Q: Nettah, you led Road Scholar’s very first multi-day online learning adventure, Adventures Online: The Art & History of Paris. What was it like planning and leading a program of this caliber?
A: It was quite a daunting task at first. I’ve done quite a bit of lecturing and teaching online since the start of the coronavirus crisis, but this was a new type of adventure for everyone involved. It was important for me that this would be more than a lecture series and I really wanted to recreate the atmosphere of a Road Scholar learning adventure, to bring Paris to life, so that participants would feel the sense of excitement and discovery that travel provides. At the same time, I designed the program to take advantage of the benefits of online learning. Freed from the constraints of geography, we can jump across the city, and learn about its historical development in greater detail, while zooming in on key works of art and architecture.
Q: How does the online Paris program work? What is a typical day like?
A: The program is organized thematically, with each day focusing on a specific period of Parisian history and its corresponding artistic style. For example, on Day 1, we look at medieval Paris and the development of Gothic architecture. A typical day involves an in-depth lecture on the subject at hand, followed by a number of field trips, where we explore specific locations, buildings or museums in greater detail. Each day ends with an interactive discussion session. Participants ask me questions, of course, but there is also a wider group discussion about issues and questions that arose during the day.