Visit us at www.uwa.edu/ce!




10 Valuable Career Skills You Can Learn Online

Your academic degree says something about you—that you were motivated enough to complete the required course materials on a particular subject, and you had enough interest (and maybe even passion) for the topic to study it for an extended period of time. While your degree is nothing to glaze over in the career world, and sure, it looks great on paper—it means less to a potential employer if you don’t have the skills to back it up. With technology at our fingertips, acquiring the training for the career skills you need is more accessible than ever. Here are 10 valuable career skills you can learn online—and with the help of UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning!

  • Speaking or translating another language. Fluency or near-fluency in another language can give you a leg up when it comes to finding a prominent position within a company you have your eye on. Try free online language learning platforms like Duolingo, or UWA Online offers the course “Spanish for Medical Professionals” for those in the medical field.


  • Specific software expertise. Master Microsoft Excel, become a pro at Photoshop—all from the comfort of your own computer screen. Proficiency in specific computer programs is a common requirement for many jobs. At UWA Online, you can earn a Certificate in Mastering Excel or a Certificate in Presentation Media, which includes the course “Photoshop for Presentations.”


  • Google tools. Experience working with Google programs like Google Analytics, Google apps for business and Google+ are prized in various corners of the workforce today including search engine optimization, digital marketing, web and app development and more. You can earn a Certificate in Google Tools through the UWA Online Continuing Education.


  • Effective communication. No matter what career you are in or pursuing, communication is key across the board. Strong communication skills can make all the difference between a job candidate who is selected for a position and one who is rejected. UWA Online Continuing Education offers the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Workplace Communication, for which participants will take the following three courses: “Conflict Management,” “Negotiation: Get What You Want” and “Using Personality Profiles for Better Work Performance.”


  • Professional writing. Writing is one form of communication that can also prove critical to your marketability to potential employers. Whether you are preparing materials for print, maintaining a blog or drafting emails, effective writing can serve a variety of useful purposes in the workplace. Earn a Certificate in Business Writing with the courses “Effective Copywriting,” “Business Writing,” and “Writing News and Press Releases,” through UWA Online.


  • Social media marketing. There is more to marketing on social media than posting a picture with a few hashtags. Learning the ins and outs of everything social media platforms offer in terms of paid posts, audience targeting and more can prove extremely valuable to your business. UWA Online Continuing Education offers a Managing Social Media Platforms Certificate, a Social Media for Business Certificate and individual courses like “Social Media for Business,” “Instagram for Business” and more.


  • Accounting and finance. Employers will gravitate toward someone who exhibits strong skills in budgeting, analyzing and managing cash flow for a business. Through UWA Online Continuing Education, you can earn a Certificate in Accounting and Finance for Non-Financial Managers with the courses “Accounting and Finance for Non-Financial Managers,” “Cash is King,” and “Financial Analysis and Planning for Non-Financial Managers.”


  • Interested in starting a company from the ground up? There are certain skills an aspiring entrepreneur should be familiar with in order to have a chance at being successful. You can earn certificates in Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Finance through UWA Online Continuing Education.


  • It pays to have the confidence and know-how to step up into a leadership role when the time is right. Effective leadership is what will lead you to earning a promotion or landing a position at a bigger and better company. UWA Online offers several leadership-focused certificates and courses including a Certificate in Leadership Development, Certificate in Leadership in the 21st Century and courses like “Customer Service Leadership,” and “Developing Your Leadership Skills.”


  • Data analysis. Being able to interpret data and use it to the advantage of a business is a valuable skill to show off no matter what field you are working in. Earn a certificate in Data Analysis from UWA Online with “Introduction to Data Analysis,” “Intermediate Data Analysis,” and “Advanced Data Analysis.”

Consider adding one or more of these valuable career skills you can learn online to your resume! All you have to do is take the next step by registering today at www.uwa.edu/ce!


10 Ways to Have a Summer Staycation

As many people gear up for beach weekends, road trips and even flights to faraway places this summer, others without the budget or time to travel may be feeling down and out upon seeing friends’ Facebook posts advertising their warm weather adventures. But just because you are not planning to traverse state lines this summer does not mean you can’t plan a fun or relaxing escape from your everyday routine. Introducing the staycation—a vacation you can take without leaving town—or without even opening your front door. If you want to have fun without blowing your budget, check out these 10 ways to have a summer staycation!

