Using Zoom to reach more lifelong learners in South Dakota

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – During the pandemic, the word ‘zoom’ took on a whole new importance. In addition to being a verb for moving quickly, it became known as a way of conducting a gathering.

And now, in some instances, groups are continuing to utilize Zoom for hybrid options of meetings and classes both in-person and online.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI, through USD is doing just that by using that technology option to reach even more learners.

“Seeing people from across the state being able to enjoy this has been just a great joy for me,” Thea Miller Ryan, director of OLLI, said. “I’m so thrilled to allow people in West River, the Black Hills, they can join us now.”

OLLI is a program that offers various classes and learning experiences for people age 50 and over. In South Dakota, OLLI’s in-person classes are in Sioux Falls, Vermillion and Brookings.

“We have STEM classes, science, math, technology,” OLLI member Mary Enright said. “We have creative arts courses, we have literature courses, we have expanding your mind kind of courses, we have a few physical education courses.”

This Fall, OLLI will have 149 different courses of varying topics for people to take in-person or via Zoom.

“It is a great way for people who are nearing retirement, or just getting into retirement, to get out and keep their brain stimulated, learn new things, take a course in a topic that you may never have considered in the past and learn something new and meet new friends,” Enright said.

There are 124 OLLI programs across the country linked with different universities.

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