Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (Learning in Retirement)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
By Marlin Ristenbatt
The OLLI program, formerly LIR at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
has just completed a very successful program, a way for retirees to
become well-informed about "nearly everything (scientific)."
The basic scheme involves a book-reading group with the addition of
"expert guests" for each group session. The book we used was
“A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. This
book, written by a non-scientist, is exceptional in being able to retain
the interest and attention of a non-scientific audience.
Each week's expert guest did not make a presentation but was the resource
person for the discussion questions. Our expert guests were retired
professionals in the various topics that appear in the book. It was
not difficult to find and solicit the cooperation of such retirees;
a retired high school science teacher was our resource for about half
of the book. The "guests" would typically look over the material
that was to be covered that week, but, as noted, they did not have the
burden of preparing a presentation.
The "leadership" for each week rotated among the attendees,
who were strongly advised to originate discussion, especially involving
the expert, rather than read portions of the book.
The enthusiasm of the attendees convinces me that this simple scheme
is worthy of consideration by any and all LLI organizations across the
country. It really does offer an unusual opportunity to become informed
about important scientific information. Any questions would be welcome.
Marlin Ristenbatt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org