Carnegie Mellon University

NRC's Osher Online

Osher at CMU is now offering courses presented by the Osher National Resource Center (NRC) and the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University. 

Each NRC Osher Online course will cost $55. (Normal Osher at CMU term registration fees will not apply for these courses.) You must have purchased a 2024 membership for Osher at CMU in order to register for these courses.

To register for the NRC's Osher Online courses, click on Member Sign-In in the right hand corner above, and searching for 1) NRC and all the courses will appear, or 2) by using the ID numbers listed below.

Registration deadline is June 1st, 2024!

Summer 2024 Courses

Click on the titles below to see more information on each course. Use the 4-digit ID's below to search for the courses and register through the Osher at CMU online registration system. 

Registration deadline is June 1st, 2024!

Click here to sign-in and register for NRC's Osher Online Courses

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
6 sessions
starting 7/8/2024, ending 8/12/2024

Join this class to delve into the world of bugs, creepy crawlies, and anything without a backbone. Bugs are interesting, not gross (ok, maybe a little), and understanding their outlook on life can, in turn, change how we perceive the world. Based on biological principles, this course will explore these animals in our lives, society, homes, and even our bodies. Discussions and activities will be a part of every class to more deeply engage in how these creatures go about their lives.

Brian O’Neill is an invertebrate biology professor and community ecologist at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  He has conducted research on a wide variety of invertebrates including: how the invertebrates of rivers of the U.S. Great Plains cope with floods; the food webs of temporary wetland communities in shortgrass prairies; and the ecotoxicology of common agricultural pharmaceuticals on wetland invertebrates.  He has a productive international research initiative aimed at understanding the impact of humans on mammalian wildlife communities in South Africa, Costa Rica, Jordan, and the USA.  His teaching interests include Aquatic Biology, Invertebrate Biology, Community and Introductory Ecology, and Introductory Biology for non-science majors.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
6 sessions
starting 7/11/2024, ending 8/15/2024

American writer James Baldwin (1924-1987) may be best known as an activist and essayist, but he was also a groundbreaking writer of novels and short stories. While he was born 100 years ago, his voice sounds fresh, urgent, and relevant to our evolving understanding of what it means to be American. We will read two of Baldwin’s novels, Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room, in which he explores race, religion and sexuality. We will analyze Baldwin’s unique voice and talent as a writer. Together we will discuss the ways Baldwin uses his fiction to help us understand what connects us as human beings, despite our differences. Prerequisites: Participants should be willing to read and engage with complex texts addressing challenging subjects. Required textbooks (all by James Baldwin): Go Tell It on the Mountain (1952), ISBN: 978-0375701870 and Giovanni's Room (1956), ISBN: 978- 0141032948

Catherine Frank has taught more than 60 original OLLI courses in 24 years, both as a volunteer and as director for OLLI at UNC Asheville. She holds three degrees in English from UNC Chapel Hill where she wrote her dissertation on Thomas Hardy’s poetry. She developed her interest in African American literature on her own but hopes and believes that through literature we can develop understanding for lives we do not live ourselves and by reading together we enhance our ability to understand literature and life.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
6 sessions
starting 7/10/2024, ending 8/14/2024

There are more than 400 parks in the National Park System spanning 11 time zones. Have you ever wondered how a place becomes a park, what it takes to manage a park, or why there are so many different types of parks? Take a behind-the-scenes look at the National Parks as we reveal the laws, regulations, policies, and practices of managing these special places of American nature and history. Explore both famous and lesser-known parks and prepare yourself for your next park visit with a better understanding of fees, costs, lodging and camping opportunities, reservation systems, and best times to visit. National parks are in the news almost every day. Become a national park “insider” by learning more about these memorable places.

Constantine (Costa) Dillon is a retired National Park Service ranger and superintendent who worked in more than a dozen parks in his 35-year. His awards include the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award and the National Parks Conservation Association's Stephen Mather Award. In addition to his time working in parks, Costa was also the Chief of Training and Employee Development for the National Park Service and managed the National Park Service’s Albright Training Center at the Grand Canyon. He has a B.S. in Environmental Planning and Management (Park Option) from the University of California, Davis, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
6 sessions
starting 7/9/2024, ending 8/13/2024

This course will give an introduction to film movements and some of the greatest films made (according to critics…but you can judge for yourself) from the 1920s to the 1960s. We will begin by discussing how and where films were made in the 1920s and how the filmmaking process evolved over the next 40+ years. We will also cover what to look for as you watch the films selected for the course. During weeks 2 through 6, we will watch at least one film during the week, and then during the class session will unpack the film in terms of style, story, filmmaking technique, and impact on society and culture. Over the six weeks of the course you will discover some of the best films made and learn about what makes them great.