  • Camp in your backyard. Sleeping under the stars is a classic summer activity—and one that you can do from the comfort of your own backyard. Grab a tent, sleeping bags and some s’mores and enjoy getting in touch with the Great Outdoors—while still having a bathroom nearby!


  • Have a movie marathon. Pick a favorite genre or series, and invite your friends over for an all-day or night movie extravaganza. If you want to take it a step further, look into setting up a projector on a large wall inside or on the exterior of your home to get the big screen experience.


  • Be a tourist in your own town. What landmarks or attractions is your town known for that you have never been to visit yourself? Take yourself on a tour of your town by hitting all of the highlights that typically attract outside visitors.


  • Visit a local museum or historical site. Along the same lines, get in touch with local history by heading to a museum or historical site nearby. Spend time taking in the culture of your area for a staycation that will teach you something.


  • Venture to a local nature preserve or state park. Staycations are the perfect opportunity to explore. Plan a day hiking, biking or boating at a state park or nature preserve within close proximity. Bring a picnic and immerse yourself in nature.


  • Attend a sporting event. If you are not a regular sports attendee, this will give you the opportunity to experience something new. If you are an avid sports goer, then bring a friend along who has never been to a game. Even if you are not a huge fan of a sport or team, all of the festivities surrounding sporting events are sure to entertain.


  • Set up a kiddie pool at home. If you have children, they’ll be ecstatic to splash around in a pool in their own backyard. If you do not have children, there is nothing saying that kiddie pools are just for kids! Pick up one of the larger pool options, fill it with the hose and invite your friends over to cool off under the sun.


  • Splurge on some “vacation” food. Is there a particular dish that you reserve for ordering only on vacations? For your summer staycation this year, make it feel like you are on vacation by cooking or ordering that meal.


  • Treat yourself. Look into making an appointment with your local spa, hair stylist or nail salon to treat yourself to some pampering. Schedule a massage, try a new hairstyle or get a manicure and pedicure. To save money, set some time aside to do your own nails at home, try a mud mask or take a long bath.


  • Do nothing. For many, this may be the ultimate summer staycation activity! When you have time off work or school, there is nothing wrong with simply relaxing and indulging in the peace and quiet of your own home.

Summer staycations can be just as rewarding as exotic trips if you approach it with the right mindset! There are also benefits of a staycation over a vacation including less money spent, less stress and less time spent traveling—and more time spent doing what you want to do!

Have time to spare this summer? Consider taking an online continuing education course through the University of West Alabama Online! For our entire list of course offerings, and to register for courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce!

Course Spotlight: Beef: Principles and Methods of Cooking 3104

There can be more to cooking beef than shaping it into hamburger patties for the grill or combining it with taco seasoning in a skillet—and you can learn all about it in Beef: Principles and Methods of Cooking 3104 through the University of West Alabama Online.

In this online continuing education course offered through the University of West Alabama Online, students will learn everything they ever wanted to know and more about cutting, cooking, storing, aging and garnishing beef. The course will focus on beef preparation, the anatomy of a cow and the specifics of the meat’s various cuts. In addition, students will learn about the grading process, proper refrigeration methods and what marinades work best depending on the type of beef you are cooking and how.

Other topics covered in Beef: Principles and Methods of Cooking 3104 include:

  • Describing the structure and composition of beef
  • Identifying the two types of aging for meat
  • Explaining the process for inspection and grading of beef
  • Selecting the appropriate meat cuts for recipes
  • Understanding how to receive and store meat properly
  • Selecting appropriate cooking methods for cuts of meat
  • Listing appropriate accompaniments and garnishes to serve with meat
  • Identifying quality signs of meat, with fat and marbling
  • Practicing cutting, dicing and other preparation techniques
  • Identifying accurate portion cuts of meat
  • Preparing classic beef recipes
  • And more!

