Friday Courses

Fall Registration NOW OPEN!

Courses begin on October 4th. This fall, we’re pleased to offer in-person, hybrid, and virtual courses. We look forward to having you join us.

Hurry! Registration closes on September 28th.

All courses are scheduled in local (Ohio) time, which currently follows Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Note that EDT ends on November 7, 2021.

Intriguing Mysteries, Surprising Sleuths, Worldwide Venues

From a Golden Age sleuth to an Australian half-caste detective to an American academic amateur to the oldest sleuth imaginable, these novels set in five countries will challenge our expectations of what a mystery can be.

Class texts: We will read the following mysteries in this order starting with Milne:

A. A. Milne, The Red House Mystery, ASIN: B089M6P8WT. Independently published, 2020, ISBN-13: 979-8651788361

Arthur W. Upfield, Bony and the White Savage, ETT Imprint, 2019, ISBN-10: 1925706710 ISBN-13: 978-1925706710

Ngaio Marsh, Killer Dolphin, Felony & Mayhem Press; Reprint edition, 2015, ISBN-10: 1631940368 ISBN-13: 978-1631940361

Amanda Cross, Sweet Death, Kind Death, Ballantine Books,1955, ISBN-10: 0345467639 ISBN-13: 978-0345467638

Steven Saylor, “The Alexandrian Cat” from The House of the Vestals, 1992 (available in the course booklet you will be emailed as a PDF)

A course booklet in PDF format will be emailed before the first class including the order in which we will read the books, information about the authors, any historical information needed to understand a given mystery, discussions of what mysteries are/can be/types of mysteries, and Saylor’s “The Alexandrian Cat.” If you cannot access a PDF, please be sure to email me at as early as possible so that I can make other arrangements.

Instructor: Judith de Luce, Professor Emerita of Classics, Miami University, is a passionate reader of mysteries.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 9:00–10:15 am
Format: Classroom
Location: Knolls of Oxford, Clubhouse

The Golden Age of Protest Music, 1940-1970

Protest music has moved people to action for over 100 years. Although effective and entertaining protest music continues to be made today, most people associate it with a 30-year range of influential recordings and artists that roughly coincided with the careers of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. This course will dig deeper into their motivations and inspirations, as well as the music of other great protest musicians including Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, The Weavers, Josh White, and more.

Instructors: KT Lowe is Assistant Librarian for Instruction at Indiana University East. Her interest in protest music stems from her research in studying social information practice.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 9:00–10:15 am
Format: Virtual
Location: Online

Unlocking the Secrets of Origami

Modern origami is many things. It can be an engaging activity to delight children; it can be a leaf unfolding from a bud; it can be a useful medical device (think stents for heart patients); or it can be the folded wings of a communication satellite that unfurl in outer space. Lastly and most importantly, it can offer mental stimulation for older adults. All cognitive resources are used while creating a work of origami, thus giving the brain a rest from debilitating and stressful thoughts. In addition, the act of following instructions stimulates audio and verbal memory.

Instructor: Christine McCullough has a consuming interest in all things origami which began in high school and has continued off and on for nearly 60 years. She has taught gifted children for 15+ years at Super Saturday and summer campers at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 9:00–10:15 am
Format: Virtual
Location: Online
Supply fee: $15, payable with registration; supplies will be mailed prior to class.

Oxford & Miami: The First 4 1/2 Billion Years

A history of the development of the university and the town with an additional focus on the pre-history and Native American experience in the area.

October 8Pre-history and Geology of Oxford & S.W. OhioKendall Hauer, Director of the Limper Geology Museum, will describe the origins of Oxford to the Ice Age and the coming of the first people.

October 15ahsenisiipionki myaamiaki: Miami Indians in the Great Miami River ValleyGeorge Ironstrack, Assistant Director of the Myaamia Center, will describe the relationship the Myaamia have with their homelands, which includes where Oxford sits today.

October 22The Mile Square TownSteve Gordon, Administrator of the McGuffey Museum, will describe the first European contacts and the early development of the village of Oxford.

October 29Miami Campus DevelopmentRobert Keller, University Architect Emeritus, will describe the development and expansion of Miami’s Oxford Campus.

November 5Oxford Business, Uptown and BeyondAlan Kyger, Community Leader and lifelong resident, will describe the economic development and evolution of Oxford from village to city.

Instructor: Pat Sidley is the treasurer of ILR’s Board and a member of the Tech Team. He has had a lifelong interest in history, including Miami’s history.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 10:45 am–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: Boyd Hall, Room 117

The History of Printing and the Printed Word

Join us as we explore the history of printing and printed books through the rich collections of Miami University’s Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives. We’ll travel through the centuries together to examine the materials used to print books and discuss how printing and bookmaking changed the world. We will also discuss how printing both shaped and was shaped by events and movements throughout history.

