SCANS seniors' college association of nova scotia
Continue your life-long learning by joining the Seniors’ College Association of Nova Scotia, a volunteer-based registered non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable non-credit academic courses to seniors (age 50+) in Nova Scotia. Courses are for your learning enjoyment, without tests or assignments. Membership entitles you to enrol in any number of the 60+ courses offered per year, subject to class size limitations. It also allows you to participate in further developing this dynamic learning organization. Classes are offered in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Chester, Liverpool, Mahone Bay, and Truro. More about SCANS
Thecourse information session of September 9, 2020. Instructors: Patricia McMullen, David McNeil, Tony Schellinck, Angus Smith, Michael MacMillan (left to right) Organizers: Lois Block, Anne Chisholm, Joan Hicks, Jocelyne Hellou (left to right)
PRESIDENT'S Newsletter - JULY 2020
Summer 2020 Dear Seniors’ College Members, Thank you for your enthusiastic support of our virtual lecture held on June 25th. Congratulations are in order to the guest lecturer, Tony Schellinck, and to the Seniors’ College Tech Team, Bob Russell, Bill Li and John Stewart for producing a successful “trial run”. We also thank you for your helpful feedback and suggestions for improvement. Please be assured that we will be addressing the audio and question and answer issues we had. We will also endeavor to provide clearer instructions. We appreciate your understanding that we are trying to reach out to our members as best we can in these trying and uncertain times. For those of you who may have missed the lecture, a recording is available by clicking this link. If you have any issues contact Sue Hawkes at firstname.lastname@example.org We do share your preference, as so many of you stated in the feedback form, to be able to meet in person. Nonetheless, as you can appreciate, our prime concern at this time is the health and safety of our members. As seniors, we all have to take special care because we are at greater risk for more serious complications from the COVID- 19 virus. The likelihood of a second wave in the fall and winter months is looming over us. Moreover, we have all witnessed the difficulty of ensuring and enforcing social distancing in larger group gatherings. As well, the Seniors’ College liability insurance does not provide us with coverage for pandemics. As a consequence, we believe that an online alternative, with webinars and Zoom classes, is the only option currently available to us. For all these reasons, we passed a resolution at our last board meeting on June 22 that for the fall term, we will be offering classes via Zoom only. These classes will not be chapter specific but will be offered and available to all of our members. The Seniors’ College will not be hosting in-person gatherings of any kind during the fall term.
You may also recall that we had to postpone our Annual General Meeting that was to be held on March 28. We are currently considering an abbreviated AGM to be held in the next several months via Zoom and we will keep you informed. You will also be hearing about the fall term courses sometime in early August, so please stay tuned!
We wish you a happy, healthy and safe summer.
Best wishes, Lois Block, on behalf of the Seniors’ College Board of Directors.
PRESIDENT'S NEWSLETTER - JUNE 2020
Spring 2020 Dear Seniors’ College Members, In our last newsletter we promised to keep you informed on plans for how we might proceed with the delivery of courses. The Board met again on May 20, and after an update by Curriculum Committee Chair Anne Chisholm, and a presentation by Bob Russell, a member of the tech team, the following decisions were made: 1). In all likelihood, given the social distancing restrictions, we will not be able to hold classes as usual in the fall of 2020. Therefore, we should continue to work on the presentation of virtual classes to Seniors’ College members. 2). Members of the Curriculum Committee will continue their work on finding the right format for presenting courses virtually, and finding instructors who are willing and able to present classes in that chosen format. I am happy to report that much progress has been made since then. Members of the tech team, Bill Li, Bob Russell and John Stewart have explored many options and have found Zoom to be the appropriate format for us. Zoom is a widely used video conferencing application. It allows you to interact with others if in-person classes are not possible and enables you to feel more connected. The team will be running tests on this application in the next two weeks.