Featured Escoffier chefs include Chef Randall Sansom, a professional chef, food and beverage director; Chef Susie Wolak, with 30 years of pastry and baking experience; Chef Thomas Kaltenecker who has taught in various culinary education programs and consulted for high end restaurants, bakeries and pastry shops; Chef Cesar Herrera, with 20 years’ experience as a professional chef and restaurant owner; and Chef Michael Zema, Chairman and Professor Emeritus, Elgin Community College Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program.

Beef: Principles and Methods of Cooking 3104 is open now for registration and can be started upon registration. Registration for this course is open through Dec. 15, 2017. To learn more about this and other UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce!



6 Culinary Continuing Education Courses to Try This Year

Are you a baker looking to bolster your bread making skills? Or perhaps you are an amateur behind the kitchen counter and you would like to learn more about preparing the perfect poultry? No matter your culinary skill level or area of interest, the University of West Alabama Online has an online continuing education course for you. It is a misconception that continuing education is just an extension of your basic math, science and literature. Through continuing education, you can learn practical life skills that can, in this case, help satiate your appetite for learning! Check out these six culinary continuing education courses to try this year.

Salads Green and Composed 3220

  • About: The online Green and Composed Salads Certification is designed for serious home cooks, aspiring bakers and chefs aiming to learn the fundamentals of salad making while focusing on various salad categories and dressings, the nutritional value of salads and determining the quality indicators of salad dressings. Students will work with an assigned professional chef mentor to learn how to prepare fresh salads.
  • Cost: $395
  • Dates offered: Start upon registration


Poultry: Cutting and Cooking 3207

  • About: Master poultry cutting and cooking at your own pace in this online course that will teach you about the composition of poultry, proper poultry preparation techniques, safety and sanitation practices for poultry and poultry cooking methods. Students will work with an assigned professional chef mentor to learn the ins and outs of poultry selection, cutting and preparation.
  • Cost: $395
  • Dates offered: Start upon registration


Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry Arts 3149

  • About: In this online course, students will learn classic methods and techniques involved in preparing baked goods including mixing methods and mixing’s effect on batters and doughs, interpreting baking formulas and percentages and the importance of accurate weighing and measuring when baking. Students will work with an assigned professional chef mentor to refine their baking and pastry skills.
  • Cost: $395
  • Dates offered: Start upon registration


Eggs, Dairy and Cheese 3134

  • About: Serious home cooks, aspiring bakers and chefs are invited to hone their eggs, dairy and cheese preparation skills in this online course. Learn about the composition of eggs and the major differences between grades, the nutritional value of eggs, dairy and cheese and how to use artisanal cheeses. Students will work with an assigned professional chef mentor to expertly incorporate eggs, dairy and cheese into their cooking repertoire.
  • Cost: $395
  • Dates offered: Start upon registration


Artisan and Quick Breads 3099

  • About: This course will focus on the preparation of artisan breads including mixing, fermenting, shaping, baking and storing. It will also explain the differences between various breads and illustrate how their preparation methods contrast. Students will work with an assigned professional chef mentor to sharpen their artisan and quick bread skills.
  • Cost: $395
  • Dates offered: Start upon registration


Wine Pairing and Tasting 3997

  • About: Take this course to learn how to pair certain types of wine with complementary dishes to enhance the dining experience. Wine Pairing and Tasting will also teach students about the art of wine tasting and equip them with a better understanding of how to use their senses intelligently observe and describe various qualities of wine.
  • Cost: $399
  • Dates offered: Start upon registration

Get going on your quest to become a culinary champion with one of these culinary continuing education courses available through UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning! Registration for each of these courses ends Dec. 15, 2017. You do not have to be enrolled at the University of West Alabama to take an online continuing education course. All you need is an internet connection! Check out our entire collection of course offerings at www.uwa.edu/ce!

10 Fast Facts About Sumter County

How much do you really know about the place you live? Located in Alabama’s Black Belt Region, Sumter County is home to The University of West Alabama campus in Livingston and is rich in the history, culture and tradition of those who have established themselves here—even if just for the four years they spend in school. Whether you are a native to Sumter County, or you are simply reading about it from afar, here are a few fast facts about Sumter County that you can use to grasp a better understanding of its place in history and current role in the state as a whole.

