Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Community invited to sample free January online classes

January ExplorationsCommunity invited to sample free January online classes

OLLI volunteers present “January Explorations 2023” mini-courses, Jan. 10-19


Request the “January Explorations” participation link!

All January Exploration sessions are free, but please request the participation links by emailing OLLI-online@udel.edu.

Current, past and prospective OLLI members are invited to learn more about classes and activities at the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program by attending virtual mini-courses in January.

“January Explorations 2023” is a free sampler of online short classes – one to two sessions each – taking place Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting January 10. All sessions take place online via Zoom, with first-come first-served attendance.

The volunteer-led program consists of online short courses and presentations on a wide variety of topics:

  • A Spiritual Exploration, 2 sessions (Jan. 10-11, 10 a.m.)
  • Writing Your Own Obituary, 2 sessions (Jan. 10 & 17, 10 a.m.)
  • Ted Talks and Trivia (Jan. 10, 10 a.m.)
  • The Remotest Populated Island in the World, 2 sessions (Jan. 10-11, 1 p.m.)
  • Frank Furness, Amazing, Awesome Architect (Jan. 10, 1 p.m.)
  • Britain Invades Broadway: Great British Musicals (Jan. 10, 1 p.m.)
  • Writing a “Legacy Letter” (Jan. 11, 10 a.m.) 
  • End of Life Care and Medical Ethics (Jan. 11, 10 a.m.)
  • Pandemic Parodies (Jan. 11 or Jan. 18, 1 p.m.)
  • Pompeii Gardens (Jan. 12, 10 a.m.)
  • Wine: Regions, Varietals and Food Pairings (Jan. 12 or Jan. 19, 10 a.m.)
  • Actions for a Greener Earth, 2 sessions (Jan. 12 & 19, 1 p.m.)
  • Dreaming of Gardens (Jan. 12, 1 p.m.)
  • Live Long and Prosper (Jan. 17, 10 a.m.)
  • Grand Central: The Station That Transformed A City (Jan. 17, 1 p.m.)
  • Cars of the 60s: 1962 to 1963 (Jan. 17, 1 p.m.)
  • Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia (Jan. 18, 10 a.m.)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (Jan. 18, 10 a.m.)
  • History of the English Language (Jan. 18, 1 p.m.)
  • MALS Presents (Jan. 19, 10 a.m.)
  • Senior Living 101: Communities, Cost and Care (Jan. 19, 1 p.m.)
  • Detailed session descriptions below!

How to participate in OLLI January Explorations 2023!

Request the participation link — All January Explorations sessions are free, but please request the participation links by emailing OLLI-online@udel.edu. Attendance in all January Explorations virtual sessions is available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Course Descriptions

Schedule and courses subject to change.

A Spiritual Exploration
Instructors:  Deborah Brown and Margaret O’Malley

We will discuss 5 themes of Eckhart Tolle: “Present Moment Living,” “Consciousness,” “Peace,” “Surrender,” and “Inner Purpose.” We will also look at the thoughts on these themes of two wisdom leaders in their respective religions, Jesus and Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun. Class limited to 30 participants.

Writing Your Own Obituary 
Instructor:  Rae Tyson

There is no better person to summarize your life than you. And that is why you should write your own obituary. Ultimately, it is your story to tell. It’s a perfect chance to emphasize the events and relationships that meant the most to you. This course will help guide that writing journey. Class limited to 30 participants.

The Remotest Populated Island in the World
Instructor:  Katherine Henn

Explore the impressive history of St. Helena Island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean. Discovered in 1502 and owned by the East India Company in the late 16th century, its visitors include Edmond Halley, Captain Cook and Napoleon. Also whalers, rescuers freeing some 25,000 slaves from slave traders, exiled prisoners and social undesirables, and sailors seeking “curvy-curing” fruit. And today?

Actions for a Greener Earth
Instructor:  Judy Winters  

If every day is EARTH DAY…What can we do to make the earth healthier? What can we plant to change the world? What can we buy to change the world? We will discuss these and other questions, along with expert opinions and members’ anecdotal preferences.

TED Talks and Trivia
Instructor:  Carolyn Stankiewicz

Two exciting TED Talks: How to look at art differently, and Humor (really important in today’s world) and a ten question general trivia challenge. Breakout sessions will follow after viewing the TED Talks.

Frank Furness, Amazing Awesome Architect
Instructor: Judy Filipkowski

Frank Furness was a Philadelphia architect of the Victorian era, famous for his unique style, gorgeous buildings, clashing colors and exposed iron trusses. He designed railroad stations, churches, banks and homes all over the Delaware Valley. We know him best for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia and the Biden Railroad Station here in Wilmington. 

Britain Invades Broadway: Great British Musicals on The Great White Way 
Instructor: Tom Powderly

For over 60 years, from Oliver to the Phantom to the current worldwide sensation, Six, musicals originating in London have been an integral part of the world of Broadway. In fact, it appeared for a time in the 1980s to 1990s that these often spectacular works had taken over the Great White Way. We will revisit some great musical moments that began on stages across the pond.

