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Does your OLLI offer classes using “The Great Courses” as an accompaniment”?

Posted on October 4th, 2011 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Connie Hodgson, OLLI at the University of North Dakota, Asks OLLI:

Does your OLLI offer classes using “The Great Courses” as an accompaniment? If so, what did you charge as a fee?

5 Responses to “Does your OLLI offer classes using “The Great Courses” as an accompaniment”?”


  1. Th OLLI @Stony Brook University on Long Island,is a completely, “peer-taught” program, and our volunteer workshop leaders use “The Great Courses” quite frequently. They find it helps in guiding their presentations and provides a lot of helpful background. The Curriculum Committee frequently reviews their catalogue offerings to select topics for future workshops and then they find the member(s) who can present the topic. Each workshop leader has a budget of $150.00 to spend on materials needed to present the workshop, and we usually manage to get specific “Courses” on sale and heavily discounted. Members are encouraged to lead workshops when they feel they have some “help” in preparing for the teaching experiene. Hope this is helfful. Janet S. McLean, Director


  2. The OLLI at the University of Arkansas uses two seperate peer led programs, The Great Decisions & a program from Brown University - The Choices Program. The Choices Program is shorter and is perfect for the summer and winter sessions. We use the Great Decisions in the spring at one location and the fall at another location. Kathleen Dorn, Managing Director


  3. Our OLLI makes generous use of the Teaching Company DVD’s. However, I want to emphasize that our Curriculum Committee monitors this closely to ensure that 75% of our classes are “real time” instructors.

    Since all of our instructors are volunteers, we cannot always find someone expert enough to teach a particular subject, or willing to do all the preparation involved in teaching a semester long course. The Teaching Company DVD saves the instructor enormous time in preparation.

    We make sure that the instructors that show Teaching Company DVD’s are knowledgeable about the subject discussed. We ask that the OLLI instructor preview the Teaching Company DVD before each class as well as do some of their own research to supplement that presented in the DVD lectures. While we can’t expect them to be able to answer all of the questions raised by the students on the spot, they have to be willing to investigate the questions and identify answers whenever possible.

    We also ask that the class follow this basic design: 1) an introduction by the OLLI instructor; 2) a showing of a half-hour Teaching Company lecture; 3) a time for Q & A and discussion.

    In summary, because, in general, the quality of the Teaching Company teachers is exceptional, we have found these DVD’s to greatly enhance our offerings.


  4. Our OLLI at Penn State has built a small library of videos such as Great Courses, National Geographic and other special interest videos. These video courses supplement our curriculum in that we use them only if they are a special topic or done by experts we are unable to tap into here at Penn State. We have a training session for facilitators and have developed a “Best Practices” guide for facilitating video courses.


  5. Hello Connie,
    Yes, OLLI at UNLV does use the Great Courses to supplement coordinators instruction. Our instruction is peer led, and so many of our coordinators LOVE the Great Courses to supplement their knowledge/research of a subject. Each coordinator is given a budget of $125 to use for supplies. Our classes are all included in our membership fee, so there is not an extra fee for any of our classes. We find that our members really enjoy the Great Courses.

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