Wednesday Courses

Thank You for Another Great Semester!

We’re thankful you joined us this past spring. These classes or events have already been held, but are kept here to offer you a glimpse of the programming we offer. Each semester’s offerings will vary, so check back soon for next semester’s content.

Ultracrepidarian Forum

In this course, formerly known as “Topics of Current Interest,” your instructors will present factual point/counterpoint data to initiate discussion. They will select a topic for the first session, then the class will identify topics they want to discuss in subsequent sessions. The goal is to increase understanding of current topics of controversy and debate.

Instructors: Paul Allen is a member of the ILR Board of Directors, Curriculum Committee, and Tech Team. He is a retired U.S. Navy officer and Ohio civil servant who remains actively engaged in public and political issues. Dennis Johnson is a USAF veteran and was the Director of Human Resources at McCullough-Hyde Hospital. Since his retirement, Dennis has been an active participant in the ILR program and enjoys exchanging ideas in an open, honest, and civil forum that encourages spirited, robust debate.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 9–10:15 a.m.
Format: In person
Location: The Knolls of Oxford, Auditorium

Google Drive and Apps for Computer and Mobile

If you struggle to share content between your computer and smart devices, Google Drive and Apps might be for you. It’s cross-platform, meaning it runs through a web browser on traditional computers and on any tablet or smartphone that runs apps. If you’re comfortable using email, you’ll quickly learn to use these Google tools. To participate, you’ll need a free Google (or Gmail) account. Instructions for creating one will be emailed to you before our first session. This account includes 15 GB of Google Drive storage as well as access to over 40 Google tools and apps. The starter set of the Google tools and apps we’ll focus on includes Gmail (plus Contacts and Calendar) and Drive and Docs (plus Sheets, Slides, and Forms). As time permits, we’ll also touch on Maps, Lens, and Google Photos.

Instructor: Robin Seaver spent her career teaching basic computer skills from mainframe computers to smartphones and tablets. She’s a confessed Google Apps fangirl who also speaks Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 9–10:15 a.m.
Format: Virtual
Location: Online

Writing Workshop

This is a class for writers to share and critique one another’s writing projects. The works will include fiction, family histories, poetry, therapy writing, plays, retrospectives, and any writing the participants choose. Those who have been a part of previous writing classes know how valuable the views of their fellow writers can be.

Instructor: Bridget Ossmann is a playwright, humorist, and musician. She has written hundreds of plays, including Teachers Left Behind and Purple Paint.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 10:30 a.m.–noon
Format: In person
Location: Fairfield Community Arts Center Classroom

Family Bicycling in the U.S.

Carl will describe the bicycling adventures he completed by himself, with his son, David, and with his wife, Mary, in over a dozen different states. Cathy will talk about her bicycling trip across the U.S. from San Diego, California, to St. Augustine, Florida.

Instructors: Carl Bishop is a retired Adjunct Professor of Chemistry and Mathematics. Cathy Bishop-Clark is a Professor of Computer and Information Technology and former Dean of Miami Regionals.

1 Wednesday: March 29; 10:30 a.m.–noon
Format: In person
Location: West Chester, VOALC, Room 127

The Catcher in the Rye: Seventy Years Later

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye was an immediate sensation when it was published in 1951, in part because its narrator Holden Caulfield became “an icon for teenage rebellion.” The New York Times reviewer called it “an unusually brilliant novel.” Since then it has been translated widely and has sold more than 65 million copies. In 1981, it was both the most censored book and the second most taught book in public schools in the United States. More recently, however, opinions seem to have changed. The veteran reviewer for The Washington Post called it “badly written” and one of the worst popular books in the annals of American literature. So come join this conversational, reader-centered, participatory adventure into the novel that has literally changed lives, mine included. For our first class, please read chapters 1-5.

Class text: J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Back Bay Books, 2001, ISBN-13:978-0-316-76917-4

Instructor: Don Daiker was a psychology major at Rutgers until reading The Catcher in the Rye made him want to teach fiction for the rest of his life.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 10:45 a.m.–noon
Format: Hybrid
Location: Online or Oxford, Peabody Hall, Room 31

Renewing Our Constitutional Democracy

Our Constitution is a wonderful document; it focuses on creating the structure for a government that derives its powers from the consent of the governed. But it does not define HOW to govern; those rules are left to the members of Congress. However, too many of these rules have been designed to serve the interests of the members of Congress and their parties, not the interests of the country. This course will explore the details of new rules that would define how citizens might prefer to be governed and how those “citizen rules” might be implemented.

