Courses, Clubs and Workshops

Here you will find information about our current and upcoming sessions, including how to register. 

students attend an OLLI course

If you are looking for details about our summer 2024 courses, you have come to the right place. All of OLLI's summer course descriptions will be detailed below. See what type of courses OLLI has offered in the past below.

Registration for summer 2024 opens on June 1. 

Register Online 

Spring 2024 Course Descriptions

*Please note: recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course. Access to the recorded content will be available through the end of the Spring 2024 Session, June 30, 2024.

Mondays | March 25 – May 6 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
No class April 1

Cybersecurity is a field where everything changes quickly and new technology becomes obsolete in a matter of months. Cybersecurity 3 is a follow-up to the first two courses on this topic but it is absolutely not necessary to have taken the earlier courses to understand this course. This course will focus on new developments such as AI and ChatGPT (is humanity really doomed?) or deep fakes and disinformation (is democracy in trouble?) but will also offer updates on previous topics as well (is public wifi ever safe?). The material will be presented in a clear, accessible, and user-friendly format, so both absolute beginners and more experienced tech-users will find much to enrich and expand their understanding of this important topic.

Darren Zook, Ph.D.
Darren Zook has taught for 16 years at UC Berkeley and has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to education on campus. He teaches courses on comparative politics, security studies, human rights, and conflict resolution, and has extensive field experience in nearly every part of the world, including two trips to North Korea. In 2012 he was a Fulbright Research Scholar based in Singapore, conducting research on cybersecurity threats in the Asia-Pacific region. His previous courses at OLLI Dominican have received extraordinarily glowing evaluations and we are sure that this course will be as dynamic as his others.

Mondays | March 25 – May 6 | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
No class April 1

"Make 'em laugh!" Opera is not always about tragic dying divas. Humor is one of the great human emotions, especially needed in these trying times. San Francisco Opera's Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna looks at what makes comic opera truly funny, exploring the composer's role in giving comedy its spark, using video examples (with subtitles) of operatic humor from the 17th century to the present day. Come prepared to interact, ask questions, and laugh!

Mondays | March 25 – May 20 | 5:30 – 7:10 p.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
No class April 1

This new course investigates the transatlantic forces that shaped the American Revolution and the imperial consequences of this nation’s break with Britain. It asks how the familiar story of the American Revolution—its causes, course, and consequences—changes when we place the Revolution in the context of Britain’s global empire. This course is comprised of eight lectures. First, we’ll examine the Boston Tea Party, a protest against imperial tyranny and monopoly power. Second, we’ll probe the life of Thomas Paine, the British emigrant who set Americans on the path to self-determination. Third, we’ll deconstruct the Declaration of Independence to consider its role in formalizing a first-of-its-kind secessions movement in the heart of Britain’s New World empire. Fourth, we’ll look at the resulting war from the perspective of the Palace, the Parliament, and the British people. Fifth, we’ll survey the conflict from the vantage of the Irish and their descendants in America. Sixth, we’ll pivot southward to study the fate of the empire on Britain’s Caribbean islds. Seventh, we’ll explore the plight of the white loyalists and Black refugees who struck out for new lives beyond the borders of the newly United States. Finally, we’ll investigate the catalyzing role the American Revolution played in the settlement of Australia as a destination for forced migrants from Britain who might otherwise have ended up in America. This class blends lectures and discussion and rich visual and textual evidence from primary sources.

Richard Bell, PhD
Dr. Richard Bell, a Professor of History at the University of Maryland, is the author of the recent book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home. The book was a finalist for the 2020 George Washington Prize and the 2020 Harriet Tubman Prize. Rick has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award and the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. Rick also serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Center for History and Culture and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


Tuesdays | March 26 – May 14 | 9 – 9:45 a.m. | In-person, Not recorded

Tai Chi emphasizes fluid, slow and gentle movements to enhance balance, flexibility and relaxation. The techniques are easy to follow and can easily be practiced. Al Loren, the teacher of this program, has been teaching Tai Chi to seniors for over thirty years, and is well-known for his excellence and patient manner.

Tuesdays | March 26 – May 14 | 10 – 11:45 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

This course is a comprehensive review of the history of the Middle East conflict. We will examine the issues and the players and ask: What is their goal? We will examine the root cause(s), and ask key questions. When did these situations arise, and what triggered some of the major wars? Is the Palestinian-Israeli dispute and war part of a broader regional conflict between Sunni-Shia confrontation and struggle for power and dominance? Who is Hamas and what is their goal? Who are their key supporters and mentors? What do they want? We will examine the “Ibraham Accords” and the “Axis of Resistance”, and we will examine US foreign policy in the Middle East and the evolution of those policies through key decisions by various administrations. Finally, we will examine the potential threat & security challenges inside the United States. Guest speakers with expert knowledge will be invited to speak at some classes. 

Tuesdays | March 26 – April 30 | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Not recorded

At the turn of the century, as a revolt against traditional academic styles and rising industrialism, sometimes even as part of a political struggle for independence, artists throughout Europe developed a short lived, but extremely energetic and unique style, which influenced architecture, design as well as graphic design and fine arts. Most striking characteristics of Art Nouveau are an expression of movement, especially the famous ‘whiplash lines’, inspiration from nature and youthfulness, sensuality. Artists aimed to create organic environments where architecture, including glass and metal work, fabrics, furniture, and all decorative arts were coordinated to create an organic whole.

