“Be a student as long as you still have something to learn and this will mean all your life.”
– Henry L. Doherty
On June 13th, The Family Firm hosted a “Lunch & Learn” event at the Capital Grille in Chevy Chase. The event featured a panel discussion on the lifetime learning opportunities that are available for clients in the Washington DC area and also on the internet. The Panelists included: Fredie Adelman, Director of Smithsonian Associates, Anne Wallace, Executive Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at American University and Nate Gendelman, President of The Family Firm.Smithsonian Associates - “Entertaining. Informative. Eclectic. Insightful.”
Smithsonian Associates is the largest museum-based education program in the World and offers more than 750 individual programs that cover wide ranging topics from, American and World history to studio and culinary arts. With access to the Smithsonian’s network of museums, collections and exhibitions and world class staff, Smithsonian Associates offers programs and activities for all ages from pre-kindergarten programs, to youth summer camps, to adult education.
Most adult classes and lectures typically range from a few hours to a few days and are a terrific way to spend an evening or a weekend. Smithsonian Associates also offers study tours that can last from a half day up to three days. You can spend a Saturday investigating the District’s boundaries that are marked by 40 stones placed around DC's border or spend two days on an overnight trip through Virginia exploring the state’s US Presidential sites and history.
Although Smithsonian Associates is part of the Smithsonian, it does not receive any federal or trust funds. It receives support from individual supporters through membership dues and class and event ticket sales.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at American University - “Where Curiosity Never Retires”
OLLI was originally created and conceived as a program targeting mature students that were not well served by traditional educational institutions. Rather than catering to younger students that are focused on developing job skills or obtaining a degree, OLLI is focused on older adults, especially retirees, who are motivated by the joy of learning and engaging with other like-minded individuals.
OLLI works on a semester system where students can take up to three classes a semester with each semester lasting 10 weeks. OLLI offers over 100 courses through the year and has more than 1,000 members at the American University location. Courses cover a wide variety of topics from foreign languages, politics, history, literature and science.
OLLI’s members enjoy the semester based system as it provides a great deal of opportunity for socializing with other members and developing new friendships in addition to attending classes. Membership costs $275 a semester which enables members to take up to three classes per semester.
Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies - "Seek Something Greater"
Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies has established a Senior Citizen’s Auditors program that is available to all people over the age of 65 in the greater DC area. Seniors can attend many undergraduate courses that are offered at Georgetown’s main campus provided that there is space available in the class. Course fees are $50 per class. You can learn more about the program by calling Anne Ridder at 202-687-5706.
Internet Based Learning Opportunities
Today most universities, including some of the World’s most prestigious, have embraced internet based distance learning and have begun providing classes that can be attended through the internet. Originally distance based learning meant that students would watch live streaming videos of instructor led presentations, but today many course have become much more interactive and are often self-paced.
What’s more, there are literally thousands of free courses from the world’s leading universities that can be taken online. There are a number of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCS), including edX and Coursera that were created as a way to democratize education and provide free educational content to anyone with an internet connection.
Coursera and edX each offer thousands of courses that cover a very wide range of topics: engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science. Many of the coursers are geared toward individuals that are currently in the workforce and wanted to bolster their skillsets. These students can usually pay a small fee to receive a certificate that they can share with their employer or prospective employers showing that they have completed the course and learned a new skill set.
Many of these course are also available on iTunes and iTunes University for free. For those of you with an iPhone or iPad, the app makes it very easy to download course material and listen to on the go. For those of you that are PC users there is also an iTunes version that can be run on PCs.