Like the rest of you, since the onset of our shelter-in-place orders, we have certainly practiced a great deal of lifelong learning! What an unusual couple of weeks it has been since UC Davis staff were asked to begin working at home. We appreciate your patience in this time of sudden adjustment, as well as the messages of support, confidence and encouragement we have received. OLLI is indeed a great community of which to be a part.
What We Have Been Doing:
I want to begin by thanking all of you who took our recent Internet Use Survey. So far, of the members who received it, about 30% have responded. In response to one oft repeated question: I want to reassure you that we have no intention of making OLLI at UC Davis an Internet-only program in perpetuity. We know how much everyone values meeting classmates in person and the connection with instructors in the classroom.
At the same time, OLLI can serve as a positive presence for our members by offering enlightening and entertaining learning at home during these unsettling times. We want to make our program as accessible as possible, no matter what your level of comfort may be with computers.
What We Will Be Offering Our Members During the Shelter in Place:
OLLI leaders, volunteers, instructors and staff are working together to start providing registered members with some OLLI programming by Monday, April 6.
We are aiming to offer registered members a weekly selection of pre-recorded, previously held OLLI courses via YouTube. Production of this new online channel is underway, and you will be notified once it is ready for viewing. If you know how to use Google or click on a link in an email, you’ll have no trouble using it.
- Live Online Courses
Some of our planned courses for spring will be rescheduled to later dates when they can safely be held in a classroom or to next fall. That being said, several spring courses will be made available to registrants via Zoom, a free phone and video conferencing program. Dates may have to be adjusted to allow our instructors time to get used to the Zoom teaching platform, and some course descriptions will need to be adjusted due to online copyright restrictions. Please note: you do NOT need a computer to participate in Zoom courses. You can listen in, make comments and ask questions of the instructor by phone. Instructions for participating in Zoom classes are being fine-tuned for OLLI users and will be emailed to you soon. Trust us when we say that using Zoom is easier than you may think! Some OLLI programs made the switch overnight with good results.
What Is Happening With Your Membership and Course Fees:
We want you to know that you have many options with regard to the membership and course fees you have already paid for spring/summer. At the same time, most members understand that we operate on a modest budget, and the losses OLLI has already experienced are substantial.
- Student Credit Extension
All 2019-20 fall, winter and spring OLLI student account credits will be extended into the 2020-21 academic year. That means if an upcoming course is cancelled due to quarantine conditions or if you withdraw due to inability to participate in online courses, you may use the funds for future OLLI courses when we return to the conventional classroom setting.
We understand that the recent volatility of the stock market may leave some retirees concerned about their income. If you need to request a refund, we will refund all or a portion of your course fees. However, we encourage you to keep your membership fee with us so you have the option to view the upcoming YouTube courses. Keeping your membership active will also help with our annual reporting requirements to the Bernard Osher Foundation.
The OLLI staff and I thank you for taking the time to learn about how we intend to continue serving our members in the days to come, how you can help us and how to stay connected to your OLLI family. It’s a time of great adjustment and we are all learning together in this new landscape. Let’s not forget that lifelong learning is what brought us to OLLI in the first place!