The Chronicles of Narnia - TheNarniaAcademy.org Tops 25,000 Enrollments

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The release of Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia" has created unprecidented interest in TheNarniaAcademy.org featuring the writings of author C.S. Lewis. The participants in the free online course entitled "Beyond The Wardrobe" has topped 25,000 students, adults and homeschoolers.

Corresponding with the release of Disney and Walden Media's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," The Narnia Academy (http://www.TheNarniaAcademy.org) has opened their "Beyond The Wardrobe" course to a second seating. "Beyond The Wardrobe" is a world-class 20-lesson course on the C.S. Lewis classic, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." The course offers totally free access and is appropriate for Middle School and High School students as well as interested adults. "The only additional thing necessary," according to Howard Mark Mandel, President of The Narnia Academy, “is a copy of the book. We decided to offer this course totally free of charge; there is no commercial advertising anywhere in this course."

Mandel continued, "This is a professional resource for educators, group leaders, and individual learners. It is being provided free of tuition and any other fees because we want to pass on the power of imagination that inspired author C. S. Lewis, and to encourage discussion and consideration of the spiritual allegory and parable in and of the story. Everyone involved in the creation of http://www.TheNarniaAcademy.org and the "Beyond The Wardrobe" course shares the same goal; to deepen the story's magic that has inspired generations of readers."

"Beyond The Wardrobe" is an "any time, any pace" course that allows each student to move through the lessons at their own speed.

Enrollments in the free 20-lesson online course topped 25,000 students before the World Premiere of the movie on December 9, 2005. Because of the popularity of the Beyond The Wardrobe course, and the continued demand for enrollments, the academy is opening a second class to accept additional students at least through February 2006. "We were astonished by the number of enrollments that The Narnia Academy received," continued Mandel. "When our curriculum developers originally wrote the course, I told them to expect 1000-2000 students. To see the first class top 25,000 participants and still have continued demand for more space is almost unbelievable to all of us here. Last October, we had an unexpected but "welcome" problem. So many individuals enrolled in the Narnia course that our Internet computers became overloaded. To get the multi-media rich content back up to speed, we had to quadruple our server power just to handle all of the participation!"

The Narnia Academy began developing the site about 12 months ago and is a result of the combined efforts of many artists, programmers and curriculum developers. The entire project was underwritten by Learning By Grace, Inc. (http://www.LearningByGrace.org), the nation's largest management company for online preK-12 learning academies. Learning By Grace originally planned on using the "Beyond The Wardrobe" course exclusively for students currently enrolled in it's managed academies, but decided last summer to release it to the general public because of the growing interest in the "Chronicles."

By opening a second seating of "Beyond The Wardrobe," free enrollments will be available at least through February 2006. The course is being attended by students in public schools, private schools and parochial schools. Many homeschoolers throughout the U.S. are registered as well as college students. The Narnia Academy has also made registration available to other interested groups such as Christian Church groups, Youth Groups, Homeschooling Associations, Alternative Education classes and others so they can study and discuss the lessons together.

Howard Mark Mandel, President of The Narnia Academy is available for additional information and engaging interviews by calling 215.487.3700 Jamie Lairson (Ext. 116) or Gina Caplan (Ext 120).

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