More Than Meets the Eye II

We introduced you to Blended Learning in Monday’s issue.  Here is a reminder of what our project entailed, followed by some of the artwork it used and the poetry it generated.

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Eighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Vermeer Art of Painting via WikiEighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”

Some background: The National Resource Center (NRC) for Osher Institutes invited OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern to develop and present this first-of-its-kind blended learning, joint course. Participants in the course investigated different ways to look at art, including art made in response to art.  (More…)

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry that takes place in April every year.  It was introduced in 1996, organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.  Their web site is a good place to find information about local poetry events during the month.  Which are pretty thin on the ground this year.   But we’ve got you covered with two small, intimate poetry “events” every week.  (More…)

National Poetry Month

NPM Background 01 Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on UnsplashLike way too much of life these days, National Poetry Month has had to go online this year.  Even this issue of OLLI Connects is an online manifestation of an experience that would be more powerful if you were there, live and in person, hearing both of today’s poets read their own works.  We can’t give you that exact experience, but we suggest–seriously–that you read the poetry in this piece aloud.  Pay attention to the punctuation, the timing, the sentence melody.  Let each poem tell you how to read it.   (More…)

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.  Normally this would be a good time to attend a “poetry slam” , a more traditional poetry reading, or some other event that celebrates the power of well chosen words and carefully crafted phrases.  This year, not so much.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo poetry this time around.  We have some for you today created by OLLI-USF members, and we’ll bring you more in extra editions of OLLI Connects for the rest of the month.  And we have an NPR link below that we hope you’ll enjoy.  (More…)

Symbols of Mankind

Judy K. Patterson

In 1992 I was a member of the Friends of the Hillsborough Library.  My first project was to see that all the art in the libraries of Hillsborough County was repaired, reframed, and in good shape.  My second project was to get the Board to buy art for the new libraries from the Gasparilla Festival of Arts Show in Tampa in March.  The Friends had ten thousand dollars sitting in a CD for emergencies.  I finally convinced them that the money could be earned and replaced, but the new libraries needed art.  We had a few holdouts but, eventually, we all agreed to buy art each year.  It gives me great pleasure to see new art in the local libraries that I visit.

Looking around for a new project, I heard about the Ybor Library on Nebraska and its damaged mosaic on the front of the building done by Joe Testa-Secca, an artist and art teacher at University of Tampa.  (More…)

Zooming With My Family

Diane Russell

zoom-appNo doubt you now have heard of Zoom, which is used extensively to conduct virtual meetings since the spread of COVID-19.  OLLI also is considering its use for group communications.

Have you considered using Zoom to keep in touch with your family?

One of my sisters and her family live in Chicagoland, while my other sister lives in Tucson. We were together as a group most recently on Christmas Day in 2018. When my 30-year-old niece, Amy, suggested that we gather virtually using Zoom, I literally jumped at the chance.  Instead of gathering as Brady Bunch heads to share our recent safer-at-home stories, we danced!   (More …)

Look Before You Zoom!

Diane White

ZoomConnecting with others in real time, whether it’s with Zoom, Facetime, Go To Meeting, or any similar video-type interactions, is a life line to combat social isolation while we are “social distancing”.  But we also have to ask: How can we be safe? What do we need to know when connecting with others by video? Yes, there are some important safeguards that you may not have thought of when you participate in, or host, any video-type meeting like Zoom.

In this article, “Zoom” will apply to any video-type interaction where you are live online, connecting with others using a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. (More…)

Comfort Reading

Cindy Knox

I enjoyed George Hyde’s recent OLLI Connects contribution that contained various OLLI members’ recommendations for reading while we’re in self-isolation. However, the books that I crave right now – and some of you may, also – are what I call “comfort reads,” similar to comfort food.

I need a book that takes me to another world without murders, torture, or other examples of man’s (extreme) inhumanity to man. Or women, children, and animals. We get plenty of that on the nightly news – or, indeed, on cable news all day. So, here are a few offerings of the “comfort reads” variety off the top of my head.

(First of all, I hope that each of you reading this is in your PJs or however you dress at home. I myself tend to favor old T-shirts and flannel PJ bottoms. (Yes, even in Florida.) You will need to get comfortable and sit in a favorite chair – or your bed. No judgement here.)  (More…)

Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

Since you currently have more spare time for reading, we thought we’d give you an extra OLLI Connects post this week.  Our featured writer is not technically an OLLI member.  But if he were still living and in our area, we’re sure he would be.  His work is the central piece of a larger post on the need—despite the fear it engenders—to get comfortable with online collaboration and learning the way we eventually got the hang of smart phones and Facebook.  Be honest.  There was a time when both of those terrified you.  And now they’re integral parts of your life.  COVID-19 is just giving us a kick in the pants to move us more quickly in a direction we were already kind of reluctantly going.

The first part of this post is from the most recent newsletter of UFF, the United Faculty of Florida.  (More…)