OLI Workshops 2020-21

The OLI workshops that we may offer for fall and winter 2020-21 are being assembled and will be based on demand. Our OLI workshops are intended as sources of professional and personal development or corporate training that may be used on-the-job, to market yourself, to develop an appreciation of new topics and sectors, and to find peers with whom to network. By attending, participants agree to share their names and Email addresses so they can follow up with one another as they please. Please contact us with any questions or for more information.

Topics, prices, details

Below is our syllabus for which we have background. Topics requiring an expert or more, and who we have on the sidelines, are marked with an “E”. The final price, if not already stated, will be determined by taking their quotes into account. These cases are marked with “TBD”.

All of the workshops will include one or more facilitators.

A.  Building our Scientific Literacy in Health Innovation
  • State-of-the-art for viral vaccines, therapeutics and other anti-virals ~ E

For general background on the novel coronavirus and the pandemic, we have launched a blog here, which is under development. Experts are being assembled for 2021.

Number of sessions and price TBD.

B.  Science, Technology and Innovation to Address Climate Change (STI4CC)
  • A surge in microgrid energy sources and their applications for rural development ~ E

A draft White Paper has been prepared under our informal, Crowsnest Collaborative by three experts with extensive field experience in low income countries: Mr. Steve O’Gorman, Mr. Ken Robertson and Ms. Meg Barker.  The White Paper discusses the promise of deploying thermal energy storage devices alongside an existing expansion of solar-powered microgrids in rural communities not adequately served by national grids. The challenge is to tackle the problem of hazardous biomass-based cooking by 2.8 billion of the world’s people, most of whom are women and girls. Sustainability may be enhanced by incorporation of food cooling and storage components. Our vision is to address SDG5 and SDG7.

Payments and donations by participants to this workshop series will help to cover the operating costs of this start-up secretariat and Community of Practice. Upon registration, participants will receive a copy of the White Paper.

Two 1-hour sessions, $25/person/session or by donation.

  • Global cooperation to combat climate change and the impact of the US election ~ E

Mr. Art Levin, a telecommunications lawyer based in Florida, is a former Chief of Staff of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). He was ITU’s Lead Delegate sent to the UN global climate change negotiations for many years. Mr. Levin was among the team of drafters whose ultimate outcome was the Paris Agreement. We have been fortunate to have Mr. Levin’s participation in our STI4CC virtual team for a few years. See more about Mr. Levin here.

Three 1-hour sessions, price TBD.

C.  Deciphering International Affairs and Foreign Policy
  • Perspectives on Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats (2012)

The author of this book, Ms. Chrystia Freeland, is the Minister of Finance for the Government of Canada, as of August 2020. She is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. A brief bio for Ms. Freeland is here.

The full title and link to her book, available as an e-book is: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (2012).

This OLI workshop will be conducted along the lines of a debating club. Topics for discussion will be generated each week. Participants are asked to demonstrate that they have read Ms. Freeland’s book on registering, by providing a half-page summary of the key points of the book. A three-person focus group recruited from the OLI-works network will review these submissions. Details on these reviewers are to be provided soon.

The benefit to attendees is to meet peers on-line, anywhere in Canada and abroad, who have an interest in public policy, international affairs, and current topics in governance.

Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $10/person, continuous, based on demand.

D.  Creative English and rehearsal platform for engineers, scientists and others
  • Science, Diplomacy and Shakespeare

The purpose of this workshop is to enhance one’s English skills, develop further confidence in speaking and writing, and to practice presenting on-line with the aplomb of a celebrity.

Three themes in particular are highlighted in this OLI workshop. The first is to develop a grasp of the level of scientific and technical achievement of the age and place. The innovations of the time operated in concert with regimes of contingent power which could quickly turn murderous.

The second is to conduct an investigation of the poets and writers of the day who may, or may not, have contributed to the Shakespeare corpus. It is the case that in the early 21st C, the authorship question brews on with toil and trouble. A simple search will demonstrate the vociferousness of this debate, and that it is far from being settled. If the author(s) was/were not Shakespeare, why have their identities been hidden for more than 400 years?

The third theme will explore how the evolution from Latin to vernacular languages, combined with an outburst of global literary exchange and creation found a new home in England. Diplomacy and “soft power” has always been helped with systems of “coding” that the theatre was admirably suited for.

This workshop will encourage participants to debate in a courteous and creative manner, add new words to their English vocabulary and heighten their understanding of a key historical moment. If your English language or history skills need more polish, this novel OLI workshop may be one source of inspiration. We are preparing more background and a bibliography that you can find here.

Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $10/person, continuous, based on demand.

E.  Kick-Starting or Dusting Off Other Language skills

The language workshops below are intended as oral, conversational practice that might be part of a participant’s own devised course of learning. There are ample resources on the Internet, and for the serious student, one-to-one learning with tutors by videoconference. We may assemble a list of Internet resources for each language workshop in due course.

We aim to design the workshops to suit beginner to intermediate levels, but most importantly, be highly relevant to our current circumstances. Attendees will be asked to comment (in the language they are learning) on how the new coronavirus pandemic is impacting their daily lives, in their communities and those of their dispersed families and friends. Discussion of creative solutions for managing, and possibly enjoying, the altered pace of life will be encouraged, too.  We do not have expectations that, at the beginning, everyone attending will speak. Sooner or later, though, participants will be asked to make their own presentations.

Please check the World Clock Meeting Planner to determine what time the language session is held in your own time zone.

  • Informal, French conversation – Bonjour!

Mondays, 2:00pm, EST. The facilitator is in Malmö, Sweden.

  • Informal, Spanish conversation – ¡Hola!

Tuesdays, 8:00pm, EST. The facilitator is in Calgary, Canada

  • Informal, Swedish conversation – Hejdå!

Wednesdays, 2:00pm EST.  The facilitator is in Malmö, Sweden.

Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $15/person, continuous, based on demand.


Workshop timing is being determined by the availability of experts, facilitators and animators, and a survey of interested participants. Please contact us if you wish to be included in the survey.

Minimal technology

Participants will require high-speed Internet access, a device (computer/laptop, tablet or mobile phone), headset with microphone, or a built-in microphone in a private, quiet setting. The total length of time for signing on, introductions, presentation and discussion at an OLI workshop is set at one hour.

Is anything for free?

Normally, we are happy to provide up to 1 hour of free, one-on-one training, including on how to make on-line payments. Contact us to book a time.

Why OLI workshops instead of on-line courses?

  • Our OLI workshops are designed to allow everyone – facilitators, experts, participants – to talk, make presentations, engage in live Q&A and network. Unlike webinars, our workshops are oriented to small groups.
  • OLI workshops provide a rehearsal platform in the on-line space. Your on-line participation, delivery and language will be enhanced with practice.
  • OLI workshops are often attended by existing professionals with a wish to interact with peers.
  • Networking among attendees is encouraged.
  • Our workshops are informal, oriented to the development of your marketability. There will be no tests unless requested.

Your suggestions welcome

Please feel encouraged to be in touch with us on any of the topics above, and to indicate your interest in registering, if you are so inclined. If you have a subject you wish to see included in the syllabus, let us know.