As promised, here is a list of the free online courses which will be offered during the OLLI summer term (July 6-31). Please read through the descriptions carefully and pick one or two courses to register for. All courses have size limits and some are quite small and may fill quickly. Sign up only for those courses you intend to participate in fully and attend all sessions. Each person will be limited to a maximum of three courses.
Registration for these free online classes will open on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 6:00 a.m. You will receive an email link on Wednesday. You will also be able to register on our website.
These are all virtual classes using Zoom. Once registered, you will receive an email with a Zoom invitation and instructions for joining the class and signing in. In order to take one of these courses, you will have to install Zoom on your computer, iPhone, or iPad.
OLLI Summer Term courses:
Reading The Wall Street Journal
Marilyn Lipman, Greg DiBlasi, Kelly Jordan
Mondays, July 6-27, 10:00 am-Noon (Limit: 30)
What a great way to start the week-a lively discussion of selected articles from the previous week’s WSJ! The articles selected will deal mainly with current issues facing the country and also touch on related scientific, cultural, and even sports topics. The articles selected will be sent out each Friday for the following Monday’s session. E-mail (for communicating reading assignments) and access to the WSJ is required.
Write Like a Reader
Karen Sterbenz and Rita Hulbert
Mondays, July 6-27, 10:00 am-Noon (Limit: 8)
Learn to recognize and appreciate the techniques and skills of great authors while you sharpen your writing skills. Each week you will receive an email with a page each of writing by three authors. One will be classic, one contemporary, and one humorous. Choose one. Write in that style. Bring it to our Zoom class to read aloud. We will give you positive feedback, and just for fun, we’ll try to guess which author it is.
Text: Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose from Harper Collins (recommended, but not required).
The “Art Song” in Recital
Stanley Misler and Will Nelson
Mondays, July 6-27, 1:00-3:30 pm (Limit 35)
Art song is the ultimate in “intimate” composition in the classical music tradition. Written for one or more voices with piano, chamber or orchestra accompaniment and using great poetry as texts, this genre was particularly well-developed in 19th century Germany (lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, Strauss, and Mahler); in 19th and 20th century France (melodie or chanson by Berlioz, Hahn, Duparc, and Faure); and 20th century UK and US (songs by Elgar, Britten, Walton, Tippett, Bernstein, Rorem).
Even though opera is closed down this summer in St. Louis, great vocalism will still live. In this short course, first, we’ll consider principles of poetry, how we sing, and how poetry is set to music. Then we’ll read great German, French, Russian, and English poetry (at least in translation) and listen to how the music of great composers amplifies it. Finally, we shall conclude with some approaches to building a very eclectic song recital with the hope that this shall return in real life, ever so soon.
Words and Waters: The Foundations of Fly Fishing in America
Tuesdays, July 7-28, 10:00 am-Noon (Limit: 30)
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” -Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
Anglers have been “haunted by waters” long before A River Runs Through It and its film adaptation generated a surge of recreational and commercial enthusiasm for fly fishing. This class traces the foundations of fly fishing and its deep literary heritage. We will focus on religious and philosophical roots, the English tradition, and early American beginnings. Additionally, we will explore why we fish–the larger, metaphorical purpose–and how fly fishing, from its earliest depictions through contemporary literature, offers deep insight for personal development, practical lessons for work and life, and guidelines for environmental and social responsibility.
Reading selections are online or presented in class, and include excerpts from The Compleat Angler, Nature, Walden, A River Runs Through It, The River Why, The Old Man, and the Sea, and other essays and short stories about fly fishing. Once registered, you will receive additional reading information.
Reading The New Yorker
Tuesdays, July 7-28, 1:00-3:30 pm (Limit:50)
Join this energetic and articulate group as we meet weekly to discuss The New Yorker magazine and its articles. We are fortunate to have a multi-million-dollar staff preparing a new curriculum for us each week! We look at last week’s issue, discussing in small groups those articles that interest us.
Reading The Economist
Marilyn Alton, Ron Sandler, Jim Miller
Wednesdays, July 8-29, 10:00 am-Noon (Limit: 50)
The Economist is an authoritative weekly magazine focusing on international politics and business news and opinion. This group discusses news articles from the magazine with class members giving voluntary reports pertaining to these news events. This course is educational and stimulating, especially for those who want to stay up to date with what is happening throughout the world. We have a lot of fun in this class and look forward to welcoming you for this online summer session. (Subscription to The Economist is available at a reduced rate.)
Guy de Maupassant Short Stories
Wednesdays, July 8-29, 10:00 am-Noon (Limit: 15)
Guy de Maupassant is often described as the father of the modern short story. His work was admired by his contemporaries and imitated by those who came after him. Some of the best-known authors for whom Maupassant was an inspiration include W. Somerset Maugham, O. Henry, Henry James, and even horror fiction authors such as H. P. Lovecraft (The Call of Cthulhu) as well as Stephen King (The Shining).