Instructor: Rachel Makarowski is the Special Collections Librarian of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives, Miami University. William Modrow is Head of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 10:45 am–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: King Library, Room 320

Stitch Your Stress Away: Mad for Plaid

Create either a beautiful set of four needlepoint plastic canvas coasters or an eyeglass case using a fascinating stitching technique which results in a woven-look plaid pattern. A choice of color schemes will be offered. Please bring scissors to class.

Instructor: Joan Green is an award-winning needle artist, author, teacher, and website retailer with 40 years of experience in the needle art field.

4 Fridays: October 8–29; 10:45 am–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: Knolls of Oxford, Clubhouse
Supply fee: $10, payable at the first class

Let’s Play Cards: Euchre for Beginners and the Experienced

Euchre is a fast, popular, and very social card game that’s easy to pick up in only a short time. This course is not just for beginners, so come learn to play or learn to play better. There will be something new for everyone as we play numerous euchre games.

Instructor: Jerry Riesenberg is a U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran who retired from Procter & Gamble after 35 years in Analytical Chemistry and Information Technology. He has been playing euchre for over 50 years and has played in and/or organized over two dozen tournaments.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 12:30–1:45 pm
Format: Classroom
Location: LaRosa’s, Oxford

Plagues and Pox: Their Effects on People, Politics, and Art

Historic infectious diseases have plagued humankind over the centuries; they have had profound effects on populations and individual people, and they have been commemorated in paintings and literature. We will address three of the major plagues of ancient Greece and Rome, the devastating Black Death that swept Europe from 1346-53, and the disfiguring and often deadly smallpox infections that led to the development of the first vaccine.

Speakers: Judith de Luce, Professor Emerita of Classics, Miami University, has a longstanding interest in ancient medicine including the collection of Greek “doctor” jokes. John Stevenson, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, retired from Miami in 2015 after 41 years of teaching and research focused on immunology and infectious diseases. Muriel L. Blaisdell, Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies and History, Miami University, continues her interests in the history of science, especially the history of biology and medicine, science and religion, and science and society in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Coordinator Anne Morris-Hooke , Professor Emerita of Microbiology, Miami University, is addicted to alliteration and bel canto opera.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 12:30–1:45 pm
Format: Virtual
Location: Online

Everything You Wanted to Know about Computers and Cell Phones

What is a smart phone? What is cloud computing? Is there a difference between a tablet and a laptop? Can you explain Wi-Fi and cell connection? Kindle versus iPad? What is Bluetooth?

Instructor: Kevin Rinn is Director of IT at Nathan Adelson Hospice.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 12:30–1:45 pm
Format: Virtual
Location: Online

Midday Matinee: How Did the Roaring 20s Roar on a Silent Screen?

Up until the end of the 1920s, movies were silent. The addition of synchronous sound at the end of the decade turned “movies” into “talkies,” switching the focus of filmmakers and audiences from motion (kinesis: the Greek root of “cinema”) to dialogue, music, and sound effects. We will explore how the coupling of sound and moving images altered cinematic art and amplified the role of movies as a mass medium that reflects and influences social norms, beliefs, and behavior. Students will watch the movies on their own beforehand, obtaining them from a library, online on YouTube or Internet Archive (free), or through streaming-for-payment sites, e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime.

October 8Sunrise (dir. F. W. Murnau, 1927), 1h34m, silent: Seduced by a city woman, a farmer wants to be rid of his wife and country life to join his lover in the city. With its evocative cinematography, a masterful summation of the achievements of silent cinema.

October 15The Jazz Singer (dir. Alan Crosland, 1927), 1h28m, with Al Jolson: the first “talkie”: The son of a Jewish cantor wants to defy tradition and become a jazz singer. The movie that launched the craze for talking and singing pictures.

October 22Modern Times (dir. Charles Chaplin, 1936), 1h27m, with Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard: The Tramp, arrested as a misfit in society, joins forces with the Gamine, arrested for stealing bread for her poor family, to face the modern world. Chaplin resisted the siren call of sound.

October 29Singing in the Rain (dirs. Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952), 1h43m, with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor: A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

November 5The Artist (dir. Michel Hazanavicius, 2011), 1h40m, with Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell: A silent-era leading man helps a young dancer get a start in films. Their paths cross and diverge as sound comes to movies and audience expectations change.

Instructor: Sante Matteo, Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies, Miami University, has taught ILR courses on literature and the recurring film course: Midday Matinee.

5 Fridays: October 8–November 5; 2:15–3:30 pm
Format: Virtual
Location: Online