Writing a “Legacy Letter”
Instructor:  Jay Sherwin

A legacy letter (also called an “ethical will”) is a written document that allows you to share your life lessons and transmit your blessings to future generations. Writing one is a rewarding experience that creates an enduring gift for family and friends. This introductory workshop includes brief writing exercises and a model structure to help you draft and complete your own legacy letter. Class limited to 30 participants.

End of Life Care and Medical Ethics
Instructor: Michael Salvatore

End of life care is fraught with suffering. How can suffering be minimized? How do the concepts of “Moral Worth,” “Natural Death,” and “Double Effect” shape end of life care? What is “Death with Dignity”? How do medical ethics dictate physician end of life decisions? Finally, what does a living will actually do and what is a DMOST form? This lecture will address these questions. 

Pandemic Parodies
Instructor:  Emily Ginder

What could bored musicians do during a COVID lockdown? Why not repurpose popular songs by changing the lyrics to fit new circumstances? We will listen to creative parodies that musicians from around the world produced during the first two years of the pandemic. We will also listen to a new fad surrounding the use of sea shanties. Songs may include The Sound of Sirens and Bored in the USA.

Pompeii Gardens
Instructor: Bob Ehrlich

The garden was an important aspect of life in Pompeii. Even modest homes had gardens. Wall paintings enhanced the outdoor gardens and brought the garden experience indoors at all times of the year. We will look at some gardens and the archaeology that has brought them to life. 

Wine: Regions, Varietals and Food Pairings
Instructor:  Phil Pyle

This session will offer a broad glimpse into the world of wine, highlighting the major wine growing regions of the world, touching on the major white and red grape varietals, while providing a brief overview of the four wine and food pairing principles.

Dreaming of Gardens
Instructor:  Melanie Moser

In the depths of winter, we start to dream of beholding vibrant green foliage and brilliantly colored flowers. So let’s zoom around the world and look at a few outstanding gardens to get our fix of garden treasures. We will visit at least three gardens, and discover their delights. Class limited to 100 participants.

Live Long and Prosper
Instructor:  Judy Filipkowski

An introduction to eating more plants that can strengthen our immune system, prevent disease and help the environment as well. It’s not just food, it’s sleep, water and sunshine. It’s what we put on our body as well as what we put in it. All based on science from the experts: Drs. McDougall, Esselstyn, Greger, Campbell and more. 

Grand Central: The Station That Transformed A City 
Instructor:  Tom Powderly

The history of “Grand Central” is the history of modern New York City. First built by the New York Central Railroad as a “depot” on the edge of the city, it is the heart of today’s midtown Manhattan, and at the same time, a beloved icon of the glories of New York’s past. Join us for a fascinating journey through almost 200 years of a great city’s history. 

Cars of the 60s: 1962-1963
Instructor:  Larry Watkins

A class for all the “gearheads” out there. Learn about (or maybe re-live) the wild cars of 1962 to 1963, and bring along your memories. Presentation will be a mix of lecture and video clips with time for discussion.

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Instructor:  Elizabeth Phillips

Designed for those interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, this program will provide a broad understanding of the symptoms and effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, how Alzheimer’s affects the brain, its causes and risk factors, disease stages, benefits of early detection, how to address a diagnosis, and the latest research and treatments. 

The Cuban Missile Crisis
Instructor:  Dan Pritchett

Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy delivered a televised address to the American people in which he revealed that the United States government had discovered that the government and military of the Soviet Union had begun delivering and installing nuclear-tipped medium-range offensive missiles inside Cuba. These missiles, when operational, would have enabled the Soviet Union to launch a lethal nuclear strike on American cities and other targets with very short warning. This talk will look back at that crisis, which is taking on new resonance today as the danger of nuclear war is on the front pages again.

History of the English Language
Instructor:  Trudie Thompson

Led by a language enthusiast who has studied English, German, French, Korean, Spanish and Russian, the full OLLI course (Overview of Human Language) introduces the history of language study, various branches of linguistics, the origin of human language and what makes it unique, human language acquisition, the origin and effects of writing, and a bit about the history of the English language. This January session will focus on the history of the English language, but the instructor will be happy to try to answer questions about any language subject!

MALS Presents!
Instructor: Becky Worley

In this class, students and alumni from the UD Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program (MALS) present their research. MALS is an interdisciplinary program that provides participants the flexibility to follow their academic passions. The topics vary (as the academic interests of both OLLI and MALS students do!). Participants should look forward to curated, intellectually stimulating presentations and ample opportunity for questions and discussions.  

Senior Living 101: Communities, Cost and Care
Instructors: Devon Higbee & Janine Davis

This interactive course will provide an overview of different types of retirement communities, and we will break down the costs associated with various contracts. We will also discuss aging in place and health care. Course will help attendees understand what to look for and what questions to ask while exploring retirement living accommodations. Bring your questions!