Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has adapted the delivery of its educational programming for seniors to meet a changing environment.
OLLI at UNL is an adult learning program designed for people 50 and older, offering non-credit courses with no tests or grades on a variety of subjects. Seniors across Nebraska can now participate in OLLI courses and events.
Courses are being streamed live on Zoom, and programming is available on demand. Registration for the winter term begins Jan. 12. Classes start Jan. 25 and run through March 6. A mid-year new or renewing membership is $50 and is valid for the 2021 winter, spring and summer terms. A one-time class is $5, and a six-week course is $30. Over 45 hours of programming on demand is offered at a single cost of $30.
“The coronavirus pandemic has presented OLLI at UNL with challenges and new opportunities,” said Bob Michl, OLLI curriculum coordinator. “Virtual learning has been new to our OLLI members and to our staff.”
It took some adjustments to take OLLI programming online, but Michl said he has been pleasantly surprised with how members have adapted.
“One of the more common stereotypes about older adults is that they do not want to learn to use technology,” he said. “Although some people still resist the idea of online learning, a larger percentage of older adults want to be engaged in online activities, especially during this pandemic situation.”
Going online has meant that OLLI has broadened its reach to a larger audience across the state.
“The benefit of virtual learning is that anyone can take OLLI courses and attend events online whenever and wherever they live in the state,” Michl said.
A variety of courses
A wide variety of courses on Zoom awaits OLLI members during Term 3. Among the 50 courses offered are:
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression, a look at the world of LGBTQA+;
Equality Before the Law: Exploring Some of America’s Most Famous and Infamous Court Cases, an exploration of some of America’s most celebrated court cases;
Black Women Journalists, a study of trailblazing journalists and their reporting efforts;
How to Be an Anti-Racist and Anti-Exceptionalist, a long-overdue discussion at this critical time in our nation’s history;
American Religious Liberties, different court cases that have considered ideas such as religious freedom and religious choice;
Boosting Memory and Lowering Dementia Risk, how to protect your brain from memory loss and age-related mental decline;
Promoting Health and Preventing Disease;
American Harvest: God, Country and Farming in the Heartland, author Marie Mutsuki Mockett tells the story of her journey across the Midwest with a team of evangelical wheat harvesters.
The 45 hours of programming on demand includes:
All Shook Up: America in the 1950s, a review of historical events such as the Cold War, the emergence of rock and roll, the early civil rights movement and other events that made the 1950s such an influential period;
A Slice by Slice Exploration of the Human Brain, which explores how the brain works;
How to Manage Money During the Coronavirus;
I Didn’t Know My iPhone Could Do That;
Virtual Tours of Far Away Places.
The OLLI Showcase
The OLLI Showcase videos are still available to watch free online. The videos are examples of OLLI courses.
Fall Bulb Planting (18 minutes), Sarah Browning, extension educator, Lancaster County Extension
American Author Willa Cather (21 minutes), Andrew Jewell, professor, UNL Libraries
The First Amendment (25 minutes), Charlyne Berens, professor emeritus, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
A Universe from Nothing (18 minutes), Skip Morris, retired science teacher
For more information, to view a complete schedule and to register, click here.