It is, or at least it was, easy to take everything around us for granted – our favorite restaurants, our walks, our routine. Sometimes it can be a good thing to have a shock to make us understand what is important – whether it’s our work, our passions, or our friends. In fact, whatever we take pleasure from it’s probably because we have friends who can enjoy it with us.
Aristotle says that people are political animals – that is, they work together in a ‘polis’ or city. People who don’t work towards the general good as a part of a city are ‘idiotes’. But when we are socially distanced and isolated how do we work to keep ourselves, and our neighbors and community, engaged?
One way of doing this is by venturing into the digital sphere. We at OLLI made the move to online classes in March and have developed a range of offerings and our Spring semester was extended into mid-June to help accommodate extra courses. To keep people engaged through the summer (to escape the Georgia heat or the virus, it’s your call), we are running classes from July 6-August 7. And unlike some other online classes, we are all synchronous (fancy term for live) so you get to interact with your fellow classmates and the presenter.
Although it does not completely replace being in the same room as your fellow classmates, one member did remark that it was nice to see people’s faces rather than just the back of their heads and the presenters (and questions) were much easier to hear. It might be scary to venture online, with unfamiliar technology and security issues ever present, but the rewards can be worth it.
We all want to start getting used to whatever the new normal is, though what it might actually look like at this stage is anyone’s guess. We want to be able to help our members meet up again in person, to travel and explore, to enjoy a night at the opera or the cinema together. However, until the time comes when we can all feel safe doing so, we are right here online for you to continue your lifelong learning.