Jeremy Fackenthal is an independent filmmaker and nonprofit director. In addition, Jeremy served as Director of the Common Good International Film Festival from 2019 through 2023. After completing a PhD in Philosophy of Religion and Theology from Claremont Graduate University, he began using his philosophical background beyond the academy to raise questions and craft narratives. Jeremy shot and edited a short documentary on spoken word poetry as a means of personal formation for adolescents, and he is currently working on a feature-length documentary. From making films to curating a film festival, Jeremy enjoys films as an art form, a means of expression, and of course as entertainment.

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
6 sessions
starting 7/9/2024, ending 8/13/2024

The women included in this course were practitioners of psychoanalysis and wrote extensively about their work. These women have been selected because of the significance of their thought for psychoanalytic practice. Some of them were ostracized by other psychoanalysts and the importance of their thought may have been neglected, ignored, or forgotten, and their work may have been derogated. We will articulate what is different about the contributions of women to psychoanalytic theory. And we will concentrate on women who were considered important: Karen Horney, Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Ana Maria Rizzuto and others. The goal of this series is to bring out the indisputable contributions of these four women to psychoanalysis and the practice of psychotherapy.

Oliva M. Espín is Professor Emerita in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University and the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant International University.  A native of Cuba, she received her BA in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica and her PhD from the University of Florida, specializing in counseling and therapy with women from different cultures and in Latin American Studies. She has done post-doctoral work at Harvard University with a fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
6 sessions
starting 7/13/2024, ending 8/17/2024

Writer and director Billy Wilder told his cinematic stories for over 50 years. A Jewish émigré from Germany, he brought his considerable talents, creativity, and insight into the human condition to fruition in a prolific career in Hollywood. His films run the gamut – from hard-edged noir thrillers, to intimate exploration of the human psyche, to the fraught nature of personal relationships, to the divine silliness of screwball comedy. His stories are told with verve and a keen sense of history, place, and American culture. He was a proponent of good fiction well told and an adversary of “fancy schmancy” camera work. We will meet Billy Wilder by exploring a variety of his films against the backdrop of the social and cultural movements which informed his body of work, seeking a perspective from a selection of Billy Wilder’s corpus of films as they are risen from and relate to American culture and an appreciation of good cinematic storytelling told by a master. Additional information: Except for the documentary Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood, all films on the syllabus are available to stream from Amazon Prime Video. Some of the films may also be found on other streaming sites. Also, the DVDs may be available to borrow from your local libraries, including the documentary above-mentioned. Films should be viewed prior to the class meeting in which each film will be discussed, if possible. Even if you have seen a film before, please try to watch it again closer to the class session in which it will be discussed.

Roberta Rotman is retired after 16 years at Northwestern University, where she was the Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Radio/TV/Film Department of the School of School of Communication, teaching courses in that department and for the School of Professional Studies. Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania for 13 years, as well as in the Penn-in-London program and at Marymount Manhattan College in New York. Her scholarly work and teaching mainly focus on the transformation of literary works into the visual and performing arts of film and theatre. This emphasis flows from her earlier work as a professional actor in Chicago and her graduate degree in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Her interests also include the portrayal on film of other forms of media and the cultural implications of those views over time. In her research she has explored novel-to-film translation, audience reception of plays in performance, dramatization of history on screen and stage, cross-dressing and gender bending in film and theatre, and the tension between text and music in the early English opera libretto.

Overview and Purpose of NRC's Osher Online

Osher Online is a shared program exclusively for members of select Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLIs) from around the country.  This collaboration between the Osher National Resource Center and the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University presents lecture and discussion-style courses over four academic terms – fall, winter, spring, and summer. The purpose of the NRC’s Osher Online program is to share quality online courses and occasional special community events with local Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes aka OLLIs. It is not meant to replace or compete with the excellent online courses presented by our Osher at CMU program, it is to provide added content for our curriculum.

