Spring Course Offerings

Welcome to the Spring 2021 virtual session of Belfast Senior College via Zoom video teleconferencing.

Annual membership fee is $25.00, valid Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, and is required for all courses, except summer, which is free. Zoom classes are priced as follows.

    1 session class – $10
    2-4 sessions class – $15
    5-6 sessions class – $20

This spring, all registrations are on-line only as we cannot process mail-in registrations due to Covid-19. All messages will be forwarded to the registrar. Please note that you are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) or materials, if required for your course.

You must be a member of a Maine Senior College to take a course. The membership year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31, so last year’s membership is expired and the membership fee is required. Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Tea: The Universal Drink

Instructor: Nancy Perkins

  • Zoom Class
  • 3 sessions, Tuesdays, 4:00-5:30 pm May 25, June 1, 8
  • $15

In this two day class we will learn the basics of the history of tea, the growth of the ritual of tea, and the appreciation of this drink enjoyed by people from around the world. From a simple pot brewed in a rural Asian village in the 13th century to an elaborate afternoon tea party in present day London or Paris we will discuss the multiple aspects and types of this beverage.

No texts required. However, I suggest all brew a pot of their favorite tea along with a few sweets and join the class. A syllabus including readings, quotes, and recipes will be provided.

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The Life and Times of Jane Austen

Instructor: Peter Reilly

  • Zoom Class
  • 3 sessions, Fridays, 9:30 am – 11:00 am, April 9,16, 23
  • $15

Jane Austen is famous for the six great novels that she wrote. This course will NOT dissect those novels. The novels are of course mentioned, but we will actually explore the personal, family and world environment that influenced her writing. In short the course may be best described as a “prep” course before delving into Jane’s work. We will spend some time on her “juvenilia” ( work written as a teenager or before) and some of her unfinished work.

In summary there should be plenty of material to explore for those just embarking on a Jane Austen book reading spree to even the most ardent “Janeite”. Class discussion will be encouraged, but it’s always a challenge with a Zoom class. We’ll do our best.

Why study Jane Austen? Because she’s funny, extremely bright, really cool and just happens to be one of the Queens of English literature.

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The Story of Story

Instructor: Brenda Smith

  • Zoom Class
  • 6 sessions, Wednesdays 1-4pm April 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19
  • Text recomended
  • $20

This class is intended to help participants weave a story that will literally rewire the listener’s/reader’s brain by understanding how our brains process sensory data and emotional content. We will discover tools that give a story maximum impact. We will practice constructing story components that are vital to creating memorable impressions. There will be short writing assignments both in class and at home which will be shared and discussed from both perspectives of story teller and listener. By the end of the class participants will have completed their own memorable short story. This class is appropriate for all levels of story tellers/writers.

Highly recommended but not required – Wired for Story: The writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
Participants will be provided with all course materials needed by E-mail.

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Oh the Places we might go! Online Travel with Belfast Senior College

Instructor: Deirdre Good

  • Zoom Class
  • 7 sessions, Fridays, 5-6pm April 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4
  • New offering, evening class
  • $20

Travel broadens our horizons and expands our worlds. It takes us out of ourselves. Through it we learn about different cultures and we also learn about places from which we come. Join us this Spring as we travel online with members and friends of Senior College who will share their travel experiences. We will visit China, Japan, Istanbul, Iceland, Galapagos, Bhutan & Nepal, Vietnam & Cambodia, and Bolivia.

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Milkweed, Monarchs and More

Instructor: Cyrene Slegona

  • Zoom Class
  • 3 sessions, Thursdays 9:30am to 11am, May 6, 13, 20 with optional 27th
  • Required Texts
  • Limit 20
  • $15

Monarch butterflies are recognized as an indicator species whose status provides information on the condition of the ecosystem. We will explore the biology, ecology and current scientific research concerning Danaus plexippus plexippus and how this knowledge applies throughout Nature. Milkweed’s many varieties, uses and species dependent on it will be reviewed. There will be observations skills offered for nature drawing explorations.

Suggested Reading and Internet addresses:

*Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, A Poisonous Plant and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution by Anurag Agrawal (very readable)

Monarch Watch, University of Kansas at Lawrence, https://monarchwatch.org

Journey North, https://journeynorth.org

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Jack, a novel by Marilynne Robinson

Instructor: Arlin Larson

  • Zoom Class
  • 4 sessions, Tuesdays, 10:00-11:30 April 6. 13, 20, 27
  • Required Texts
  • Limit 15
  • $15

How can a self-described “bum” recently released from jail and having no other goal in life than “to be harmless” be a worthy, engaging, or even interesting main character in a novel by one of America’s leading authors? Similar doubts arise about the principal characters in all of Marilynne Robinson’s quartet of novels that began with the Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead. A failing minister in a whose congregation is just waiting for him to die so they can build a new church. A middle-aged homeless woman with a history of severe abuse and prostitution. A youngest daughter returning home to care for an aging father as her independent life is exposed as a lie.

Robinson aims to illustrate the miraculous nature of even the most ordinary human lives. While, as in the others, the action in Jack is minimal, his life and human connections do grow in spite of unending self-sabotage. His life also unfolds inextricably linked to social conditions, the racism of Jim Crow era St. Louis, that both form and threaten to destroy him and the woman with whom he falls in love.

