Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke seeks to engage the minds, elevate the spirit and foster the wellbeing of our members through a wide range of educational programs and opportunities for volunteer service and social activities. We embrace Duke University’s commitment to community service and lifelong learning through our collaborative work with academic and professional groups, retirement communities, various research projects on aging, and other institutes for learning in retirement. OLLI’s efforts to move programming online received national recognition in The New York Times and Next Avenue.

We are a learning community of nearly 1600 members. Some of our members grew up in Durham, but many have moved here from all over the country. Now that we are online, Duke Alumni are joining from across the world. OLLI members have a wide range of interests and passions and enjoy attending lectures and performances on campus and online

We offer close to 160 online courses annually including art and architecture, public policy, health and wellness, hands on art, history, literature, and the sciences.



Our courses conform to an arts and sciences curriculum and are planned by a thirty-member curriculum committee, on the basis of member requests, the expertise of instructors, variety, and balance.  OLLI instructors are a mix of peer teachers, professors from Duke and nearby universities, graduate and postdoctoral students, independent scholars, and community experts.

OLLI classes are all about the love of learning. There are no tests or grades. Participation is essential, ranging from keeping up with assigned readings, contributing to class discussion, and sharing the results of one’s own research. Currently, all OLLI classes are held online using Duke University's Zoom account. Classes typically meet once per week for 75 minutes; class times are 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. Fall and winter terms classes last 10 weeks; spring term last 6 weeks. Please check the detailed course descriptions for exceptions.

If you have an idea for a class or know of someone who would make a great OLLI teacher, please contact the curriculum committee at curriculum@olliatduke.org.

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There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

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Becoming a member of OLLI is easy. As of August 2nd, annual membership dues are $50 (payable when you first sign up for courses). Memberships are good for the academic year. You must be a member of OLLI to take classes and attend social activities. If you do not have a current membership or new to OLLI, our new 2021-2022 membership is available starting July 1, 2021 and is good through June 30, 2022. Please Note: If you purchased a membership during Spring 2021 registration, your membership is good until June 30, 2022. Membership dues are nonrefundable.

All courses are priced individually and are listed in the course descriptions. 

There are two ways to purchase an OLLI at Duke Membership:

  • Automatically during registration: If you have been a member, but your membership has expired, our online registration system will automatically add a new membership to your cart when you enroll in courses.
  • From this website: Click on this link to add a 2021 - 2022 Membership to your cart. Note: if you purchased a membership between March 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021, your membership will remain active through June 30, 2022.
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Online Learning Fall 2021 Term registration:

OLLI members registering for classes held on Monday, and Tuesday will register on day one of Registration – Tuesday, August 24 at 9:00 am.

OLLI members registering for classes held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will register on day two of Registration – Wednesday, August 25 at 9:00 am.

Note: Most Online Learning courses have capacity for more than 100 participants, we do not expect many waitlists. It's not critical to log on exactly at 9 am to register unless you are interested in registering for courses with limited enrollment. Maximum enrollment limits can be found on the course’s profile page or in the catalog.

Members must register for courses using the Duke Continuing Studies’ website. There are three ways to find your course. 

  • Search Courses Link: If you know the Course Name or Course ID click here to do an Advanced Course Search. This is the most direct way to find your course. Click on the link to the course and “add to Cart”. Then follow steps to check out.
  • By Day of the Week or by Category: Go to learnmore.duke.edu, click on “Osher Lifelong Learning,” click the down-triangle labeled “Show” under “Courses,” and click on the tab “View by day” or “View by category.” Click on the course title to get to the course page, click on “Add to Cart,” and follow steps to checkout.
  • Search Box: You may also enter the course number or part of the title into the search box that appears on every page at the top right, under the shopping cart symbol. (Do not include section numbers when searching). This will search the entire site and may also retrieve results from the .pdf version of the course catalog. Click on the appropriate link for the course, click on “Add to Cart,” and follow steps to checkout. Please note: Since this is a Google search box refreshed by Google, it may not have the most up-to-date information.


All courses are priced individually and listed in the course descriptions with the specific dollar amount (e.g., "Fee: $70").

Members who enroll in courses must register for classes/membership and pay online via credit card. OLLI staff is working remotely and we are unable to register members by phone or accept paper registration forms.

Refund Policy

If you wish to drop a course and request a refund, please email kathy.parrish@duke.edu and request a drop within five business days following the first class of the course. After that time, no refunds will be issued except in the event of an emergency, at the discretion of OLLI at Duke Staff. There will be a $20 service charge per course dropped unless the course is $50 or less, then the service charge is $10 per course. To avoid the service fee, you can request to transfer to a new class. If the new course costs more, you will be charged for the difference.

