Enjoy being a student again — Howard County Edition
As the kids go back to school this fall, you can almost smell those new pencils and feel the excitement of learning something new.
Many older adults in Howard County return to school this time of year, too. Hundreds of classes in our area are affordable or even free for older adults, and they’re available online or in person.
Lifelong students say these classes
introduce them to new ideas and new friends. Ask Elizabeth Fanto, 86, who has been teaching and taking classes at Renaissance Institute at Notre Dame of Maryland University for more than 20 years.
“The first year I was retired, I was bored to tears. My husband and I [started taking classes], and it just opened up a whole world for us,” she said.
“There’s such a wonderful social aspect. You make friends. For anyone who’s living alone, it’s just a boon.”
And the best part? No tests, papers or grades — which takes the pressure off of teachers as well as students so they can get to know each other.
Don and Jenny Killgallon, retired teachers who live in Cockeysville, have taught classes at Johns Hopkins’ Odyssey program for more than a decade. The two octogenarians have co-authored 22 books and teach three classes a year.
“We have fun every time we teach a lesson,” Don Killgallon said. “We thoroughly enjoy the experience, and I think our students do as well. We learn a little bit about their lives and…they write some really wonderful things. It keeps us busy, and it’s fun.”
Here are some continuing education programs for older adults in Howard County or nearby:
Howard Community College
HCC’s Personal Enrichment program has year-round classes in personal finance, music, art, literature, writing, gardening and many other subjects. Maryland residents 60 and older receive a tuition waiver for many classes (but fees are not waived).
For more information, see bit.ly/HCCenrichment, email email@example.com or call (443) 518-1700.
Howard County Rec & Parks
In addition to fitness classes, bus tours and day hikes, the county’s Recreation & Parks department has a range of Active Adult classes for residents 55 and over.
Take a class on how to use your phone and tablet; learn about astronomy at the planetarium; or make a stained-glass window. See howardcountymd.gov/rap or call (410) 313-4700 for more information.
See howardcountymd.gov/rap or call (410) 313-4700 for more information.
While the Columbia Association primarily offers fitness classes, the membership-based group also has art classes and foreign-language-practice sessions, known as the monthly World Languages Café.
The café is held at the 50+ Center at the East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Visit columbiaassociation.org or call (410) 715-3000.
Osher Lifelong Learning
Both Johns Hopkins and Towson University offer non-degree classes to people over age 50 through the nationwide Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program. Osher also hosts weekly classes at several Maryland retirement communities.
Osher at Johns Hopkins has been offering classes to retirees since 1986 with the Evergreen Society, now known as Osher at JHU. Classes, taught by Hopkins graduates and other luminaries, are available both online and in person.
Hopkins’ in-person classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays at the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, 9325 Presbyterian Circle, Columbia.
For more information or to request a course brochure, visit osher.jhu.edu, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (301) 294-7058.
Osher at Towson University offers classes taught by seasoned professors, many of whom taught at local schools. This fall, Osher at Towson offers a mix of in-person and online classes about film, science, comedic plays and every period of American history. In-person classes meet at Loyola Graduate Center 2034 Greenspring Drive, Timonium.
Flip through Osher at Towson’s full fall course catalog at bit.ly/OsherTowson. Find out more by email at email@example.com or call (410) 704-3688.
Odyssey at JHU
Odyssey at Johns Hopkins University, run by the alumni association, offers non-credit classes via Zoom. Retired professors from area universities and colleges all over the country teach a wide range of courses about history, photography, literature and writing — even how to write “your awesome obituary.”
Hopkins alumni get 80% off tuition. Learn more at odyssey.jhu.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (410) 516-1205.
The Senior Adventures in Learning program at Community College of Baltimore County offers classes online as well as at its campuses, retirement communities, community centers and Baltimore County senior centers.
One-day programs include walking tours such as “Gargoyles Galore,” as well as “Lunch & Learn” programs that include class and lunch at a Baltimore restaurant such as Blue Stone, Pappas or Carrabba’s.
Most CCBC courses are taught by retired teachers and professors with years of experience. However, there are no grades or tests. Tuition is free for Marylanders over 60 (but class fees and out-of-county fees may be charged).
For more information or a course catalog, visit bit.ly/CCBCseniors or call (443) 840-4900.
Since 1989 the Renaissance Institute has offered classes to people 50 and older at Notre Dame of Maryland University’s campus, located just north of Hopkins.
Additional classes are also available on Zoom, so students from all over the state and country can take classes in literature, art, fitness, language, writing, folk dance and more.
Institute students get access to the campus library and fitness center and can download Microsoft Office 365 at no extra charge. Its teachers are both retired professional educators as well as amateur teachers.
View the fall catalog at bit.ly/Renaissancefall. For more information, contact email@example.com or call (410) 532-3162.
Maryland Institute College of Art’s Open Studies program has offered classes for non-degree-seeking “curious creatives” for more than 20 years. Virtual and on-campus classes cover painting, sculpture, natural dyes, ceramics, sketching and more.
Classes are held on Zoom or in person at 1300 W. Mt. Royal Ave., Baltimore. For more information, visit Openstudies.mica.edu or contact the Office of Open Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 225-2219.
Senior Planet by AARP
If you’re at least 60, Senior Planet’s live online classes are available for free no matter where you live.
Take a morning stretch class, learn more about your smartphone or smart TV, take a virtual museum tour, or take part in a free discussion with other older adults.
To sign up, call the Senior Planet hotline at 1-888-713-3495 or visit seniorplanet.org/classes. The closest in-person classes are offered in Montgomery County, Maryland.
With a vast offering of courses, day trips, multi-day tours and lectures, Smithsonian Associates is the largest museum education program in the world.
Classes cover art, studio art, literature, writing, art history, history, science, film and more. Most classes are streamed live, so you can watch from any device. Some classes are offered in person in Washington, DC.
For more information, visit SmithsonianAssociates.org, email CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org or call (202) 633-3030.