OLI Fireside Chats 2019-20

Science, trade and politics

In the early 2000’s I was fortunate to work at Canada’s federal government department of foreign affairs and international trade. Within its science and technology unit, I was given the title of Science and Technology Intelligence Officer.  At a training course on competitive intelligence — meaning, in this context, information that is relevant for policy — I learned that some 95% of “intelligence” is in the public domain. However without a framework, guidance and background knowledge on what to look for, this material remains inaccessible.

If it is a challenge for government departments to assemble all of the knowledge necessary for good policy-making, it is certainly a greater one for citizens. We need some understanding of the major science and technology (S&T) transformations underway, so we can participate more effectively in our own personal decisions, invest time or money in promising organizations, and vote for levels of (Western) government that theoretically at least, exist to serve citizens.

In sum, we believe we can help you develop and share knowledge in areas that fall within our realm of interest here at OLI-works: science, technology, public policy, international affairs and markets.

This fall, 2019, we are launching a beta series of on-line, interactive (OLI) “fireside chats” that distill, from 95% of the buzzing ether around us,  several topics of relevance in an increasingly complex world. These we pose to you as worthy of learning more about;  by presenting, discussing and debating within small group formats, on-line.

Embracing virtual, on-line opportunities

Part of our rationale for these OLI fireside chats is to expand training and comfort with new forms of personal interaction on-line, that do not demand excessive use of vehicles or building infrastructure, to keep our carbon footprint low, and wellness quotient high. On a cold, snowy, slippery Canada day or evening, for example, it is a pleasure to be able to stay at home while continuing to participate in interesting debates. And, like we have said countless times here at OLI-works, we are enablers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and hope to prove it to you.

Potential topics for our beta, OLI fireside chats

Here is our “grab-bag” of topics, on which we have some background and material to start with, and experts on the sidelines depending on interest and demand. These topics demand that you do some of the research, but we aim to set you in the right direction by providing some initial, credible links.

A. Building our Scientific Literacy in Health Innovation
  1. Oncolytic viral therapy – a promising new approach for the treatment of cancer
  2. Regenerative medicine – the cultivation and use of stem cells for applications to disease
B. Using Science and Technology to Address Climate Change
  1. Electric vehicle roll-out – will this benefit or cost the environment?
  2. Off-grid energy sources and ICT for emergency management and response
  3. Why is President Trump attacking California and Québec for cap-and-trade?
C. Enhancing our Literary Skills and Appreciation
  1. Was Shakespeare a cover?  The authorship debate brews on with toil and trouble.
E.  Deciphering international affairs and foreign policy
  1. Perspectives on Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats (2012).
F. Kick-Starting or Dusting Off Language skills
  1. Informal, French conversation – Bonjour!
  2. Informal, Spanish conversation – Hola!
  3. Informal, Swedish conversation – Hejdå!

Prices and Timing 

As a general rule, each beta, OLI fireside chat session will start from CAD$10.00, per person, per hour-long session, paid in advance.

For the informal language sessions, a fluent speaker will act as animator and a higher price will be charged taking into account their fees.  For the other sessions, if a group or sub-group wishes (an) expert(s), the final price will be determined by taking their quotes into account.

Participants will require high-speed Internet supply, a device (computer/laptop, tablet or mobile phone), headset with microphone, or a built-in microphone in a private, quiet setting. Small, technical glitches at the beginning of videoconferences are not unusual, so the actual length of time for presentation and discussion will be about 45 minutes.

We are currently preparing an on-line survey to determine interest in our beta, OLI fireside chats.  Among other variables, we are determining the timing and number of the sessions. Please contact us if you wish to be included in the survey.

Note that we are happy to provide one-on-one free, advance training, including training on how to make on-line payments, so that you feel comfortable joining a group in a given OLI fireside chat.

Why OLI fireside chats instead of on-line courses?

Our beta, OLI fireside chats are designed to allow you, the participants, to make your own presentations if you feel inclined, engage in Q&A with the other presenters, or other attendees. Unlike a usual webinar, our OLI workshops and fireside chats are oriented to small groups. They are intended to be your comfort zone and rehearsal platform in the on-line space, as well as allowing you to access knowledge and convey your own views on topics of contemporary interest.

Your comments are sought

Please feel encouraged to be in touch with us on any of the topics above, and the overall development of our syllabus for our beta, OLI fireside chats.


Oct 30th, 2019

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