  • The land that is now Sumter County was part of the Choctaw Nation from 1797 to 1832.
  • Its first settlers were French explorers who came from Mobile. They built and settled at Fort Tombecbee near the modern-day town of Epes.
  • The Choctaw Indians ceded the land that is now Sumter County to the government with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830.
  • Sumter County was officially established on December 10, 1832.
  • Sumter County comprises a land area of 913.3 square miles.
  • As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population in Sumter County was 13,763.
  • Sumter County is home to 13 listings on the National Register of Historic Places and 12 listings on the Alabama register of Landmarks and Heritage.
  • The county’s largest employers are The University of West Alabama, Sumter County School System and McElroy Truck Lines.
  • State and local employees make up the majority of employed persons in Sumter County, followed by employees of the manufacturing and retail trade industries.
  • The estimated median age for 2016 in Sumter County was 37.

What other interesting facts do you know about Sumter County? Let us know in the comments below!

To stay in touch with what is going on in and around Livingston and The University of West Alabama campus, continue to follow the UWA Online Continuing Education eLearning blog! To learn more about our course offerings, or to register for courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce.

Course Spotlight: Spanish for Medical Professionals 1157

In the medical field, it can be difficult—and frustrating—when you are treating a patient whose primary language is something other than yours. With an increasing number of Spanish-speaking patients utilizing medical facilities in the United States, this is a common issue for nurses, doctors and others working in the medical realm to experience. That’s where Spanish for Medical Professionals 1157 comes in.

An online continuing education course at The University of West Alabama, Spanish for Medical Professionals 1157 is a Spanish class designed specifically for healthcare professionals that serves to connect English-speaking healthcare workers to their Spanish-speaking patients. The course will focus on the basic and practical Spanish language skills necessary to communicate with patients and their families. Appealing to a range of experience levels, the course will also help participants acquire an understanding of the culture surrounding Spanish speakers as it relates to healthcare.

This one-month course is divided into the following four units:

Unit 1: Introduction to Vocabulary

  • Colors, nationalities, professions
  • Alphabet
  • Vowels and consonants
  • Months and days of the week
  • Numbers 1 through 31
  • The verb for “to be:” ser

Unit 2: The Verb, “To Have”

  • Describing possessions
  • Describing feelings, pain or ailment
  • The verb for “to be:” estar
  • Location, position and state of being
  • Asking questions such as who, what, where, when and how

Unit 3: Vocabulary: Parts of the Body

  • Food
  • Adjectives and adverbs
  • Idiomatic expressions
  • Conjugating regular “-ar,” “-er” and “ir” verbs
  • Asking and answering who, what and where questions

Unit 4: Medical Terminology

  • Parts of the body
  • Symptoms and injuries
  • Medical emergencies
  • First aid
  • Medications
  • Common illnesses

By the end of Spanish for Medical Professionals, course participants will be able to form and speak simple sentences in Spanish, tell time and identify days, moths and dates in Spanish, identify and pronounce body parts and symptoms in Spanish and ask Spanish-speaking patients about their medical histories. Those who complete the course will also be able to better communicate with their patients’ families and possess an understanding of Latin American cultures.

This course is being offered July 3 through 28 and September 5 through 27, 2017!

To register for this or other UWA Online Continuing Education eLearning courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce.

Have Free Time? 10 Reasons Why You Should Spend It on Continuing Education

In juggling work, family, friends and personal activities, some people find it difficult, if not impossible, to carve out free time. Others fall on the opposite end of the spectrum—those who have more free time on their hands than they know what to do with—and the rest fall somewhere in the middle. If you are one of those who is fortunate enough to have free time in your life, and you are considering how you should spend it, continuing education could be the answer.

At The University of West Alabama Online, our Continuing Education eLearning courses are flexible enough to fit into a range of schedules—from the people with the most time to fill, to those with the least. If you have free time on your hands, here are 10 reasons why you should spend it on continuing education.