OLLI at Duke reserves the right to cancel a course or event due to inclement weather, insufficient enrollment, or circumstances beyond our control; refunds will be made automatically and no charges will be incurred by members. Please note: membership dues, special events, and workshops are non-refundable.

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Activities & Special Interest Groups

Activities are an integral part of the OLLI program, providing opportunities to learn and socialize outside the classroom. For questions regarding activities such as Special Events or Workshops, please email olli@duke.edu.

Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an added bonus to membership with OLLI at Duke. These groups and clubs provide opportunities to connect outside the classroom. If you want to find out more about any of the listed groups, please contact the designated coordinator for that activity. For general questions about SIGs, please contact Kathy.Parrish@duke.edu.

Many SIGs are currently meeting via Zoom. SIGs that are inactive are listed as on hiatus(*).

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All OLLI events are in Eastern Time (ET). Please read carefully as all dates are subject to change.

When Event
Fall 2021

Tuesday, August 10

Courses live online. PDF available August 11

Tuesday, August 24

Registration for Fall courses begins at 9:00 a.m. 

-For classes held on Monday, or Tuesday

Wednesday, August 25

Registration for Fall courses begins at 9:00 a.m. 

-For classes held on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

Thursday, September 9

Meet & Greet for New OLLI members at 2:00pm via Zoom

Monday, September 13

Fall Online Courses start

Thursday September 16

No classes, Yom Kippur

Friday, November 19

Fall Online Classes end

Monday-Friday, November, 22-26

OLLI Office closed for Thanksgiving break, No classes

Monday- Friday, November 29 - December 3

Make up days for classes

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Volunteer Opportunities

Class Moderators for Fall 2021

Are you interested in helping with the OLLI Fall courses? If so, consider serving as a Class Moderator. The moderator’s primary role is to assist the instructor. Often they monitor the Zoom chat for the instructor or call on people who have virtual hands raised. They also assist in welcoming students and introduce the instructor on the first day of class. Given their important role, moderators do not pay for the course they are moderating. If you think you would enjoy this role, please email the chair of the curriculum committee, Beth Anderson at olliatdukecurrcom@gmail.com.


Board Service
We welcome both new and longtime members to become part of the leadership of OLLI at Duke. Serving on the Board of Advisors, either as an elected office or an at-large advisor, or a committee chair, offers you the opportunity to use your talents, and contribute to the success of the OLLI at Duke community.

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Members & Leadership

Who is OLLI at Duke?

All adults with a passion for learning are welcome. Our members include people from all walks of life, from educators to lawyers, from essential workers to doctors, and from native Durhamites to new arrivals. We believe such a rich and diverse mix of backgrounds and interests makes the classroom discussion even more interesting. In this relaxed and congenial atmosphere, our goal is to deepen our understanding of the world around us through study and discussion, to rekindle former interests and discover new ones with no grades or tests. Our members share a passion for learning and all the benefits of keeping mind and body active and engaged.

OLLI at Duke is a learning community where you can enjoy daytime courses, good conversation, and the companionship of peers. In addition to outstanding instructors, being a member of this community offers you access to a broad range of intellectual and cultural activities.

OLLI at Duke is a cooperative venture and we rely on the contributions and participation, both in class and out, of our members. Our members teach classes, coordinate lecture series, lead small-group discussions, serve on the Board of Advisors, and committees. We invite you to join us.

Founded in 1977 as a joint venture of Duke University Continuing Education and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, DILR/OLLI has grown from its 42 original members over 1500, and offers 40 to 60 courses each term.


OLLI at Duke operates under the auspices of Duke Continuing Studies and Summer Session.  We are a member-led organization with our own Board of Advisors, bylaws, and committees. OLLI at Duke is managed by a Director, an Operations/Administrative Assistant, a Technical/Communications Assistant, and several part-time staff, who are employees of Duke Continuing Studies.  

The Board of Advisors consist of the President, the Vice President, the Immediate Past President, the chairs of the standing committees, the At-Large Advisors, the Board’s Recording Secretary (ex-officio).

We are always looking for people to help with events and committees.  If you would like to talk to someone about volunteering at OLLI, or if you have ideas for a new activity or improvements to an existing program, please contact a staff member via email at olli@duke.edu.

