OSU-Tulsa offers lifelong learning classes for people over 50
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Monday, September 17, 2012
9/17/12 at 2:35 AM
Sandra Shea and Vicki Dodd can't wait to get back in the classroom.
Both are die-hard fans of OLLI - the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - which offers a variety of classes for people over 50.
Both Shea and Dodd are taking almost half of the 12 courses being offered in Tulsa this semester.
"The things you learn, the friends you make, it's fabulous," Dodd said. "You get addicted because it's so much fun."
Shea has been an OLLI student since the program started in Tulsa in 2007.
"I love them," she said. "The instructors are high-class people. They know what they're teaching. I like the people, they're my age."
The six-week courses for people 50 and older begin this week, and people can enroll up until classes start Tuesday, as long as the class doesn't fill up.
This fall semester, offerings include classes on robotics, the presidential campaign, short stories, paleontology in Oklahoma, writing autobiographies, the Gilcrease Museum, a touring class of manufacturing plants in Oklahoma, economics of professional sports, Puritans, weather, gardening, and what it would be like walking in someone else's shoes for 30 days.
The classes are two hours long with a break in the session, and many students bring a lunch to eat between morning and afternoon classes, said OLLI Tulsa site coordinator Barbara Swiggart.
OLLI, offered through OSU-Tulsa, is a membership organization, and people can join for $50. The first class is free, and additional classes cost $25.
What makes OLLI so special, Dodd said, was the students really want to be there.
"They're very willing and want to learn," she said. "You get to do things you're interested in and what you love."
The classes aren't just lectures. "It's interactive," Shea said. "There's so many interesting topics to discuss."
When OLLI started in Tulsa five years ago, only four classes were offered. Now there's up to a dozen course offerings during the fall and spring semesters and membership in Tulsa is up to about 370, Swiggart said.
More classes means more variety of offerings.
"We run the gamut," she said. "Sometimes you don't know what you're getting into."
Dodd said she appreciates the different classes offered and the instructors who take the time to teach for free.
"I love it because you can learn so many things," she said. "Some instructors, it doesn't matter what they teach, I will be there."
For people over 50, continuing education can be beneficial to your health, Shea said.
"Mental stimulation, we need to keep our minds active," she said. "If we can learn about new things, it's icing on the cake."
What: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers classes through OSU-Tulsa for people age 50 and older.
When: The first of the six-week classes begin Tuesday.
Where: Classes are held at Central Center, 1028 E. Sixth St., or Oklahoma Methodist Manor, 4134 E. 31st St. The robotics class is held Mondays at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, 3624 N. 74th East Ave. The Gilcrease Museum class is held Wednesdays at the museum, 1400 Gilcrease Museum Road. The Made in Oklahoma class will be held at various locations.
Cost: OLLI membership is $50, and the first class is free. Additional classes cost $25. People can also pay $150 for their annual membership and for unlimited number of classes during the year.
Enrollment: Participants can enroll now by getting brochures and registration forms at Central Center, by calling 405-744-5868 or on the first day of classes at Central Center.
For more: Go to tulsaworld.com/olli
Original Print Headline: Learning never gets old
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Gilcrease museum docent Uschi Gaida gives a tour of The American West gallery in the museum in October last year. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which holds classes for people over 50, is offering a class on the museum this fall. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World file