  • To enhance your job skills. Pursuing continuing education online can be a productive and fun way to strengthen your knowledge about the skill sets you already use every day in your career. Feel more confident in the position you hold at work by arming yourself with the latest knowledge about a relevant topic.
  • To step forward in your career. Going along with number one, continuing education can be the impetus you need to advance to the next level in your career. The more specialized skill sets you have, the likelier you will be to get a promotion or surpass the competition.
  • To fill job requirements. If your job requires that you complete continuing education credits on a regular basis, completing them online through UWA Online can make your life easier. Our courses are accessible from the comfort of your own computer, anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • To prep for a test. Make sure you ace your upcoming exam by taking online test prep courses. UWA Online Continuing Education eLearning offers prep courses for exams like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) exam, for example.
  • To learn a new skill. Dive into something completely new by taking an online continuing education course. Want to learn how to expertly decorate a cake or self-publish an eBook? Continuing education can show you how.
  • To pick up a hobby. Along the same lines, you could pick up an entire hobby based on the new skill you learn via continuing education. Become a wine pairing connoisseur, a substitute teacher or a professional podcaster after succeeding in a UWA Online course.
  • To stay on top of technology. Keeping up with the latest programs and applications can benefit you both in your career field and your everyday life. Technology is constantly-evolving, but taking a continuing education course that focuses on a specific program or application can help you stay up to speed.
  • To become financially savvy. Among the life skills-themed continuing education eLearning courses we offer at UWA Online are a selection of classes focused on financial education, including “Accounting and Finance for Non-Financial Managers,” “Retire Rich” and more.
  • To spend your time productively. Tired of binging on Netflix or scrolling Facebook? Spend your free time productively by signing up for a continuing education eLearning course. If you are going to spend your time staring at a screen, it can at least help if you are learning in the process.
  • To keep your mind sharp. Taking personal learning courses can help stimulate our minds as we age. Activities like continuing education have been proven to help seniors’ emotional, mental and physical well-beings.

With courses being offered online, it is easy to assimilate a continuing education course into your schedule and to complete it at your own pace. Find some free time for continuing education this summer!

To learn more about our course offerings, or to register for courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce!


Get Your Treasure Hunting Fix at the Highway 11 Antique Alley May 18-21

Rifling through someone’s old stuff on a quest to find something worth your while can be tiring—and discouraging—but once you discover that one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime find among all of the cast-aside clutter, it all suddenly becomes worth it. West Alabama residents and visitors will have 502-miles worth of opportunity to find the treasures they’ve been looking for (or that they didn’t know they needed) this weekend during the Highway 11 Antique Alley May 18-21.

This annual event involves roadside sales across a 502-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 11. U.S. Highway 11, called an “antique” in its own right, is a route that stretches from the southernmost tip of Louisiana to New York State. The Highway 11 Antique Alley sale starts in Meridian, Mississippi and runs northeast along Highway 11 through Birmingham, Alabama; Dade County, Georgia; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee and up to Bristol, Virginia. As part of the Highway 11 Antique Alley weekend, each town and county along the route celebrates in its own way with festivals, antique sales, flea markets, yard sales, carnivals and other activities.

The idea for the cross-state event was a collaboration among Chamber of Commerce directors from towns and counties along the Highway 11 corridor known as the Antique Alley Association. In its first year, the association had a goal of attracting 10,000 visitors. Exceeding its expectations, the Highway 11 Antique Alley event brought in more than 30,000 people through a three-day period. Adding miles over the years, the sale has since been expanded to encompass four days of road tripping, yard sale searching and antique hunting across the southeast.

In addition to looking for interesting items to take home, the Highway 11 Antique Alley is also an opportunity to explore the culture of the Heart of Dixie and Tennessee Valley. Participants are invited to shop, eat, meet the locals and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Locally, booths will be set up in Cuba in the Old McElroy parking lot at the intersection of Highways 80 and 11 and in downtown Livingston along Highway 11. For more information about the event, including how you can set up a booth, visit www.sumteralchamber.com, or www.us11antiquealley.com!

To keep up with what’s going on in Livingston, on UWA’s campus and in the surrounding area, continue to follow the UWA Online Continuing Education eLearning blog! To check out our course offerings, visit https://uwa.augusoft.net/!