OLLI Courses


Getting Real About Artificial Intelligence

with Paul Clermont

  9:30 am-11:30 am


Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are all over the news. Some pundits wring their hands about massive unemployment and its effects on society. Others wave their hands, pointing out how many “revolutions” in the nature of work we’ve survived without that happening and how much they’ve improved our everyday lives. But is this revolution different?

Paul Clermont has consulted in and taught about direction and management of Information Technology (IT) and is a frequent contributor and guest editor for the Cutter Buginese Technology Journal.

READ FULL DETAILS HERE including any scheduling particulars.

More French Short Story Writers

with Caroline Smadja

  12:00 pm-2:00 pm


Discover seven French authors, many with recognizable names; but whom many may have never read. A wide range of voices and both men and women writers will be presented.

Caroline Smadja has been a teacher/trainer for over 25 years, including 10 years as a lecturer at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. she has specialized in adult education, working with learners of all backgrounds and nationalities.

READ ALL DETAILS HERE (including any schedule particulars).

San Francisco Journeys: A Potpourri

with Monika Trobits

  2:00 pm-4:30 pm


Learn more about the city's development while viewing a variety of architectural styles, historic landmarks and monuments, film and literary sites, and public art here and there.

Monika Trobits has been studying San Francisco/California history since the mid-1980s, evolving into a local historian, a long-time walking tour docent/guide (since 1989) and a published writer of non-fiction works about the city.

READ FULL DETAILS including scheduling particulars HERE.

Film: Beyond the Femme Fatale

with Mary Scott

  2:30 pm-5:00 pm


Examine the label of female Film Noir roles as that of the femme fatale, literally the deadly woman. This narrow construction reinforces the idea of women as either angels or devils.

Mary Scott has enjoyed teaching Film History and Film Studies for over twenty-five years at both San Francisco State University and College of San Mateo (as well as in Florence, Italy and London.)

READ FULL DETAILS including any schedule particulars HERE.


Collage: From Real To Surreal

with Lola Fraknoi

  10:00 am-12:00 pm


Create personal collages from dreams that defy traditional logic, drawing  inspiration from famous cubist and surrealist artists. 

Lola Fraknoi was born in Lima, Peru and educated in the U.S., she holds a BA from Rice University and an MFA from the california College of the Arts.

READ FULL DETAILS including any schedule particulars HERE.

Mid-Term Elections 2018

with Gerard Heather

  10:00 am-12:00 pm


Historically, mid-term elections favor the party out of power. With the Republican Party Controlling all branches the national government as well as a majority of state legislatures, the prospects of a significant Democratic Party return to political power is very much in play.

Professor Heather is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at SF State and former Chair of the Department. He has taught in the UK and the University of Amsterdam.


Writers on Writing

with Diane Frank

  12:30 pm-2:30 pm


Register now! http://olli.sfsu.edu to enjoy literary salon...including writing exercises...where published authors read from their books, talk about their creative process, and answer your questions. Diane Frank is an award winning poet and author of six books of poems, including Swan Light, Entering the Word Temple, and The Winter Life of Shooting Stars. This class will be held on Tuesdays from 12:30-2:30pm for 6 weeks at the SF State Downtown Campus starting Sep 25, 2018.

READ FULL DETAILS HERE *including schedule particulars.

How American Modernism Changed The History Of Art

with Karen Lee McSorley

  3:00 pm-5:00 pm


Interconnectedness was the battle cry of a large majority of the global population – and as such, art served as its universal language. Spearheaded by one of the youngest nations, American Modernism propelled both the reach and expanse of art’s influence over our collective lives.

Karen Lee McSorley can recall her early art experience to regular weekend visits to The Met as a very young child. Since then, she has earned advanced degrees in Art History and Economics from both Northwestern and Yale.



The Concerto: Style, Form, and Context in its First Century

with Alexandra Amati, PhD

  10:00 am-12:00 pm


Explore The Concerto, a genre we know especially from the classical and romantic periods from its baroque origins in vocal music to its "codified" classical structure; and investigate its cultural and social aspects and functions.  Alexandra Amati is an Italian musicologist, who, after earning a degree in Slavic Studies from Italy, received her MA and PhD in Musicology from Harvard University. She teaches at the University of San Francisco, where she created the music program in 2000. This class meets Wednesdays from 10am-12pm for 7 weeks starting Sep 26, 2018.

READ FULL DETAILS HERE. *including any scheduling particulars.