Tony Schellinck has kindly agreed to offer a special lecture which will be held via Zoom and presented to all our members, following the tests. This special lecture will be held later this month. You will be receiving an announcement by email, and the announcement will also be posted on our website. You will also receive instructions on how to watch the lecture on Zoom. Your feedback following the lecture will be very important to us so that necessary changes can be made and we will be ready for the presentation of classes in the fall term. Members of the Curriculum Committee, and in particular HRM Faculty Coordinators Joan Hicks and Jocelyne Hellou, and Mahone Bay Chapter Chair Fern Jordan, have been and continue to be actively engaged in finding instructors/courses for the fall term. Together with the tech team they have been working long and hard in planning for how we can proceed since the announcement of the cancellation of classes in the spring. We are very appreciative of all their efforts. We are moving in uncharted waters in these difficult times. There are many challenges and many complexities as we move toward the virtual presentation of courses. We have asked Sue Hawkes, our Office Manager and an experienced Project Manager, to manage and coordinate all the efforts and tasks performed by members of the Curriculum Committee. This will ensure a timely result and our readiness for the fall. As you probably know from what you may have already watched virtually, or heard from others, the virtual world is not a perfect one. Things happen despite everyone’s best efforts. We ask for your patience as we move forward, and count on your continued support. Best wishes, and please stay safe, Lois, on behalf of the Seniors’ College Board of Directors As promised, see below for Reading and Viewing suggestions from our members From Barbara
From Norm Pinsky – Reading Suggestions Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible
From Dave I came across a lecture on YouTube called "1177 BC: The Year that Civilization Collapsed" that greatly impresssed me on history from Integration of archeology and use of pollen paleontology botany lectures relate me too), along with early written histories. We had looked at art from that time with Dee Appleby as well, all merging into personal past readings. This fits well as a reminder of our vulnerability aside from that man-made. I did wonder how many lectures are available already that we may be directed to. The AGS has now gone that route with online geology lectures. Yuval Harari's Sapiens was a recent read of interest as well for variety of perspectives. I have some rock fossils dating back to 500MY plus, so his time coverage is comparably recent, effectively a Glacial Era up to 15,000 years back in our region and greater Canada. From Anonymous If anyone wants an ideal author to read in these troubled times, they should try anything by P.G. Wodehouse (Jeeves and Bertie Wooster are my favorite characters of his). Keep well and safe and, as Queen Elizabeth said in her recent broadcast "we will meet again".
PRESIDENT'S NEWSLETTER - APRIL 2020
Dear Seniors’ College Members,
We hope this finds you all keeping well and adjusting to social distancing. These are not easy times for those of us who love to be out and with and among others. Our social lives are so important to us as many of you noted in our Membership Survey. We wanted to let you know that the Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on April 20 via Zoom, the go- to video conferencing tool being widely used right now. It was our first virtual meeting, and I must say, a very successful one. It was almost like being there! We discussed what the alternatives might be if, as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions, we were unable to hold the fall term in our usual fashion. Anne Chisholm, who has replaced Heather Schellinck as Curriculum Committee Committee Chair, was tasked with exploring our options with members of the Curriculum Committee. These options include, of course, holding virtual classes. Several members of the Committee are already assessing different video conferencing tools. Anne will report back to the Board when the Curriculum Committee is ready to make recommendations for how we could proceed. We will keep you informed as to our progress.
In the meantime, many of us are resorting to pastimes such as reading, viewing, and trying out new recipes or just walking around the block . Our Board members would like to share some recommendations with you, as you will see below. Recipes are included below, please click on links. We would, of course, love to hear what you’ve been reading, viewing, or cooking or baking . Please feel free to send in your recommendations to SCANSinfo@gmail.com. Sue will compile a list, and we will send your fellow members’ recommendations to you.
We miss seeing you. Please stay well and stay safe.
Warm regards, Lois , on behalf of the Seniors’ College Board of Directors
RECOMMENDATIONS Colin: James Joyce’s “Dubliners” for budding short story writers, and Thomas Picketty’s “Capital, in the 21wt century” (700 + pages) and his latest, “Capital and Ideology” (1100+pages).
Carol: I would recommend “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles in any situation but it is a perfect book for staying inside. In 1922, a 30-year-old Russian aristocrat is placed under a lifetime house arrest inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. He is moved from a luxurious, heirloom filled suite to a small attic room leaving many of his possessions behind. Russian history, politics and culture form the background for intrigue, philosophy, romance, mystery, family, friendships, food, music and more. Beautiful writing!
Anne: My recommendation is a book: The Nine Lives of Charolette Taylor by Sally Armstrong. Sally, a well known advocate for the rights of women and girls around the world, especially in Afghanistan, has written several books on that subject. This book is different. Written as a novel, it is about Charlotte Taylor, one of Sally’s ancestors, and her contribution to the early development on northern New Brunswick. The woman led an amazing life. It is an older book but available on Kindle and on Indigo as well as in paper form from both Amazon and Chapters. I just heard that the CBC is showing the movie Brooklyn on Movie Night in Canada their replacement for Hockey Night in Canada. It is a wonderful movie and is no longer in theatres so this is a wonderful opportunity to see it. https://mobilesyrup.com/2020/03/17/cbc-gem-movie-night-incanada-covid-19/
Peter: I would recommend the Netflix 3 hour series called Pandemic. It was completed in 2019 and just released this year so its very timely.
John: Discovered mystery writer Philip Kerr just before the libraries closed. His mystery books, many based in Berlin around detective Bernie Gunther, cover years from 1920s1950s and the political and economic changes of the time. I am watching on TV (Netflix) “Fauda”, an Israeli TV series set in the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. Season 3 is just out.
