Jim Harris can't go to the grocery store in peace anymore.
"I have lost my anonymity in Utah Valley. People always come up and say, `Oh, I saw you on TV.' "OK, Harris admits he has yet to be mobbed in the produce section. His fans are a specialized group - viewers of Basic Biology, shown on channel 9 Mondays through Thursdays at 7 p.m.
Utah Valley Community College has begun taping and broadcasting the biology class to ease overenrollment in conventional classes and to reach would-be students who cannot attend regular sections.
"The class could reach mothers who cannot leave their homes, people who work during the day, or anyone who cannot come to the campus," Harris said.
The show is UVCC's first contribution to a statewide program of video classes. Viewers can earn college credit that will be honored at any college or university in Utah.
Harris has been teaching biology at UVCC for years but said there were some adjustments to make when he faced the cameras.
"I get some stage fright, but most teachers get that in regular classrooms, too. The main change was the classes had to be so structured."
Harris must follow an outline that details how much material will be covered, when the technical director should show charts and graphics on the screen and when Harris will write terms on a slate photographed by an overhead camera.
And he has to leave time to field questions from his three on-set students.
"We were hoping for more, but some couldn't spend the 21/2 hours we need each afternoon to tape two shows.
"And some were just too shy to go on TV."
Mark Stewart, 18, agreed to be an on-air student because the class would go fast. Because two shows are taped a day, students on the video set will finish the course twice as fast as home viewers or students in conventional classes. But there is extra pressure, too.
"We worry about whether we are asking the questions the people at home would have," Stewart said. "I always feel like I should ask more questions, but I hate to see myself on TV."
Stewart said he tapes his television appearances, but he hasn't watched any of them yet.
Harris also teaches three regular sections of basic biology, and said he will be interested in comparing test scores to see how much different students are learning. Home students are tested at the college's testing center.
If the video class proves effective, the tapes will run for several years, he said.
Harris said he has not made any wardrobe changes, and he has been teased about it.
"We tape two shows a day, so everyone watching at home thinks I always wear the same clothes two days in a row."
The strangest part of teaching the class is seeing the UVCC emblem on the wall behind his podium, Harris said.
"I see myself in the monitor once in a while, and it looks like I am wearing a laurel wreath. It makes me feel Olympian or presidential or something. But I can't talk them out of it."