Required Texts

Jack by Marilynne Robinson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux 120 Broadway, New York 10271 Copyright © 2020 by Marilynne Robinson

(The character Jack plays major roles in the previous novels Gilead, Home, and, to a lesser extent, Lila. These can provide additional context but are not necessary as they are not in Jack’s own voice.)

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Russian Meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election: A Forensic Counter-Intelligence Study

Instructor: Richard ("Dick") Topping

  • Zoom Class
  • 6 sessions, Thursday: April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and May 6 at 9:00 -11:00 am
  • $20

Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election set off a political firestorm that has yet to subside. Although additional information will almost certainly come to light in the future, this is a good time to review what we now know about that interference. Six sessions will examine precisely what Vladimir Putin and his cohorts did; when and why they did it; what they have actually accomplished to date; and with how much help from which quarters – if any – in the United States. We also will look at how U.S. officials and other stakeholders responded to that meddling, and what we as private citizens can do to help ensure that any sort of repeat performance by the Russians – or anyone else – does not lead us down this troubled path again.

No text required. Instructor will provide links to the Mueller Report and other relevant material as it becomes available.

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A Selection of African American Poetry

Instructor: Juliet Baker

  • Zoom Class
  • 6 sessions, Tues: 9:30 AM-11:00 AM, April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 Postponed, date TBA
  • Limit 25
  • $20

Whether African slaves were first brought to America in 1619, or even before then by Portuguese slave traders, the African voice has been present in this hemisphere for centuries. The first known literary printing in English of that voice, a very formal one, occurred in 1773 with the posthumous publication of a volume of poetry by Phillis Wheatley. As with a number of early published African American poets, Wheatley modeled her work on classical British figures. Since then, African American poetry, ‘250 Years of Struggle and Song,’ has prospered, representing many voices—formal, colloquial, in dialect, folkloric, and definitely American.

For six hour-and-a-half sessions this spring, once-a-week, we will read and discuss a number of these poets, focusing closely on six: Paul Laurence Dunbar;ROBERT HAYDEN; Gwendolyn Brooks; Lucille Clifton; Yusef Komunyakaa; and Rita Dove. Class sessions on ZOOM will involve close reading and discussion. Our Host will be Deirdre Good. Always aware of a poet’s place in the USA and in history, we will also look closely at poetic structure, language, voice, tone, and at emerging themes. Students will prepare specific poems for class. There will be regular readings and at home listenings to recordings of poets reading their own works.

Poems will be emailed to students.

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Getting started with photo editing for free (or close to it)

Instructor: Doug Chamberlin

  • Zoom Class
  • 6 sessions, Tuesdays 2.00-3.30pm, April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11
  • Limit 20
  • $20

Have you ever wanted to touch up your photographs but were afraid of commonly used editing programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom? This is the class for you! We will examine a program named “darktable” which is not only free but written and maintained by volunteers. We will also work with Luminar which is a very inexpensive alternative to better-known editing programs. A gentle introduction with plenty of time to ask questions. But experienced photographers will also have fun comparing experiences.

Required

A desktop or laptop computer. Access to YouTube videos would be very helpful for viewing outside of class. Have some digital photos ready you would like to work on.

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Better Health Now

Instructor: Jen Paquet

  • Zoom Class
  • 6 sessions, Thursdays 5-6pm, April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13
  • Text and audio CD
  • Limit 8
  • $20

Better Health Now is an ideal workshop for people who may have health conditions like heart disease, asthma, Lyme disease, or COPD. Participants will meet weekly for about an hour for telephonic health coaching. A variety of topics will be discussed, including setting achievable goals, problem solving, healthy eating, decision making, physical activity and dealing with difficult emotions.

Prior to the start of the workshop, participants will receive a textbook, relaxation CD, exercise CD and booklet for class reference.

Participants who complete the series report improved symptom management, increased physical activity, better communication with their medical team/s, and general improvement in health.

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Living Well for Better Health

Instructor: Jen Paquet

  • Zoom Class
  • 6 sessions, Tuesdays, 10:00am-12:00pm, April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11
  • Text and audio CD
  • Limit 15
  • $20

Do you want to feel better, increase your quality of life, or improve your experience with healthcare providers? You can now take Living Well Programs from home!

This program is run by peer leaders who understand just how challenging it can be to make our own health and wellness a priority. Throughout this six session series that has been proven to promote health and prevent disease, you’ll learn how to boost your energy, improve mood and decrease fatigue.
Living Well for Better Health was designed for people who may have chronic health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, asthma, Lyme disease, or COPD. This evidence based workshop helps empower adults to address and better manage their health issues by increasing self-efficacy, improving knowledge, developing positive behavior change, and improved self-management.

Text – Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions*
Audio CD – Relaxation for the Mind and Body, Pathways to Healthy*
*Provided at no cost by Spectrum Generations

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Growing Organic Asparagus

Instructor: Lee Graham

  • Zoom Class
  • 1 session, 10.00am -12pm., April 7th
  • $10

Do you love fresh organic asparagus? Growing it requires a bit of patience, but once your bed is established, it will supply you with this versatile spring treat for years to come. Learn how to prepare the bed, plant, maintain, and harvest your asparagus. The class will also share some asparagus recipes. Lee Graham has […]

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