2020-2021 Officers (one-year term, elected at annual meeting)

Acting President: Marion Jervay
Vice President: Alan Teasley

At-Large Advisors (two-year term)

Term Ending 2022: Sue Dennison, Chris Abrons
Term Ending 2021: Bobbie Hendrix, Ben Edwards

Committee Chairs (one-year term, appointed by President)

Community Engagement: Diane Hundley
Curriculum: Beth Anderson
Instructor Relations: Howard Koslow
Information Technology: Howard Koslow
Legacy: Lisa Gabriel
Leadership Development: Alan Teasley
Member Engagement: Vacant
Social Activities & Hospitality: Vacant
Space: Peter Blaufeux

Ex-Officio Board members:

Board Recording Secretary: Virginia Lee
Director: Chris McLeod


Director: Chris McLeod, JD
Operations/Administrative:  Kathy Parrish
Technical/Communication: Betina Huntwork
Staff Representatives: Beth Bowling, Jo Ann Dubberley, Annette Gooch, Jay Starks, Mary Thompson,  Beverly Thorpe

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Staying in Touch

OLLI at Duke keeps members informed and connected to the program in a number of ways.

OLLI at Duke's staff send out an OLLI Newsletter to the membership to inform them of upcoming events, special workshops and course registration details. Please click here to sign up for Newsletters 

Member Website

The member website is currently under construction: OLLI at Duke maintains a members website (olliatduke.org) designed to keep members up to date on available courses, scheduled events, activities, and items of interest. 

Online Learning Website

In response to Covid-19, OLLI at Duke has created a site to host information about Online Learning activities. This site provides Zoom how-to guides, requests for technical assistance, and information on the current Online Learning term. Please vist: https://www.olliatduke.online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Zoom link to my class?

Once you have registered for your course, you will be able to log into the student portal to see the information about your class. For detailed directions click here.

How do I request a catalog?

A viewable PDF of the OLLI catalog is posted on learnmore.duke.edu and a full listing of current OLLI courses can be found under the Course tab of this website. We are not distributing printed copies of the catalog at this time. For more information, please visit Online Learning programming.

How do I add, drop, or get a refund for an OLLI class?

Please email Kathy Parrish at kathy.parrish@duke.edu to find out more about dropping, adding, and refunds. Details about refunds can be found under the Registration heading of this website.

How long does my membership last?

Membership follows the academic calendar and runs from September through June. Those who join for the short spring term (beginning in April) will be enrolled for the entire following academic year. Please see the membership section of this website for more information on membership.

Is my course recorded?

OLLI records selected Zoom courses each term, based on course size and other factors Recordings are made available just to students enrolled in that course. If a course is recorded, it is noted in the course description. By registering for the course and remaining in class after the disclosure has been read, you are agreeing to your participation to be recorded.

Can I register and enroll in a course and only watch the recordings?

Yes, you can. Recorded courses are listed in the catalog. By registering for the course you will receive all emails and communication from the instructor(s). Recordings are available in the learnmore student portal.

Is OLLI at Duke going to continue online courses after the pandemic is over?

Yes! We are working very hard to build an online learning program that is sustainable in the long term. Even when OLLI receives permission to hold in-person classes again, we will continue offering a large selection of online courses.

I live far away from Duke and Durham. Can I take a course?

Yes! Currently, all of OLLI’s courses are online via Zoom. Because of the pandemic, we are able to reach Duke Alumni and others from across the country and internationally. Last Year, we had more than 100 members from outside of North Carolina, including Los Angeles and London. All course times listed are Eastern Time.

I’m having tech issues. Are there helpful hints?

Please refer to our Online Learning website for more details and helpful hints, tips, and tricks for Zoom www.olliatduke.online.

I can’t get into my student portal. HELP!

Before you contact the office, please try reestablishing your password or user name. Here are the steps:

  1. Please go to student login: https://learnmore.duke.edu/portal/logon.do?method=load
  2. On the left side of the site click, in the “I have an account” section, enter your user name (e.g., Xnnnnn). If you forgot your user name, click on “Forgot User Name” to recover it.
  3. If you forgot your password, click on “Forgot Password”. This will open a page that prompts you to enter your user name and then click continue.
  4. In a minute, you will get an e-mail directing you to click on a link to a secure site to set your password.
  5. Visit that link and set the password.

Once you are done, you can go back to log in and use the new password to log-in.

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All courses are currently being taught online via Zoom. Links to classes can be found in the Student Portal by logging in at the top right of this website.

This Fall, OLLI is planning to host some social events and SIG meetings at the Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd. Durham, NC, 27705. Please join our Newsletter Mailing list for more information on in-person events.

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