Aliens in Outer Space: The Science and the Fiction

with Andrew Fraknoi

  3:00 pm-5:00 pm


Take a look at why astronomers are more optimistic than ever that there must be life beyond the Earth, what experiments we are undertaking to find or communicate with such life, and what we propose to do if we find “them.”

Andrew Fraknoi retired in July 2017 as the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College, having taught introductory astronomy and physics at three different colleges (including SF State).



German Literature and Film of the Weimar Republic

with Marion Gerlind, Ph.D.

  10:00 am-12:00 pm


Explore some of the most popular works, such as Bertolt Brecht’s musical play The Threepenny Opera, Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, as well as compelling poetry by Mascha Kaléko, Gertrud Kolmar, and Else Lasker-Schüler. 

Marion Gerlind, Ph.D., the founder and executive director of the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies, a community-based and community-supported educational organization in Oakland, is originally from Hamburg, Germany.  This class will meet on Thursdays from 10am-12pm for 7 weeks starting Sep 27, 2018.

This course will be conducted in English. Active participation and preparation is highly encouraged!

READ ALL DETAILS HERE *including scheduling particulars

Culture Clash In The Era Of Globalization

with Joe Lurie

  12:30 pm-2:30 pm


Examine cultural disconnects with refugees and other immigrants and study the nature and implications of culture clash in the news of the day: in the worlds of diplomacy, politics, business, religion, health care and technology.

Joe Lurie is Emeritus Executive Director of UC Berkeley's International House and currently a Cross-Cultural Communications trainer and speaker for corporate and non profit organizations.

READ ALL DETAILS including any scheduling particulars HERE.

The Beatles: The Rock Group That Changed The World

with Richie Unterberger

  3:00 pm-5:00 pm


to trace their artistic evolution from the dawn of their career in the early 1960s through their breakup about a decade later using common and rare recordings and video clips. 

Richie Unterberger is the author of a dozen rock history books, including volumes on the Beatles, the Who and many others.

This class will be held on Thursdays from 3-5pm for 7 weeks at the SF State Downtown Campus starting Sep 27, 2018.*

READ FULL DETAILS HERE. *Including schedule details such as skipped weeks,etc.


Trials, Trends and Tensions of the United States Supreme Court

with Greg Woods, J.D.

  10:00 am-12:00 pm

SF State

Examine historical factors concerning contemporary trends and the necessity for an independent judiciary. Develop and apply critical thinking skills through robust analysis relating to the policies, personalities and legal issues present in recent high profile United States Supreme Court decisions.

Greg Woods, J.D. is a Lecturer with the Department of Justice Studies at San Jose State University and has taught with the Departments of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies at Sonoma State University and Criminal Justice Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from San Francisco Law School.


Lighten Up: A Creative Writing Course

with Sarah Broderick

  1:00 pm-3:00 pm

SF State

“I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.” –Vincent van Gogh

While literary fiction tends to be bleak (and some might say that it must be bleak), we will approach this class in opposition to this notion. In short: light matters.
That is not to say that we will be discussing puppies and kittens, rainbows and smiley faces. While those are nice, our examination of light in life will delve deeper. Each week, we will be reading and discussing short stories that capture the complexities of hope, love, goodness, happiness, friendship, and endurance. We will use these readings and their writers to inspire creative writing of our own. Students will generate 1-2 double-spaced pages to be shared and responded to in-class weekly as part of our supportive community.
All students are welcomed, those who are new to creative writing and those who have been writing most of their lives. However, please be aware that our focus will be on narrative craft.

Week by Week Outline
Students will:
            --generate new material for future development.
            --share their creative work and provide feedback to others.
            --build a repository of writing prompts.
            --read exemplary writers.
            --receive feedback from the instructor.
And learn to:
            --trust in their natural abilities as writers and artists.
            --find material to write about that suits their interests.
            --think creatively as well as critically about written creative work.
            --experience the world anew.
Sarah Broderick grew up in the Ohio River Valley and now resides in Northern California. Holding an MA in humanities and social thought from New York University and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, she works as a writer, editor, and teacher, and served as Diaspora Editor for Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince published in 2017 by Verso/Voice of Witness. Her fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in Moon City Review, Atticus Review, Necessary Fiction, Cleaver Magazine, and elsewhere. She can be found online at perfectsentences.org, Twitter @sebroderick, and The Forge Literary Magazine.


Chamber Music Weekend Intensive

with The Alexander String Quartet

  9:00 am-8:00 pm

SF State

October 13 & 14

This course brings together string, woodwind and piano players to share the joy of playing chamber music. On each of the two days, participants work together on a particular piece of music in chamber ensembles, which range in size from trios through quartets and quintets to larger groups such as nonets.