Sylvia Laudien-Meo
Sylvia was born and raised in Germany and came to the US as a graduate student on a scholarship for Columbia University. After working and raising her family in NYC, she just recently relocated to St Petersburg, Florida. Sylvia is an art historian who has been working as an art professional in various capacities for the past three decades, teaching at NYC art museums (MoMA, Guggenheim and the Jewish Museum), guiding art and architecture tours for the Municipal Art Society, UFT and Brandeis as well as private clients, teaching at Fairleigh Dickinson University and now mostly offering virtual tours and lectures.

Tuesdays | March 26 – May 14 | 3:45 – 5:15 p.m. | Zoom, Not recorded

The Economist magazine provides unbiased reporting and thought-provoking articles on global political, economic, and cultural developments. Each week we will review 5 topics from the current week’s issue. Class participants are expected to volunteer to lead a discussion on at least one topic during the semester. Participants must subscribe or have access to current editions of The Economist (on-line or paper copies, also available at most libraries) and be familiar with Zoom. Information on subscriptions, student rates and special rates is available at 1-800-456-6086 or

Wednesdays | March 27 – April 17 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

Holding the likely distinction of Hollywood’s most iconoclastic producer/writer/director duos of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the Coen Brothers are truly a “cine” qua non for film lovers of all stripes. For nearly four decades, their films have embraced, subverted and lampooned classical genres, from Westerns, B-movies, musicals - even horror flicks – sometimes all folded into the batter of one single film. Known for their inimitable scriptwriting talents and the creation of characters who have slipped so seamlessly into the fabric of American popular culture it’s as if they’ve always been there (e.g. Jeff Bridges as The Dude, Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson), the Coens have built an irresistibly imaginative empire of images and sounds well worthy of exploration or revisitation, for those already in the know. This course will feature four films from the oeuvre of Joel and Ethan Coen, emphasizing the ‘caper comedy’.

Films to be discussed:

  1. THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (1994) 111min.
  2. FARGO (1996) 98min.
  3. THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) 117min.
  4. HAIL, CAESAR! (2016) 106min.

Karen Davis
Karen Davis is Senior Film Programmer and Program Consultant for the Mill Valley Film Festival and Professor Emerita at California State University at Monterey Bay. She has also held visiting faculty positions in film studies at UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis and Vassar College.

Wednesdays | April 24 – May 15 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

Whether you first think of her eyes, her throaty voice, or her riveting personality, Bette Davis is one of the most-admired screen icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She was the first woman to be honored with the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, and in 1999 was ranked #2 on AFI’s "50 Greatest American Screen Legends" list (#1 was Katharine Hepburn). In this class, we’ll look at four films spanning four decades in Davis’s career: Of Human Bondage (1934), Dangerous (1935), Jezebel (1938), Now, Voyager (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), All About Eve (1950),  A Pocketful of Miracles (1961), and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962).

Wednesdays | March 27 – May 15 | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

This course will examine the great works of American painting from its beginnings in the 17th century to the dawn of modernism in the early 20th century. Emphasis will be placed on understanding American art as expressive of American ideas and values – on the “Americanness” of American art. The course will give special attention to the masterworks of American painting in the collection of the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Thursdays | March 28 – May 2 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

Italy’s story is your story, because it is Western Civilization’s story, with a plot as convoluted as a Fellini movie. Our class stars Leonardo da Vinci, Joe Bananas, Garibaldi, Archimedes, Caligula, Æneas, Santa Lucia, Saint Francis, Sophia Loren, Cyclops, Caesar, Verdi, Monteverdi, Machiavelli, Mussolini, Montessori, Michelangelo, the Etruscans, the Lombards, Casanova, Pythagoras, Lucia Borgia, Dante, Galileo, Vivaldi, Nero, Ulysses, Vandals (ancient & modern), and a cast of thousands, all lined up in chronological order, telling their story through the images of Italy’s great art.

Thursdays | March 28 – May 2 | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | In-person, Recorded*

As author and photo researcher of the 2022 Taschen book San Francisco: Portrait of a City, Richie Unterberger has selected the most striking images that document the Bay Area’s history. He’ll present and discuss more than a thousand of them, covering the evolution of San Francisco from 1850 to the present. Encompassing our region’s architecture, music, political activism, and spectacular natural beauty, it also features work by some of the most internationally renowned photographers.

Richie Unterberger
Richie is the author of numerous rock music history books, including volumes on the Beatles, the Who, the Velvet Underground, Bob Marley, and 1960s folk-rock. He’s taught courses on rock and soul music history for OLLI for almost ten years. His latest book, published by Taschen in 2022, is San Francisco: Portrait of a City, a history of San Francisco in photos from 1850 to the 2020. The pictures he found researching this book are the basis of his spring course.

Fridays | April 5 – April 26 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

Eleanor Roosevelt was a tireless writer and "friend of the underdog." Although never elected to public office, Eleanor played a political role as the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and later as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. We will study the life and words of this remarkable American woman in order to discover the influence she had on the twentieth century and to understand why she has been called “First Lady of the World.”

Fridays | May 3 – May 24 | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Not recorded

In the tumultuous midst of battling The Great Depression, America faced political extremism which threatened its democratic foundations. Inspired by fascism's rise in Europe and its corresponding myth of "the strong man," numerous homegrown groups along with foreign operatives conspired to take over the U.S. government. This course will examine the fascist elements and attempted coups which strained the American Republic in the 1930's.

Jean Bowler
Jean Bowler received her Master’s degree from Dominican University in 2000. Her thesis on the Battle of Saipan (June 1944), reflected a life-long interest in military history. A native of Marin County, she has taught several history classes with the OLLI program. Jean is currently the Operations Director of Green Swan, Inc.

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