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Does your OLLI offer peer led discussion courses?

Posted on April 24th, 2013 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Chris Elliott, OLLI at the University of Oklahoma, Asks OLLI:

Does your OLLI offer peer led discussion courses? If so, what worked with peer led discussions, and what didn’t? Did the leaders choose the topics or did the members?

2 Responses to “Does your OLLI offer peer led discussion courses?”


  1. When OLLI at Humboldt State University (HSU) members want to continue meeting on a topic or idea introduced in an OLLI class, we provide the opportunity for peer group discussions in the form of Special Interest Groups. Special Interest Groups meet on an ongoing (usually monthly) basis and can be started and/or joined by any OLLI at HSU member. Current Special Interest Groups include: OLLI Book Group, Friends of Jung, Genealogy Group, Soul Collage Group, Writing Critique Group, and Writing for Children Support Circle.

    This spring, OLLI at HSU also offers The Art of Living, a free course every Wednesday for all members to attend. The Art of Living is a brown bag lunch presentation and discussion series focusing on the Humboldt County community. These are organized and facilitated by members of our Curriculum Committee. Topics include Redwood National and State Parks; Promoting Independence for a Lifetime– A Series on Issues & Opportunities for Seniors; Creating Community Assets– “Creation Stories” by individuals and groups in Humboldt County whose programs and businesses have created positive change; and Conversations on Creative Aging & Living Life Beyond 50– presentations by OLLI members addressing the challenges, choices, realities and possibilities of living life to the fullest.

    This is great opportunity for our members to engage in peer discussions, connect with friends, meet other OLLI members, and share.


  2. OLLI at UNCW started in the last year what we are calling “Forums”. They are discussion groups, limited to 25 people, organized and facilitated by the forum members. Some meet weekly, some monthly. Typically there is committee who come up with the semester topics and a forum facilitator, led by one person (usually different each session) who researches the subject area, sends out a reading list, and then presents the topic for discussion. The research is taken very seriously and is usually quite extensive. They have become very very popular. Confirming what Rebecca stated this format allows for much interaction, lively discussion, and connecting with others. It originated with a group called “Friday Forum” who meet every Friday. Recent topics of discussion have been “Establishing Term Limits in the House and Senate”, China/US: Complicated Relations”, Global Water Scarcity”. We also have a forum “Studying the Constitution” and this summer “American Presidents Forum” where they are studying the first 7 US presidents.

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