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Free Quarterly Lectures at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington

For many Washingtonians 50 and older, virtual experiences for enrichment and entertainment offer safety and flexibility. One experience offering all of these things is the fully online and live-stream programming from Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington.

When the coronavirus pandemic descended in early 2020, OLLI-UW lost half of its membership due to cancelations. OLLI-UW leaders responded quickly and brought all 10 of their in-person courses online for the first time … and they never looked back.

“This sudden pivot to remote learning brought with it a silver lining,” says OLLI-UW Director Natalie Lecher. Online classes enabled programs to scale to over 45 learners on Zoom from 20 people per in-person class. It also expanded the classroom from the physical footprint of the Puget Sound to connected computers in home offices and living rooms throughout Washington state.

Another benefit to the virtual classroom experience is that members get more “face time” with UW professors. “While the in-person format meant occasional scheduling conflicts, virtual meetings has meant UW professors have more flexibility to join and lecture,” says Lecher. “This increased participation of UW subject matter experts has boosted course quality.”

OLLI-UW has yet to make a formal announcement but Lecher is hopeful that in-person classes will resume in 2022. However, a Zoom option “will remain forever,” Lecher says.

A free quarterly lecture is a great way to try out the program before becoming a member. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Taiwan’s Global (Re)emergence amidst US-China Tensionwill be presented by Taiwan historian James Lin on Wednesday, July 14from 12:00 – 1:00 PM.

Examples of OLLI-UW courses open for registration include: Actors and Writers Take the Stage, The New Testament, Time to Sketch and Canterbury Tales.

OLLI-UW membership is $35, and courses range from $35-$135, with most courses costing less than $50. Register for an online OLLI-UW course here and email: or call (206) 685-6549 for more information.


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