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Osher Lifelong Learning serves community through livestream classes

Livestream offerings for 50-plus-aged students have received enthusiastic reviews

In partnership with Great Basin College Continuing Education in Elko, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Nevada, Reno rolled out its first class in September using remote technology. Associate Professor Brett Van Hoesen, Ph.D., facilitated a discussion about artist Georgia O’Keeffe to an audience in Reno while a camera carried a live view to Great Basin College, where other lifelong learners could interact with Van Hoesen in real-time.  Those attending in Elko were enthusiastic about the experience. Several even planned to travel to Reno to view the O’Keeffe exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art after hearing and seeing the presentation by Van Hoesen.

This type of distance learning where students in two locations interact with the guidance of a single instructor brings together people with a broad range of life experiences and knowledge to enrich the exchange of ideas. That is what OLLI — a learning community for adults 50 and older — is all about.  One appreciative Elko participant said, “We need this kind of learning. Keep it up!” 

Luckily, that is the plan. OLLI’s next live stream to Elko was Oct. 31 when Iñaki Arrieta Baro, chief librarian of the Jon Bilbao Library at the University of Nevada, Reno, talked about Basques in Nevada, why they migrated to the Western United States and how they became shepherds.  Elko has a large Basque population and is home to the National Basque Festival each summer. This was a great opportunity for Elko residents to learn about the culture of the area.

“Our goal is to gradually increase the number of OLLI classes offered in Elko,” says Kristen Kennedy, executive director of OLLI. “The wonderful thing about partnering with Great Basin College Continuing Education is that we can lean on their expertise in delivering long-distance education to support even more lifelong learners in Nevada in their journey to healthy aging.”

Additional classes being streamed live to Elko this semester include Nov. 15’s Jack the Ripper:  An Enduring Mystery presented by Jim Bernardi, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the University, and Dec. 10’s History of the White Pine Mining District presented by Fred Frampton, M.A. These introductory classes are free to Great Basin College community members while OLLI membership opportunities will be available in 2020.

 “Great Basin College has many outstanding professors.  I’d love to reciprocate the University’s generosity and have our instructors and community members be able to share their knowledge and experiences with the Reno community. Potential topics include cowboy poetry, Native American art, or geology of the Ruby Mountains,” said Angie de Braga, GBC Director of Continuing Education.

For more information about OLLI classes in Elko, please contact Great Basin College Continuing Education at (775) 753-2231 or email continuing-ed@gbcnv.edu.  To learn about the benefits of becoming a member of OLLI at the University of Nevada, Reno, please visit olli.unr.edu or call (775) 784-8053. 

Kristen Kennedy
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