Dear Collegium members,
It has been a long and busy summer and we are pleased to bring you an update on our efforts to reimagine Collegium as a viable program of remote classes.
In July we put together a summer pilot project to determine if the spirit of Collegium could be maintained, what successful remote teaching would require from course leaders and participants, and what additional support and assistance would be needed from both Westchester Community College and Collegium members/volunteers. Michael Molinelli volunteered to present his class “A History of the World in Six Buildings” and it became the pilot offering for Collegium members who had signed up for Michael’s class in the cancelled spring semester. Thirty individual and board members signed up for the pilot class.
We began with an orientation class to explain how Zoom works, and how to use its tools for the Collegium program to ensure that all participants receive a meaningful experience. Six truly enjoyable classes followed, accompanied by assessments and surveys. To our delight we found that remote learning offered opportunities for interaction with the course leader, questions and comments continued to have a place in our electronic classrooms, and multi-media experiences could still enrich presentations as they had in our in-person classes. By extending the Zoom time before and after the actual classes, we could maintain the gracious exchange of both ideas and conversation that have come to be a hallmark of our program.
Following the pilot class, we offered an orientation session to our Collegium faculty, and explored how to adapt both lecture and discussion classes to Zoom. The response was enthusiastic and most encouraging. Indeed, all these preparations have proven to be enormously successful and have reinforced the belief that Collegium is truly alive and well.
Based on this foundation, we are pleased to announce a fall 2020 lineup of six classes, three on Wednesdays and three on Fridays, over six consecutive weeks beginning October 7 and October 9. Since the spring semester was cancelled due to Covid-19, the fall 2020 registration will be open first to those who were denied the spring 2020 experience. Before the beginning of classes, all participants will attend a Zoom orientation class, devoted solely to understanding and using this program in the Collegium experience.
There are still multiple challenges such as electronic brochures, annotated directions for all online registration, but with each hurdle we overcome we become more steadfast in our belief that Collegium will continue to thrive and enrich its members.
Thank you for your continued support as we work to expand our class offerings.
The Collegium Board
COLLEGIUM for Lifelong Learning is a membership organization created in 2004 to combine serious study and social exchange. Each COLLEGIUM semester features a different array of courses in the arts and sciences, all led by exceptional volunteers with expertise in the subjects they teach. Participants are encouraged to engage in classroom discussion and the schedule allows for informal discussion between sessions and during breaks.
Knollwood Center, Valhalla Campus