Kevin M. Connaughton is the Manager of Adult Learning for the National Resource Center for Osher Institutes (Osher NRC) at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. His work with the Osher NRC focuses on instructional design, digital learning development, media creation, and content development. Additionally, Kevin has over 15 years of experience in higher education; previous roles included faculty, administration, training, instructional design, and consulting roles. He holds a Master of Education degree from St. Xavier University and Master of Fine Art degree from Governor’s State University. Kevin is also an exhibiting artist, showing work in numerous galleries throughout the country.
Videoconferencing as a tool for later life learning
Harry Belsey is a graduate of the University of London and a retired management consultant, with a background in IT and the oil industry, who worked abroad for much of his career. His first major overseas project was as planning engineer for construction of an offshore sea island at the Kharg Island tanker terminal, Iran, and his last was as programme director of a set of projects to transform the Romanian State Oil Company, Petrom, into a modern western oil company in the European Union. In between, he undertook a number of non-oil-related consulting assignments for the EU as well as an assignment for BP in Cleveland, Ohio. In retirement, Harry has led courses and activities for the University of the 3rd Age in Cambridge, England, including long-running courses on military history and current affairs. Two years ago, he became U3AC’s project leader for investigating potential uses of Internet technology by the organization. He currently moderates a 100% “virtual” current affairs study group (i.e., with all participants at their home computers) for U3AC members in the Cambridge area and manages the UK’s participation in the monthly transatlantic discussion forum and Economist readers groups. He has given several presentations to North American audiences by videoconference and will be participating by the same means in the Global Conference on Ageing workshop from his home in the village of Brinkley in rural Cambridgeshire.
Belsey , H.
Irwin Kuzmarov, M.D., has been a urologic surgeon in Montreal, Canada, for 33 years, specializing in prostate cancer, urologic trauma and erectile dysfunction. His titles before retiring included Assistant Professor of Surgery (Urology), McGill University; Senior Urologist at the Lakeshore General Hospital; and Director of Professional Services (general manager) of the Santa Cabrini Hospital. He is a past president of the Quebec Urologic Association, and a co-founder of a group of amateur musicians that play at hospitals, seniors’ residences and long-term care centres. His experience with videoconferencing goes back to the 1980s, when he used the technology as it existed at the time to provide medical service to isolated communities in northern Quebec. On joining McGill Community for Lifelong Learning and becoming President in 2018, Dr. Kuzmarov supported equipping a classroom to livestream talks to home-bound and vacationing members and to allow them to participate remotely in study group discussions. He is currently leading a research study into how Internet videoconferencing can be used to serve homebound older adults in the broader community.
Frank Nicholson holds a PhD in history from the University of Toronto and an MBA in public administration from York University. He pursued a career as a senior policy advisor in the Ontario public service for 27 years before leaving to become director of government relations for a professional association. When he retired nine years ago, Frank joined Toronto’s later-life learning movement as a volunteer in various roles in three organizations, including serving on the IT/AV committees and delivering a dozen in-class “active learning” (seminar-style) courses. Five years ago, Frank became aware of the feasibility of using Internet videoconferencing for later-life learning. He formed a provincial working group that has several dozen joint learning events with colleagues across Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Linda Tu holds a PhD in Applied Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and a BSc from the University of Wales. She has taught at Toronto’s Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) and has also had a career in programming and systems design. Since retiring, she has been active in later-life learning organizations, serving as president of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at the University of Toronto, where she continues to facilitate two workshops – Web of Natural Science and Economist Readers – as she has done for more than 20 years. She has also offered several lecture series in the sciences for the LIFE Institute at Ryerson University. Currently, she hosts the University Lecture Series at the University of Toronto and chairs an on-going series of monthly current affairs videoconference discussions among Canadian, British and American later-life learners.
Maria Chester was born in Argentina and has lived and worked in other Latin American countries but has resided in Burnmouth, Scottish Borders, in the United Kingdom since 2003. Multilingual, Maria is Secretary General of AIUTA, the International Association of Universities of the Third Age, which has its headquarters in Toulouse, France. In that capacity, she is responsible for organizing AIUTA’s international conferences, including the most recent one, held in Sherbrooke, Quebec, in May this year Maria is also a member of the International Committee of Britain’s Third Age Trust, the umbrella organization for the 1,000+ U3As in the United Kingdom, and serves as the Trust’s national advisor on American archaeology. She holds a degree in fine arts and art history from the University of Buenos Aires and is an accredited lecturer with the Arts Society in London, England. She lectures widely on arts and archeology in the UK and has delivered lectures by videoconference to North American audiences.
Kevin Connaughton, National Resource Center for Osher Institutes, United States
Irwin Kuzmarov, McGill Community for Lifelong Learning, Canada
Frank Nicholson, Ontario Later-Life Learning Videoconferencing Working Group, Canada
Maria Chester, International Association of Universities of the Third Age, United Kingdom*
Harry Belsey, University of the Third Age Cambridge, United Kingdom*
Linda Tu, Academy for Lifelong Learning, Canada*
Note. The presenters marked with an asterisk (*) will participate by videoconference.
The purpose of this workshop is to update conference attendees on the uses that “later-life,” “third-age” or “lifelong” learning programs in Canada, Britain and the United States are making of Internet-based videoconferencing to help older adults maintain mental acuity. The uses include:
- Bringing out-of-town and foreign speakers into lecture halls
- Livestreaming talks to members at multiple meeting venues
- Enabling members to participate in sessions while travelling
- Livestreaming talks to home-bound members/non-members
- Mounting “virtual” study groups (everyone at their home computer)
- Facilitating interactions with colleagues in other countries
- Conducting seminars to reinforce learnings from massive open online courses (MOOCs)
- Helping peer learners practice their presentations.
- Providing computer-literacy instruction
- Holding travel-free committee meetings
The recent technological and other changes that have made these advances possible will be explained. The workshop will open with a word of welcome from the International Association of Universities of the Third Age. This will be followed by a presentation from the Osher Institute National Resource Center in Chicago on the results of its recent study of online learning offered by the 124 OLLIs in the United States.
Presenters from Cambridge (UK), Montreal and Toronto will then describe current uses of technology by third-age learning organizations in Britain and Canada, including the twice-a-month tri-national discussions of world issues by videoconference. Time will be reserved at the end of the session for discussion among the panelists and questions from the audience.
The participation of three of the presenters by videoconference rather than by being physically present in the meeting room will provide a dramatic demonstration of the possibilities of the technology.
Workshop participants wanting to learn more will be offered the opportunity to participate in “how-to” sessions (equipment, software, costs, etc.) held in the weeks following the conference.