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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Lucille D. Salerno, PhD, director
learnforlife.missouri.edu


Osher offers a series of seven interrelated computer technology classes in a learner-friendly atmosphere.

Osher offers a series of seven interrelated computer technology classes in a learner-friendly atmosphere.

Among the many highlights of MU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 2012, was the establishment of a seven-course introduction to computer basics for the technologically uninitiated portion of the institute's over-50 audience. The program is modeled on a similar introductory program aimed at a younger audience and developed by Structured Learning, a provider of technology teaching tools to the educational community.

Working with an IT professional and the materials provided by Structured Learning, the Osher Institute created a series of seven inter-related basic computer technology courses. Each course is a prerequisite for the next, and no new students were allowed to join the program once the course sequence started.

In previous introductory computer tech courses attempted by the institute, Osher instructors found difficulty addressing the disparity in student backgrounds on the course topic, with the more knowledgeable learners frustrated by the slower pace of novices attending the same class. In contrast, the newly designed course in 2012 erased that problem and the seven-course program provided a more learner-friendly approach for the range of computer sophistication of its various participants.

Watercolor was just one of many classes Osher Lifelong Learning Institute students could choose.

Watercolor was just one of many classes Osher Lifelong Learning Institute students could choose.

Throughout 2012, the Osher Institute offered a total of 152 learning events on a variety of topics of interest to its older audience. The programs reached a total of 3,374 individuals through 12,309 contact hours. A large portion of the events were free of charge, a result of the severe impact of the prolonged economic downturn, which has taxed the limited resources of many members of the institute's audience living on fixed incomes.

Here's what learners have said:

  • "All of us need to continue to learn. It keeps us involved in our community and exercising our brains."
  • "I love the variety of new subjects that one can study and enjoy."
  • "The classes put me in small group learning situations with experts in the field and in instances such as this course targeted to my place in the life cycle."
  • "A widening of knowledge on all of these subjects enhances the value of everyday living."
  • "It keeps my mind active and in great shape -- it is exercise for the mind."