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Going virtual: Lifelong Learning shares virtual course schedule for fall semester

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Sep 4, 2020

Lifelong Learning member Steve Ayraud, left, participates in an in-person class, before the COVID-19 Pandemic forced Lifelong Learning to go virtual. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — On Monday afternoon, Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning program presented its fall course schedule on Zoom.

After the COVID-19 Pandemic reached Shepherdstown in the spring, Lifelong Learning was forced to take its courses online. According to Lifelong Learning Director Karen Rice, the decision to continue holding the courses online was made to encourage social distancing and protect the health of the program’s participants, who are at a higher risk for developing serious COVID-19 complications due to their age.

“I’m thrilled to see everybody’s smiling faces! Thank you all for joining us for the course preview today,” Rice said. “If you [have looked at our course catalogue], you’ll know that we’re doing all of our lectures through Zoom, to make sure we’re keeping safe this year.”

According to Rice, the catalogue was sent out in the mail to previous Lifelong Learning participants. It is also available to view online at https://media.suweb.site/2020/08/Shepherd_Lifelong-Learning-Catalog.pdf. The catalogue, along with including information about the program’s fall schedule, lists national and international tours that Lifelong Learning has scheduled for late-spring through early-fall 2021.

Many of the program’s instructors received crash-courses in teaching on virtual platforms in the spring. Although they seemed to regret not being able to meet in-person, many of them indicated they were looking forward to the upcoming semester.

“It will be a challenge, trying this with Zoom to watch these productions, but I’m looking forward to getting it figured out, so we can get to enjoying watching these opera productions!” said David Rampy, who will be showing selections from Richard Wagner’s operas in his course, Wagner Before The Ring. “We’re going to sit and watch excerpts from Wagner’s first four masterpieces. Wagner changed the world forever — you may think he’s too slow or too loud, but without him, the world of music would not be where it is today.”

For Dr. Rich Casuccio, teaching with Zoom last semester helped prepare him to change how he plans to teach his course this fall, History of Medicine Through the Eyes of a Plastic Surgeon.

“I was planning a more interactive course in the spring, but COVID got in the way. So this will look a little different than I originally planned, since it will be on Zoom,” Casuccio said. “My course will be on how did medical illness and the release of intellect to conquer disease effect history? It will be a little gritty, but nothing anybody can’t handle.”

For those looking for a way to cope with issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and upcoming election, retired Marshall University psychology professor Marty Amerikaner will be returning with his course from the spring, Psychology for Today.

“Last spring, I focused it on the political season we were in. Quite a bit of the course was on the relationship between psychology and political behavior — what kind of psychological research can help us understand how we got into the mess we’re in! We’re still in a political season, so I thought we could cover this a little more,” Amerikaner said. “Some of it will be focused on coping and stress — a lot of people are experiencing stress, tied to [the General Election] and COVID, along with many other things going on in the world right now.”

To learn more about Lifelong Learning, visit https://www.shepherd.edu/lifelonglearning. To register for the Lifelong Learning program, contact Rice at krice@shepherd.edu or 304-876-5135.