Spring 2024 Online Courses

OLLI membership and semester course package registration is required.

To register for Summer 2024 classes, please call 205-348-3000 or visit olli.ua.edu/register. Joining OLLI at UA is easy and requires an annual payment of $65. The Summer 2024 semester course package fee is $60, granting access to all OLLI at UA courses (in-person and online). Semester course package purchases are not required to register for field trips, and lunch/dinner meetups. Additional material fees may apply for certain classes.  



OL 101 The Business of Opera – People, Houses and Traditions (OLLI Shares)  

July 8, 15, 22, 29  

9 – 10:15 a.m.  

Dr. Elizabeth Aversa  

The rich history, entrenched traditions and fascinating behind-the-scenes stories from the world of opera are explored in this course. Notable people, companies and private and public venues will be the focus, with plenty of great music to illustrate both fabulous successes and dismal failures in opera.  


OL 102 The Fossil Record of Decapod Crustaceans  

July 15  

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.  

Dr. Adiel Klompmaker  

This presentation will be about the fossil record of decapod crustaceans, a group that includes crabs and lobsters. What do we know about their diversity, preservation potential, body size and how they interacted with other animals in deep time?  


OL117 Causes and Tactics in the Civil War (OLLI Shares) 

July 8 & 9, (Monday & Tuesday) 

1:15 to 2:45 pm (2 Sessions)  

John Mason 

Learn why some historians believe that from America’s beginning, a Civil War was inevitable. Explore topics such as the effects of the Industrial Revolutions, growth, multiple political compromises, and the root of the insurrection, slavery. Secondly, the course will explore military tactics in the 19th Century and how they changed as a result of the conflict.   


OL 103 The Chemistry All Around Us, Part 3: Poisons and Medicines  

June 3, 10, 17, 24; July 8, 15, 22, 29  

3 – 4:15 p.m.  

Dr. Russ Timkovich  

Humans are surrounded by natural chemicals that can be poisons or medicines, or both. This course will examine some of the most common and where they are found. It will examine the question of why they exist. It is certainly not for humans – because they appeared millions of years ago before us. 



OL 118 Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows (OLLI Shares) 

June 4, 11, 18 

9:00 am – 10:30 am  

Ken Autrey, Jay Lamar & Wendy Cleveland 

This three-session course will include presentations and discussion on Margaret Renkl’s most recent book, The Comfort of Crows, in preparation for her visit to Auburn for OLLI Day in August. Renkl, a native of Alabama and a graduate of Auburn University, has published three popular works of nonfiction. A resident of Nashville, she writes regularly for The New York Times. Instructors will direct one class session each.  


Suggested materials:   

Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows is not required but is recommended. Books may be purchased from Auburn Oil Company at a 10% OLLI discount.  

Ken Autrey has previously taught poetry and literary nonfiction in universities and for OLLI.  

Wendy Cleveland, a former high school English teacher, has taught ekphrastic poetry several times for OLLI and has, on occasion, assisted with the Writing Our Lives class.  

Jay Lamar was Executive Director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and is currently Associate Director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum 


OL 119 Spending time with Descendants of the Historic Slave Ship Clotilda (OLLI Shares) 

July 9, 10, 11 

9:00 am – 10:30 am 

Joan Harrell 

Participants are invited to explore the history and legacy of the descendants of the historic slave ship Clotilda. From West Africa to the American South, they will delve into their stories, resilience, and ongoing pursuit of justice. Through discussions and analysis, participants will deepen their understanding of this significant chapter in history and its impact on contemporary society.  


Suggested materials:  

Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston.  ISBN: 978-0062748201  

The Survivors of the Clotilda: Lost Stories of the Last Captives on The American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin. ISBN: 978-1788310531  

OL 104 Revolutionary Women of Influence (OLLI Shares)  

June 4, 11, 18, 25  

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.  

Dr. Richard Rhone  

When studying the American Revolutionary War period, we usually hear only of the Founding Fathers. But while playing very different roles and sometimes only behind the scenes, women had a lasting influence. This class will concentrate on four women who made significant contributions.  


OL 105 Pride and Prejudice Book Club  

June 4, 11, 18, 25  

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.  

Dusty Folds  

We will take a deep dive into Jane Austen’s most popular novel “Pride and Prejudice.” We will gain some fascinating insight into how this novel does and does not represent Regency English society as well as its long-lasting impact on Austen’s reputation. So, like Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy, “let’s dive in.  


