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A new era for Osher

Merilee Marsh, Photo by Hue Herrick
Boise State Magazine, Merilee Marsh, OSHER Story, Photo by Hue Herrick

Connecting with more learners

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, the Osher Institute – a membership-based, lifelong learning program at Boise State for intellectually curious adults age 50 and over – quickly moved from its usual in-person programs to livestream via Zoom.

This pivot helped the institute reach more households. It also enabled Osher Director Dana Thorp Patterson to invite a variety of speakers, including five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey, CBS Sunday Morning contributor David Pogue, and retired international ambassador Elbio Rosselli, to present programs.

Now that in-person instruction has resumed on campus, the Osher Institute has adapted yet again. Technology upgrades in the Osher classroom, including ceiling microphones and a motion-tracking camera, give presenters the ability to simultaneously teach in-person and remotely.

“Hybrid learning takes the best of the Osher Institute and adds flexibility,” said Osher Advisory Board Chair Merilee Marsh. She recently accessed a writing class from Maine. “Because of the hybrid model, I was able to log in. Online capabilities and archived sessions add to the educational richness and opportunities of the Osher Institute,” she said.

Osher members Gwynne McElhinney and Bob McAndrew said that as retirees, they appreciate “getting a bang for our buck.” They’ve enjoyed diverse speakers and the opportunity to watch programs at their leisure.

The hybrid model will be the new normal for Osher.

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