Towson’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is one our most dynamic community engagement initiatives. I published a blog post back in August on their upcoming Fall semester. About a year ago, Jackie Gratz, Osher Director, attended a workshop Sharyn Kuczka and I facilitated at the Pikesville Senior Center on using Social Media. During that 1.5 hour workshop, we touched on the basics of social media, but more specifically using Facebook and privacy concerns that were relevant to that audience.
Following the workshop, Jackie approached Sharyn and me about creating a 4-week course for Osher. While we were interested, we had a few concerns:
- Is there enough interest in this topic among the Osher membership?
- Can we cover all the topics we had in mind in just 4 weeks?
Now that the class is over I can say the answers to those concerns were Yes and No. Yes, there was plenty of interest—in fact we had 50 students and a waiting list! I’d have to say no, in terms of whether we were able to cover everything we wanted to. We made great strides in educating the students on the social media tools available for their use and teaching them how to maintain their own security on these tools. However, based on the class feedback, an 8-week course would have allowed us to expand on these topics as opposed to just touching on the high level points.
One of my favorite parts of the course was having John Laur as a guest speaker. John, who happens to also be my (new) husband, is the Digital Director for WBAL 1090 and 98 Rock. John discussed the impact social media is having on traditional forms of media like radio. He focused on branding, information gathering, and audience engagement.
The course was a great experience and it’s clear that people of all ages are interested in experimenting with all of these new tools to connect with our friends, family, co-workers, and in a lot of their cases grand-kids!