They say the best way to learn something is to teach it. Well, I’ll find out, since I’ll be teaching a class as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University in the spring.
The idea of doing so was suggested to me by Anne Bellegia, an OLLI community relations volunteer.
She called OLLI, “yet another ‘jewel’ in Ashland’s crown.” She wrote, “This 21-year-old organization provides 1,400 residents of the Rogue Valley aged 55-plus with the kind of intellectual stimulation and social connection that is vital to healthy aging. We offer our members, who pay just $125 per year, unlimited selection from among 100 courses each quarter, three quarters per year.”
It started at SOU in 1993 as the Southern Oregon Learning in Retirement program. In 2007, it joined the nationwide OLLI system founded by Bernard Osher, a businessman and philanthropist.
The first Bernard Osher Foundation grant was made to the University of Southern Maine in 2001. Now, just 14 years later, the foundation “supports 119 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one grantee in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the foundation website.
Besides learning by teaching, another education maxim is learning by doing. So, in the course of figuring out what I’d talk about — and with a nudge from Anne — I arrived at the idea of not just talking about community journalism, but to actually do some.
Here’s an excerpt from the course catalog, due for release online (at www.sou.edu/olli) on March 2:
“LANG141 — Community Journalism in Practice: A Day in the Life of Ashland.
“Community journalism — the gathering, editing and publishing of information about politics, events, economics and culture of a localized area — has a long history of enhancing community quality of life. ...
“This class will review the practice of community journalism; how it helps provide the oxygen to facilitate democratic, economic and social vibrancy in a community; and how stories are chosen, reported and prepared for publication. ... (T)he class will also formulate specifics of a project to produce an edition of the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper featuring stories about ‘A Day in the Life of Ashland.’
“Depending on the background and interests of those enrolled, a story list will be chosen and assignments made for stories and photos. Possibilities include spending time with police on patrol, the fire and rescue department, parks and recreation, on the Plaza, at the homeless resource center, hospital, a grocery store or growers market, schools, ScienceWorks or SOU.
“The class will not meet the third week (May 6) as students spend their time in the field, reporting (or photographing, depending on skills and interests) .... The edition will be published between the fourth and fifth weeks of the class. The fifth week will be a review of how the project went and summary of lessons learned.”
The class size is limited to 18 enrollees. It will meet from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays April 22 through May 27.
It should be an interesting project. I hope to see some of you there. You can, after March 2, check the OLLI website’s catalog page for up-to-date information about class dates, time and locations.
Reach Daily Tidings editor Bert Etling at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-631-1313. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/betling.