Lois: I would recommend watching the Netflix documentary “There’s Something in the Water” about environmental racism in Nova Scotia. It is directed by Ellen Page. I would also recommend “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool”, another Netflix documentary.
Virginia: We are watching the “Mysteries of the Abandoned” series on the Cottage Life Channel. I believe that the show is also running on other channels, such as Bell Aliant Channel 267 or 515. I have also been doing “empty the freezer” cooking. I take an item from the freezer then google for a new simple recipe which uses my existing pantry items. If it is a success, I put it in a binder entitled COVID-19 recipes.
Linda: Here are a couple of things I have watched and enjoyed: Hillary. (Netflix documentary) Unorthodox. (Netflix, loosely based on the memoir) Succession. (HBO 2 seasons, should come with a warning for language.) Great modern day Shakespearean story of a truly vile powerful dynasty. Dirty Money on Netflix See Linda’s family favourite recipe for Lentil Soup.
Barbara: Reading books I have never read before or re-reading other classics by authors like: D.H Lawrence, Somerset Maugham, Jane Austen. I am writing a novel, and continuing a suspended Memoir project of scanning family photos on to a USB and writing short descriptions or stories connected to them. I have organized an online writing group ( following one from a SCANS course) sharing our stories every two weeks- and critiquing. Heather: My recommendation for the newsletter is to decide to work on that second language that you always wished that you had continued from high school or never had a chance to try at all. French, Italian, German, Japanese or Mandarin Chinese just for starters. Sadly, Icelandic is not available but you can search other sites for more exotic options. Icelandic is available at icelandiconline.com Duolingo is a free application that you can access online by typing duolingo.com into your browser (e.g. where it says search or enter website name when you open Google). I have been reviewing my French. It starts out very easy and very gradually progresses to more difficult material. It is quite repetitive but this method surely makes you feel "tres intelligente" as you move along.
Judy: My favourite book is “No Great Mischief” by Alastair MacLeod. Every sentence is perfect. Stratford us broadcasting some of its’ best plays through their website for free. Go to:: stratfordfestival.ca
SCANS RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
MARCH 16, 2020
Dear Seniors’ College Members,
All Seniors’ College Classes and Events Cancelled or Postponed
All Membership Renewals Will Be Extended by One term
We want to inform you that the Seniors’ College Board of Directors met today to decide how we as an organization should proceed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been, as we all know, a moving target. When the board meeting was called several days ago, COVID -19 had not yet been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Indeed it seems that matters pertaining to the virus change hourly.
Many authoritative sources, including The World Health Organization, Canada Health, and locally, Dr. Robert Strang, the Chief Medical Officer of Health in Nova Scotia, have stated that there are interventions which, if taken early, can slow down the spread of the disease and create less pressure on what could be an over-burdened health system. Their recommendations include the cancellation of large public gatherings, and social distancing.
We know now that there at least three presumptive cases in Nova Scotia. We also know that seniors are more vulnerable and at greater risk of getting very sick.
In light of this information and in response to questions we have been asked by many of our members, volunteers and instructors, the Board has decided it was best to proceed cautiously. Therefore, with regret, we will be cancelling all Seniors’ College events and classes for the next couple of months. Public Lectures scheduled to be held in the next several weeks will be cancelled. The Annual General Meeting will be postponed, probably till early fall. The Information Sessions scheduled for the week of March 23rd will be cancelled, and most regrettably, we feel it necessary to cancel the courses scheduled for the Spring term. We will also cancel the Meet and Greet gatherings scheduled for March, April and May.
As you know, membership to the Seniors’ College is for a period of twelve months, and membership renewal can take place before any one of our three terms. Due to the cancellation of the Spring Term, the Board has decided to add on an additional term to everyone’s membership. Therefore, if your membership is up for renewal in the Spring of 2020, your renewal will be moved forward to the Fall of 2020. Similarly, if your membership is due for renewal in the Fall of 2020, it will be extended till the Winter 2021. Those whose membership is up for renewal in the Winter of 2021 will not have to renew until the Spring of 2021. Finally, to those of you who were going to renew their membership at the Information Session, you will not have to do so until the Fall of 2020.
We will update the website with any Seniors’ College news, and we will be updating you by email or in a newsletter in late spring or early summer with our plans going forward. You will be able to contact the office as usual. We hope you will all stay safe and remind you of the precautions we should all take. Along with avoiding non-essential traveling, avoiding large gatherings, and social distancing, we need to avoid contact with people who are sick, and wash our hands often with soap and water, or if not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Tips for avoiding COVID-19 and updates are available on several websites, such as: novascotia.ca canada.ca cbc.ca Be well. We look forward to seeing you in the fall. Best regards, Lois Block. On behalf of the Board of Directors, Seniors’ College Association of Nova Scotia
The following information is not hosted by SCANS. No endorsement of any products or services is expressed or implied.