Sharing of Online Resources

Throughout the pandemic, many OLLI staff and members asked for ways to collaborate with other Osher Institutes. A variety of programs were offered by some Institutes to others in the network. Some smaller groups of OLLIs shared limited online programming. Those that did partner enjoyed successes and the camaraderie of meeting one another’s members on a wider scale. But they also learned there are complications along with the rewards of partnering. Complications included timing (time zones, differing term start and end dates, differing lengths of courses) and pricing (each OLLI sets their own membership and course fee prices). The NRC Osher Online sought to find the right compromises in these varied differences for a sustainable model of shared content. 

Important Details

While you will register for the NRC’s Online courses in our registration system, as you do for all your courses, the NRC team will handle everything else.  They will provide the Zoom codes, training, help, and answer all questions.  A special HELP email address and phone number is provided below!

To cover the costs of producing the courses, the NRC is charging a material fee per course and Osher at CMU is adding a small amount to cover our administrative costs.  Each NRC’s Osher Online course will cost $55 per course. This fee is separate from your membership fee and term registration fee.  If you only want to take these online courses, you will not have to pay the $60.00 term registration fee.  If you want to take both an NRC course and an Osher at CMU course (whether in person and/or on Zoom you will pay the registration fee of $60.00 in addition to the NRC’s material fees).   Everyone participating MUST be a 2024 Osher at CMU member.

The NRC program will run over four terms: winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Because the term dates do not coincide with our three terms, the NRC’s Osher Online courses will be found on the bottom of this page and in the registration system by typing in NRC.  The courses will not be listed in our term catalogs.  This will help keep our online courses separated from the NRC’s Osher Online courses.  Registration for NRC’s courses will vary from our registrations.

Each NRC’s Osher Online course is scheduled to run for six consecutive weeks and last for 90 minutes.  Most courses will be held in the afternoon, evening, or on Saturday. 

The NRC will provide 15 seats per Osher institute for each lecture style course and five for each discussion group. It is important to go onto the waiting list should someone drop if the class limit has been reached.  Registration opportunities for these courses will close about two weeks before the course start date.

Once registration is closed, Osher at CMU will provide the class roster to the NRC.  The NRC will then email the confirmation back to each student and provide a username and password so the student can access their course information, including handouts and communications with the study leaders, on the NRC’s online course website.

If you start the course and decide it isn’t for you, you may drop the course two days before the second class starts to get a full refund.  This policy is different from the Osher at CMU drop policy which can be found in our catalogs.  For our courses, a drop has to be three full business days before the start of the first class. 

Every now and then a program will be offered that is open and free to all of our members.  Watch for advertisements in the WE and on our website. 

Registration for NRC's Osher Online Courses is now open!

After visiting the NRC’s Osher Online page on our website to learn about each of the term course offerings, click on the link for the Osher at CMU’s registration account (where you register for all of your courses) and register for the NRC’s Osher Online course(s) you wish to take.  You MUST have paid your 2024 membership to register for these courses.

Another way to see all of the courses offered by the NRC can also be found by typing in NRC in the “go search bar” in our registration system.  To register you’ll use the class ID to register as you would for any Osher at CMU course.

After you are registered, you will receive an email confirmation from Osher at CMU and later, as stated above, a confirmation from the NRC’s Osher Online Team with information on how to login to their portal at for your course(s). You'll access your course and the Zoom meeting from within that portal.   You will also be sent an invitation to attend a NRC’s Osher Online orientation before the course starts.

What if there is a problem?

For all inquiries, you will need to contact the NRC’s Osher Online team via e-mail at or by phone at (312) 503-5555.

The Osher at CMU office will not be able to help with any issues regarding any of the NRC’s Osher Online Courses.

Code of Conduct

Like Osher at CMU the NRC’s Osher Online program also has expectations of their students.  The program is an environment where all are welcome, treated equally, and included in the learning community. It aims to foster a positive learning environment that deepens social connection and contributes to a rigorous and invigorating academic discourse.  Comments shared within class are voiced in an intellectually honest, professional manner conducive to promoting discourse and expanding understanding.  

Members, instructors, and staff are expected to interact with each other with civility and respect, recognizing that disagreement and informed debate are valued in an academic community. Demeaning, intimidating, threatening, or violent behaviors are not tolerated. Such behavior could result in removal of a student or instructor from the class and/or the Osher Online program.