OL 106 New Discoveries in Science  

June 4, 11, 18, 25; July 9, 16, 23, 30  

3 – 4:15 p.m.  

Philip Malone  

We will explore the latest news in science, based on several periodicals and online sources. Using articles and papers from these sources, we will examine what discoveries are happening in the world of science. Subjects are presented on a basic level.  



OL 107 Exploring Artificial Intelligence Basics: Discovering What AI Is and Is Not – Yet  

June 5, 12, (skip 19), 26  

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.  

Bob Coulson  

AI is in the news a lot, and people are becoming concerned and curious about it, for good reasons. This course introduces the basics of what AI is and is not, yet. The class will help participants become better educated, equipped, empowered and engaged with AI fundamentals. 


OL 108 Leveraging Artificial Intelligence Tools: “How To” Control and Co-Create with AI  

July 10, 17, 24, 31  

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.  

Bob Coulson  

People are tapping into AI’s cool tools and techniques to unleash their passions and creativity. This course leverages AI to co-create courses, books, recipes, poetry, prayers, videos, and more. Mastering AI prompts will boost your knowledge, skills and abilities to control and co-create with AI.  


OL116 The Battle of Fort Blakeley and the Civil War Campaign for Mobile (OLLI Shares) 

June 12 

10:30 am to Noon (One Session) 

Mike Bunn 

On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, some sixteen thousand Union troops launched a bold, coordinated assault on the three-mile-long line of earthworks known as Fort Blakeley. The charge was one of the grand spectacles of the Civil War, the climax of a weeks-long campaign that resulted in the capture of Mobile–the last major Southern city to remain in Confederate hands. This course takes readers into the chaos of those desperate moments along the waters of the storied Mobile-Tensaw Delta and onto Alabama’s largest Civil War battlefield.  


OL 109 Talking About Books  

June 5, 12, (skip 19), 26  

Noon – 1:15 p.m.  

Carol Prickett and Jan Mercier  

Summer and reading go hand-in-hand. Specially designed for readers who are on the go, this hybrid class will meet for our three most popular discussions: “Extravaganza” (swapping recommendations); our fiction selection; our nonfiction selection. The more [books], the merrier!  

June 5 – Extravaganza: What Do You Recommend?  

June 12 Fiction – “Tom Lake” by Ann Patchett  

June 26 Nonfiction – “Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning” by Liz Cheney  


OL 110 Gothic Cathedrals of Europe  

June 5, 12, (skip 19), 26; July 10, 17, 24, 31  

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.  

Dr. Robert Kane  

The Gothic cathedrals of Europe are some of the best-known architectural and religious structures in the world. In general, construction of the earliest cathedrals began between 1000- 1200 and most took over 250 years or more to complete. Many are repositories of art, paintings, stained glass, and wood. 



OL115 Absolute Power and Porcelain (OLLI Shares)  

July 10, 17, 24, 31  

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.  

Ian Crawford  

The history of Enlightenment-era European monarchs’ diplomacy through their dining customs and etiquette. The class will look at timelines and utilize knowledge of material culture, enlightenment philosophy and political power shifts.  


OL 111 How the States Got Their Shapes: Exploring American Historical Geography  

June 5, 12, (skip 19), 26; July 10, 17, 24, 31  

3 – 4:15 p.m.  

Dr. Derrick Griffey  

There is a fascinating interplay between American history and geography. In this course, we will explore the factors that have shaped the boundaries of U.S. states. Natural landmarks, political negotiations, cultural clashes, geographical conflicts, treaties and exploration all influenced the shape of the states.  



 OL 112 Eating for Energy  

June 6  

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.  

Dr. Milady Murphy  

The presenter will discuss foods that have a positive and negative effect on energy and stamina, especially as we age.  


OL 113 Presidential Debates  

June 6, 13, 20, 27; July 11, 18, 25; Aug. 1  

1:30 – 2:45 a.m.  

Keith Robinson  

Many of us tune in to watch presidential debates. When and how did this start? How has their purpose and importance grown and changed throughout U.S. history? How have debates influenced American voters in some key elections?  


OL 114 Art History: European Modernism 1890-1945  

July 11, 18, 25; Aug 1 

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.  

Brooke Laken  

Explore the height of the European modernist movement through the lens of the historical, geographical and cultural context in which they were produced. Emphasis will be placed on content, terminology, design and style.