Instructor: Robert Viney is a former Procter & Gamble business executive, Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati, and the author of American Turning Point—Repairing and Restoring Our Constitutional Republic.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 10:45 a.m.–noon
Format: In person
Location: The Knolls of Oxford, Auditorium

Computers Made Simple

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 the IT Director at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Kevin has worked as the IT Director at other nonprofits, such as Lighthouse, Bright Sign, and Nathan Addelson over the span of 20 years.

4 Wednesdays: March 29–April 19; 10:45 a.m.–noon
Format: Virtual
Location: Online

Wednesday Brown Bag Lecture Series

Relax, learn, and enjoy! Discover a 160-year-old Cincinnati treasure, meet the girl with a pearl earring, travel the Amazon with a medical crew, learn how to get help for a wild animal, and attend the flag raising at Iwo Jima.

March 29A Window to the Past: The Cincinnati Panorama of 1848Chris Smith is a reference librarian at the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library in the Genealogy & Local History Department, as well as a historian of the Greater Cincinnati area and a tour guide of the city.

April 5Pearl GirlMarian Fisher has taught several oil painting classes for ILR and has lectured on famous paintings. Why is a peasant girl wearing an expensive piece of jewelry? Come hear about the artist Vermeer and his wonderful work, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

April 12The Amazon River by Double-Decker BoatJudy Royse taught physical education at Edgewood High School for 30 years, supervised student teachers for Miami University, teaches Stretch and Flex at the YMCA, has ridden her motorcycle all over the U.S., is a Golden Tapper, and provided medical care along the Amazon.

April 19Backyard Wildlife: What’s Normal, What’s Not, and Where to Get HelpShannon Pennington is the Staff Naturalist for the Warren County Park District and Co-Founder of Tiny Wonders Wildlife Rescue. She has worked with local wildlife for more than 25 years and is a state-permitted wildlife rehabilitator.

April 26Marines at Iwo Jima and the Flag RaisingWestin Robeson is a military historian, author, and history teacher. His areas of interest include personal experiences of soldiers, mechanization, and doctrine. He teaches American History and History through Film and Literature at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and also runs a Military History Club.

Coordinator: Marlene Esseck is a retired educator from the Lakota Local School District.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: West Chester, VOALC, Room 116

Hiking Miami University Natural Area Trails*

Miami University Natural Area trails cover over 17 miles of spring wonders. Join us and other naturalists as we encounter wildflowers and birds in their habitat. Trails can be muddy and steep so walking sticks and hiking boots are recommended, as are binoculars. We will meet at the DeWitt Homestead parking lot, east of the Miami University stables on Route 73, where we will distribute trail maps with meeting locations for future weeks. The threat of heavy wind or rain will result in the cancellation of that day’s hike, and participants will be notified by email by 11 a.m. that day. Regardless of the weather, please check your email before heading out to hike every week.

Instructors: Barbara Eshbaugh is a longtime ILR Curriculum Committee member as well as a nature enthusiast and walker. W. Hardy Eshbaugh is Professor Emeritus of Botany and a nature lover.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: Oxford, DeWitt Homestead parking lot

How to Make a Movie!

This course is designed to teach you about the elements of how to make a film, which we will explain through film history and the behind-the-scenes mechanics of filmmaking. We will review short films based on genres the class is interested in and dissect how they are made. After examining film mechanics, we will draft our own short film as a class and actually create it. All the materials and technicalities are covered; what’s most important now are your ideas. The final film will be shown at a local venue after its completion!

Instructor: Samuel Van Vleet is a Ph.D. student in the Gerontology Department at Miami University. Samuel has a background in film and creative writing, which includes creating his own video production company geared towards highlighting older adult voices. Samuel writes, directs, and edits his own short films and documentaries.

6 Wednesdays: March 29–May 3; 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: Oxford Lane Library, Havighurst Room

Pickleball for Newbies: A Beginner’s Guide*

The game of pickleball is experiencing explosive growth in the United States and internationally. The sport is a loose combination of tennis, badminton, ping pong, and racquetball. The playing surface is essentially a miniature tennis court with similar markings and a net. Typically, the game is relatively easy to learn, but it takes time and experience to achieve some form of consistency. In this participatory class, heavy emphasis will be placed on drills and practice. Pickleball has not only physical benefits but additional social benefits as well. Dress is comfortable court wear and tennis shoes. If you have equipment, bring it. Otherwise, we’ll share.