In this course, we will read and analyze some of his most meaningful stories including The Necklace, A Country Excursion, The Inn, and Le Horla. Participants will be emailed the short stories and an easy study guide containing internet links to sites and videos. Students are asked to familiarize themselves with the material before the Zoom session during which we will read excerpts and discuss themes, characters, as well as aspects of Maupassant’s society. We will also enjoy a few passages in French to savor his impeccable style. This is your chance to immerse yourself into the glittering but also cynical and tormented world of the French Belle Époque.
Memoirs: Writing Life Stories
Wednesdays, July 8-29, 1:00-3:00 pm (Limit: 8)
Have you ever wished to write stories from your life experiences/observations to share with immediate family, extended family, friends, or the general public? These may be stories of what you’ve done, what you’ve learned, people you’ve met, places you’ve lived, places where you’ve traveled. A memoir may be a collection of “single slices” of your life: childhood, career, retirement, war duty, living in another culture, etc. Or it may be a chronological accounting of your entire life. Class members act as a sounding board for our writings, giving feedback in a constructive setting.
Life and Medicine in the Time of COVID
Wednesdays, July 8-29, 1:00-3:00 pm (Limit: 35)
In this online class, we will learn about the difference between a virus and bacteria and how each sickens or kills. We will explore killer epidemics in world history and what we’ve learned from them. What’s so different about COVID-19? Why is it so deadly? We will look at diagnosis and how preventative and treatment strategies are developed. Volunteers and guest speakers will tell us about the newest developments.
Thursdays, July 9-30, 10:00 am-Noon (Limit: 25)
We will read poems by e. e. cummings and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Cummings and Millay were born just two years apart, spent significant time in and around New York City, became famous in their own time, wrote across a broad range of subjects, in forms both traditional and experimental. Yet there is no evidence that they knew each other, or commented on each other’s work. This course will begin to rectify that oversight.
The goal of the course is to enjoy the pleasure of hearing each poem and briefly discussing it, taking care not to turn it into an artifact for scholarly examination. Therefore, the focus is on the poem, not on connections to the poets’ lives, or to their historical and cultural contexts. Poems will be distributed in advance, but reading them in advance, although helpful, is not required. All discussion is voluntary.
Reading Science News
Charles Kuhn, Tom Mitchell, David Brown
Thursdays, July 9-30, 1:00-3:00 pm (Limit: 35)
Science knowledge is always growing and evolving. Science News magazine is a bi-weekly (22 times a year) publication sponsored by the Society for Science and the Public. It is written at a level that can be understood and appreciated by the non-scientist. Curiosity is more important than knowledge in this class. Topics will be chosen each week from the current issues of Science News magazine. Please join us for a stimulating and informative discussion of what’s new in the world of science. Access to Science News is required.
Writing for Ourselves
Dennis Smith and Karen Sterbenz
Thursdays, July 9-30, 1:00-3:00 pm (Limit: 8)
Whether you enjoy writing or have always wanted to write, join this congenial group to explore your interest. No previous experience is necessary. Class members write essays, poetry, fiction, or memoir-sometimes all four in the four weeks or four weeks of only one. Write whatever you want and bring it to our Zoom class to read aloud. Your writing will improve by listening to the writing and the constructive critiques of others.
Special Lecture: What is the Coronavirus?
Dr. Ben Borowsky
Friday, July 17, 10:00-11:00 am (Limit: 50)
Dr. Borowsky will describe what a virus is, and how it survives, functions, and causes disease. He will discuss the specific properties of this virus that makes it so much more contagious and deadly than other viruses and show how those features dictate the possible defenses; i.e. social distancing, masks, hand washing, etc. What do we know about medication and vaccines? What is a vaccine, how is one produced, and why does that usually takes so long? There will be time for Q&A.
Please note: the following class will be conducted by email (not Zoom):
Pandemic: A Short Course
July 6-27 (Limit: 20)
In this course information will be given about several of the past pandemics: their causes, damage done, lives lost, and how they ended. We will compare the most recent pandemics with our current COVID – 19 crisis. Then we will learn some of the science of virology and immunology, in order to understand the dangers posed by viruses and how they can be defeated by mass immunizations. And we will learn about spillover events, in which viruses “jump” from one species to another, are directly related to how we humans choose to live on this planet. If we have time, we will learn and discuss the impact of our current viral pandemic on all aspects of life, because, as you know, everything is connected.
Textbook: Spillover: Animal Infections and the next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (written in 2012, in which he predicted this pandemic) Students will be responsible for obtaining their own copy of the book.
Method of teaching/learning: This distance learning course will be taught via exchange of emails. On Monday of each week of the summer session class members will receive a PDF form of the PowerPoint slides for that session by email. I will ask questions in some of the slides. You can participate in a discussion of possible answers to those questions by sending a return email. Be sure to send via the “reply all” button so all class members can read your response. So, you won’t be looking at each other’s faces during this discussion, but you will have a chance to give thoughtful replies and to ask me for further explanations. I don’t know how this method will work since it is the first time I’ve tried it, but I do know that something is better than nothing.