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          William & Mary


          • Osher Institute instructor Bill Riffer teaches his course  in an empty classroom
            终身学习接着说:  Osher Institute instructor Bill Riffer teaches his course titled The Great Patriotic War: 1941-1945 to more than 170 students from a classroom that’s empty. William & Mary’s Osher Institute is pivoting to online courses in the time of social distancing.  照片由scherry巴拉
          照片 - 的 -

          The staff at William & Mary’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute found themselves in a bit of a quandary as guidelines for social isolation were announced during the 新冠肺炎 outbreak.

          Scherry Barra, director of the Osher Institute at W&M, realized that there was significant overlap in the demographics of her student body and the most vulnerable population during the outbreak.

          The Osher Institute at William & Mary each year offers a slate of hundreds of courses, one-time lectures and a Town and Gown Noon series to some 1,500 Williamsburg-area residents, largely retirees. It started in Jan 1991 as the Christopher Wren Association. Barra noted that the Christopher Wren Association was the brainchild of the late Wayne and Ruth Kernodle, faculty at William & Mary and Christopher Newport University, respectively.

          In July 2018, the Christopher Wren Association changed its name, as it was accepted by the Bernard Osher Foundation; the Osher Institute also became an official unit of William & Mary under Auxiliary Services. Barra noted that the university provides office and class room space, but otherwise the Osher Institute remains self-supporting, just as the Christopher Wren Association was.

          Lifelong learning courses in past years have been held in a variety of classrooms across the William & Mary campus. Barra saw that the standard operating procedure of getting large groups of senior citizens together would not be wise during times of closings and recommendations about social isolation.

          “When the university announced the William & Mary students would be taking their courses online, I reached out to one of our excellent longtime volunteer Osher instructors, Bill Riffer, to see if he would be willing to be a ‘guinea pig’ to try a Zoom course,” she said.

          Riffer was game to give it a try. Osher staff also became guinea pigs, Zooming in to the institute’s classroom at William & Mary’s Discovery campus. “It all seemed to work rather well,” Barra said.



          A number of William & Mary faculty teach Osher courses and at least two of them, Dana Lashley and Dana Willner, told Barra they also were game to teach their planned classes remotely as well.

          “所以,”巴拉说。 “我们发现自己在变焦业务!”

          Willner and Lashley bring online teaching experience to the Osher Zoom initiative. Willner is a lecturer in William & Mary’s Department of Computer Science. She will be teaching What Do These Results Mean? Understanding Clinical Diagnostic Tests. It’s the second part of a course that started in the fall. She taught the first part in a classroom in Small Hall on the William & Mary campus. Part II will be offered from Willner’s kitchen, through Zoom. She doesn’t expect the content or the presentation to suffer.

          “我希望它可以互动,”威尔纳说。 “那是我的在线教学经验。如果你能做到的事情同步,并且人们可以插话和提问,这是威尼斯人官网大家一个更有价值的经验。”

          Lashley is a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry. She is teaching a COLL 400 capstone course, Scientific and Social Aspects of Drug Discovery and Drug Development to a group of William & Mary seniors. Her Ph.D. concentration was antiviral drug development.

          “我的专业病毒是埃博拉病毒,所以我常常会举办的讲座都是关于埃博拉病毒,”她说。 “我将这次演讲适应我们目前关注的病毒。但covid-19病毒和埃博拉病毒确实有很多共同点,只要他们是如何复制。在埃博拉病毒最初瞄准的药物,目前正在为冠状病毒的临床试验。”

          She incorporated her W&M students into her Osher course — also titled Scientific and Social Aspects of Drug Discovery and Drug Development — and she intends to do likewise for the spring Zoom version.

          “我们在去年做了,它真的很好,”拉什利说。 “我提出了半个班和学生方面提出了半个班。他们教医学和药物开发和OSHER观众真的很喜欢这些不同的主题;这些都是话题对他们非常重要。”



          威尔纳补充说,她将纳入有关诊断测试的可变性的讨论。 “什么是真正的测试的测试呢?”她问。 “总有一些可能性,测试结果可能是错误的。取决于测试的类型,该概率可以更大很多或小了很多。”


          “这样就会有一个讲座在这里我说说什么是病毒吗?有一些不同类型的病毒是什么,我们如何对待他们?为什么我们不能用抗生素治疗呢? ”拉什利说。 “我想谈谈正在做什么,现在治疗冠状 - 为什么没有疫苗,但冠状病毒。有一个很好的理由。”


          “他们问的问题很大,”拉什利说。 “他们喜欢问他们的问题的时候了。所以他们问我的问题,如果他们打断我,我不介意的话 - 这很好。变焦,我是略带焦急,看看它是如何工作的。”

          “I’m very fortunate because one of the classes I teach in person at William & Mary, I have taught online twice,” Willner said. “I went through the whole process that the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation offers to transition your course online.”

          She said she also will draw on the reactions from her first Osher section, during which she noticed that a number of her students liked her PowerPoint slides. She has taught undergraduate courses at William & Mary with content ranging from introductory computer science to bioinformatics.


          “在OSHER,大家都在,因为他们有兴趣,”她说。 “我问的问题,我不得不回去看看了答案,下次再来。”

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