Instructor: James Hatton is an intermediate recreational player who has been on the court 2-3 times a week for the past three years. His passion is to introduce new players to the sport.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: Weeks 1 and 2 (indoor): Courts 4 Sports, 854 Reading Road, Mason, OH; Weeks 3-5 (outdoor): Lefferson Park, 2145 S. Breiel Blvd, Middletown, OH. Rain postpones outdoor class to Friday (announced via email one hour prior to class).
Court fee: $12, payable with registration

Eat a Lo-Cal Dinner, Make Dessert the Winner

Have you ever eaten a lighter fare dinner so you could indulge in dessert? Well, so have we…multiple times. We will teach you how to create a delicious dinner under 600 calories and then show you how to go all out for dessert!

Instructors: Phil New, Director of Culinary and Nutritional Services at Ohio Living Mount Pleasant, has 25 years of experience in fine dining and catering for retirement communities. Adam Lupp, Assistant Director of Culinary and Nutritional Services at Mount Pleasant, has over 11 years of culinary experience.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 2:15–3:30 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: Monroe, Ohio Living Mt. Pleasant, Activity Building

Inside Biology: Filling the Gaps Inside the Big Picture

Do you want to know why water is weird and how that weirdness has shaped life on Earth? How about peering into the inner-workings of human reproduction? Maybe you are interested in learning about globally-known parasites? Perchance spiders and their kin catch your fancy? The goal is to show connections and inner-workings concerning these topics. Filling knowledge gaps, increasing your understanding, and revealing relationships among physical, biological, and human aspects of life are all objectives of the class.

Instructor: Alan Cady is a Professor of Biology at Miami University. He has taught a wide variety of courses, mostly in anatomy, physiology, general biology, and integrative studies.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 2:15–3:30 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: West Chester, VOALC, Room 116

Opera: What’s to Love?

Opera, today considered an elite art form, was the prototype of today’s mass media. Unlike painting, sculpture, or architecture, which had to be seen in situ, opera could be performed anywhere and was accessible to larger segments of the public. Opera’s international reach and widespread popularity helped to shape our interconnected modern world. The presentations, whether discussing specific roles, overarching concepts, or tying new ideas to age-old themes, will highlight aspects of opera that might appeal to the masses.

March 29Opera: The First Mass Medium?Sante Matteo, who taught courses on Italian culture, will give an overview of the history of opera.

April 5The Verdi Baritone: Fathers, Friends, and Some Bad GuysKen Grabach is a retired librarian from Miami University. He is a longtime devotee of opera and a regular listener to the Metropolitan Opera Saturday radio broadcasts.

April 12The Act I Love Duet: Anticipation and ForebodingBill Renwick, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Geography, is a devoted opera fan.

April 19Ainadamar: A Contemporary Opera by Argentinian Composer Osvaldo GolijofCharles Ganelin, Professor Emeritus of Spanish and former Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has taught literature courses and coordinated the Midday Lecture Series for ILR.

April 26What Really Makes Opera Truly Grand: AidaJim Rubenstein, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Geography and a devoted opera fan, has taught several courses for ILR.

Coordinator: Sante Matteo, Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies, has taught film and literature for ILR and has participated in many other courses and events.

5 Wednesdays: March 29–April 26; 4–5:15 p.m.
Format: Virtual
Location: Online

Seven Luxury Vacation Spots in the French Riviera and Northern Italy

Do you dream of experiencing the beauty of the French Riviera up close? Have you seen Venice, Milan, or Lake Como in a movie and wondered whether they really look like that in person? Have you ever puzzled over what “Cinque Terre” is or why someone would want to visit there? If so, then join me on a journey via planes, trains, and automobiles (and taxis, and ferries, and Ubers) to these places and more as I share highlights from a four-week, seven-city luxury vacation to Southern France and Northern Italy.

Instructor: Carol Kosarko worked at Procter & Gamble in a variety of departments. Though based in Cincinnati, she traveled to P&G locations in Hong Kong, Mexico City, Brussels, several sites in Germany and England, and a variety of sites within the U.S. She and her husband, Scott, love to travel in the U.S. and Europe.

2 Wednesdays: March 29–April 5; 4–5:15 p.m.
Format: In person
Location: Oxford, Boyd Hall, Room 217

Bringing Amtrak to Oxford: Where are We Now?

The City of Oxford has been working to bring an Amtrak stop to our community for several years. Come learn about what it took to get Amtrak here, the planning and design process, and the proposed construction timeline. Guest speakers and topics will include: Alan Kyger, former Economic Development Director, planning and strategy; Jessica Greene, Assistant City Manager, funding and beginning engineering and design; and Derrick James, Amtrak, the future vision of Amtrak.

Instructor: Jessica Greene is the Assistant City Manager for the City of Oxford. She studied social work at Miami University and public administration at Kent State University. In her role with the city, Jessica is responsible for communications, economic development, human resources, and special City Council projects.

1 Wednesday: April 12; 4–5:15 p.m.
Format: Virtual
Location: Online