This past May, Osher at Towson University asked a small group of its members to tell us about their experiences at Osher—and there is video to prove it! I’d like to share a behind the scenes look at how the videos came to be.

With the videos, we wanted to learn how some of our members felt about participating in the Osher program. We knew we’d like to share these videos with our members and prospective members as well. A small group was asked if they would be interviewed on camera. For our participants, we sought out members who had a variety of different experiences here at Osher. Some primarily take classes but others also take part in book clubs, travel on day trips, or volunteer on different committees. A big “thank you” to the following Osher members who contributed their time and who got over their nerves long enough to share their experiences: Joyce Baron, Mike Chovonec, Dayle Dabney, Mike Flinton, George Hirschbein, Jo-Ann Pilardi, Anne Reid, Ron and Pat Stokes, and Eunice Young.

The videos were made in collaboration with Towson University staff who work in the same division that Osher calls home, the Division of Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research. Our behind the scenes team included Mikey Mullen, videographer for the Center for Professional Studies and two colleagues from the Office of Partnerships and Outreach, Sharyn Grove and Arthur Smith. Sharyn and Arthur each helped to shape the videos before we even knew who we’d ask to participate.  They often work with Mikey on videos that document events and promote programs within our division. Initially, I met with all three to discuss my vision for the videos and we talked over ways that we could capture our members’ stories and experiences at Osher.

We developed some potential questions that could be asked to each of the members participating. Participants were selected because they represented new and seasoned members with a variety of ways that they engage with Osher. We prepared the participants by sending sample questions ahead of time but we didn’t want anyone to feel as if they should prepare their responses or follow a script. Instead, we asked the participants for their genuine, unrehearsed responses when they were on camera. During our video shoots, I sat off-camera and asked questions while Mikey videotaped the responses. Mikey’s expertise with this type of interview was evident. He was able to put everyone at ease. Listening to the responses, he added in follow-up questions that helped to flesh out the answers even more.

Arthur, Sharyn, Mikey, and I all reviewed the interview footage for specific clips that we thought would be able to illustrate how these members experience classes, extracurricular offerings, and volunteerism at Osher. Additional video was taken in classrooms, at a book club meeting, and as a day trip was about to depart.  The interviews were woven together with this footage. Thanks to Mikey, Sharyn, Arthur, and all of the people who are in the videos. We will work to share them through social media and in other ways. This project is one that helps us to tell the story of Osher through the voices of some of our members.

We hope you’ll enjoy the finished videos and we hope you’ll share your Osher story with us at some point too.