OLLI SF State Courses

Until further notice, all of our courses are presented via Zoom*. Please join us!

We will send Zoom links to registered students the day before the class, and monitor rosters for late registrants. If you have any trouble getting in, email olli@sfsu.edu.

Find instructions about using Zoom below.

New: Summer Session  |  May Mini Courses  |  Free Speaker Series

Summer 2021 Session: Monday 6/7 - Friday 7/16


MONDAYS | 6/7 - 7/19

Six Biblical Conundrums and Their Resolution with the Aid of Archaeology and Related Science Disciplines with David Meir-Levi

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Combining the latest in Archaeological finds from Israel and surrounding areas with Biblical History and extra-Biblical texts, we will address the following six conundrums. Read more...

Motown Records: The Greatest Soul Label with Richie Unterberger

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

More than any other record company, Motown represented a sound and a style, helping to define soul music with hundreds of hits in the 1960s and 1970s. Using both common and rare recordings and video clips, this course lays out the label's history. Read more...

Stoicism: An Ancient Philosophy for Modern Times with Raymond Kania

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Stoicism is a school of philosophy that took shape more than two thousand years ago in Hellenistic Greece, part of a body of thought that responded to the works of Plato and Aristotle. Read more...


TUESDAYS | 6/8 - 7/13

Contemporary Economic Policy Issues with Jon Haveman

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Through the actions of governments at the federal, state, and local levels, economics plays a central role in the functioning of every aspect of society. Read more...

Quiltmaking - A Hands-On Workshop with Patricia Bruvy

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

This Quiltmaking course presents the history of quilting and the designs and the fundamentals of quiltmaking from start to finish. Read more...

Try It Again: The Art of Revision with Audrey Ferber

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Writing is re-writing! Have you “finished” a story or personal essay that you know needs more work but feel unsure of how to proceed? Do you need feedback, encouragement, and the structure of a group to get back to work? Read more...


WEDNESDAYS | 6/9 - 7/14

The Architecture of Poems with Kathleen McClung

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Like both a high-rise and a tiny house, every poem has its own design and structure. Some consist of brief wisps of lines with plenty of airspace around them. Others have lines that run loose and long across the page. Read more...

Ordinary Lives in the American Revolution with Richard Bell

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Traditional accounts of the American Revolution focus on battles, politicians, and influential men. Yet these figures were just a tiny fraction of the people who fought for or against independence. Read more...


THURSDAYS | 6/10 - 7/15

Political Parties For and Against Democracy with David Peritz

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

In this course we will examine partisan polarization in contemporary American politics and the forces producing and exacerbating it from a variety of perspectives: historical, political, social, economic and racial. Read more...

How to Listen to 20th & 21st Century Classical Music with John Prescott

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

For many classical music lovers, much of the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries can be very daunting. In this class we will explore some of the main trends in music of the past 120 years. Read more...

How Does My Hair Look? The History of Portraiture & Self-Portraiture in Art and Photography with Charlie Goldberg

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

This course will examine the history of portraiture and self-portraiture in both art and photography. We'll examine why portraits began, what were their meanings, what roles did they play in society and the home, and how those roles may have changed over time. Read more...


FRIDAYS | 6/11 - 7/16

Postcolonial Literature: “The Emperor Writes Back” with James Kohn

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

In this course we review various works of literature written in English by authors from areas where standard English is the language of instruction, including Africa, India, the Caribbean, and parts of the United States, including writers from African American and Latino American communities. Read more...

Women Behind the Camera: Historic & Recent Films by Women with Mary Scott

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Is there a difference in films produced, directed and/or shot by women? Women have been sitting in the Director’s Chair since early silent films and have made films in every decade since the 1890’s but in the last 5 years, their numbers and their influence has become a true force to be reckoned with. Read more...



May 2021 Mini Courses

May 25 — 28, 2021. Open to ALL — members and non-members. Spread the word!

Download printable schedule (PDF, 112kb)


The Restless Genius of Benjamin Franklin

Instructor: Richard Bell

Tuesday 5/25 & Wednesday 5/26

10:00 am - 12:00 pm


The Musical Worlds of Frederic Chopin

Instructor: John Prescott

Tuesday 5/25

1:30 pm - 4:00 pm


The Aging of the World's Population: How It Happened and What It Means for Society

Instructor: Sara Seims

Wednesday 5/26

1:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Patti Smith: Rock ’n’ Roll Poet

Instructor: Richie Unterberger

Thursday 5/27

10:00 am - 12:30 pm


San Francisco’s New Deal Art: Controversy, Neglect, and Restoration

Instructor: Robert Cherny

Thursday 5/27

1:30 pm - 4:00 pm


iPhoneography: Take Your iPhone Photography To The Next Level

Instructor: Yoni Mayeri

Friday 5/28

10:00 am - 12:30pm



2021 Speaker Series - Free Offerings

We are offering complimentary lectures via Zoom. This list will be updated as lectures are scheduled. Please check back often for new listings.


The State of the Democratic Party with Gerard Heather

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm



ZOOM Video Conferencing - While We Are Apart

  1. Download the app on your computer, tablet, or phone.
  2. Via email, we will share an invitation (a link) to the class meeting.
  3. To join the meeting, click on the meeting link in the invitation, enter the meeting code if prompted and you'll "arrive" (on screen!) at the meeting.
  4. To hear and be seen in the video conference, make sure both camera and microphone are "on" within the Zoom application - usually on the bottom left of the screen (Tip: if either one is turned off you will see a red line through the camera icon and/or microphone icon.).
  5. Use your volume controls on your device to turn up the volume so you can hear.
  6. Using the link we will provide, all can be tested ahead of the meeting time, if needed.


This video shows how Zoom looks on different devices.