OLI Workshops 2021

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 launched a blog here, early spring 2020. But clearly there is massive information and we are waiting for a settling out.  We may filter this information for certain topics, depending on demand. Experts can be assembled for 2021. Meantime we are planning to discuss the impact of the pandemic on our daily lives, from a range of locations, and in three different languages, as described (way) below.

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 network members 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 co-deploying thermal energy storage devices with solar-powered microgrids in rural communities not adequately served by national grids. Falling costs of solar energy, digitization and pay-as-you-go models open up the possibility of electric clean cooking as a service. 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 and graduate student projects for this start-up secretariat and Community of Practice. Two graduate students at the University of Calgary are already lined up.  More may be recruited. Upon registration, participants will receive a copy of the White Paper. A key benefit is the opportunity to meet and network with others who share similar interests.

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

  • The impact of the 2020 US election on the Paris Agreement ~ E

Like much of the world, we have been following the progress of the US election, and surmising what the outcome might mean in addressing climate change. We propose an up-to-date workshop series that will address the following topics:

❖  An insider’s view on the current status of the 2015 Paris Agreement, from which the Trump administration withdrew;

❖  Highlights of the recent, informal Climate Summit of world leaders, and the new national commitments on carbon neutrality;

❖  Chances that COP26 in Glasgow will revitalize the global commitment to climate change with sincere pledges;

❖  Investment in the clean energy sector with a Biden administration;

❖  Reversal by Biden of climate deregulation launched by Trump and its impact on green tech.

Mr. Art Levin will provide this workshop series. He is a telecommunications lawyer based in Florida, and 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.

A climate change primer workshop, for anyone who has delayed gaining knowledge about the road from Kyoto to Paris, is also offered by Mr. Levin. See more about him, and the earlier workshop series, here.

Three 1-hour sessions, price TBD. Contact us to negotiate a group price.

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

As implementors within departments, agencies and organizations that contribute to public and foreign policy, deliver international aid programs or shape the international agenda, members of our network tend to be practitioners within the area of international affairs rather than scholars of the field. We achieved our academic qualifications and then put them to the test in real life. As a group, we are quite keen to share our views with one another, and we meet on-line frequently.

This year we are launching an OLI book club that may be of interest to those outside of our network who wish to discuss public policy and international affairs. To begin, we have chosen Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (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.

For this OLI workshop, topics for discussion that arise from reading the book will be generated each week.

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. In operating various networks and virtual teams over the years, we have discovered that participants often make unexpected friends in far-away places. Maybe, if you join this club, you will too.

Currently Offered:

❖  Fridays, 3:00pm EST.  Facilitators in Kelowna, with other locations TBD.

To determine what time the language is held in our own time zone, you can check the World Clock Meeting Planner.

Price and scheme: Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $10/person.  If a total of $40 accumulates for a subscriber, future sessions up to a total of 4 months from the first session are free.

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 reading on-line with the aplomb of a celebrity. It is more than that, though. To convey the excitement of language and literacy, we are reading plays and may produce podcasts. The play scripts, written by creators at OLI-works, are modern adaptations of some of Shakespeare’s comedies. Participants are expected to assume the role of voice actors. We record the sessions so everyone can hear themselves.

Three themes are highlighted in this OLI workshop series: the level of science and technology in the age, the authorship debate and the nature of diplomacy. Details are here.

This creative OLI workshop is a a bit unusual. We hope it will add a pleasant jolt to your life, as well as new words to your English vocabulary. It may heighten your understanding of a key historical moment. If you have a suspicion that you have more drama within you than you (or anyone else) knows, this novel OLI workshop may be for you. We are preparing more background and a bibliography here.

Currently offered:

❖  Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30pm EST.  Facilitators are in Kelowna and Calgary.

❖  Tuesdays, 2:30pm EST. Facilitators are in Kelowna, Ottawa and Halifax.

To determine what time the language is held in our own time zone, you can check the World Clock Meeting Planner. Additional sessions with different timing and facilitators may be arranged if the number of subscribers grow. Contact us if you want to inform us of your preferred times.

Price and scheme: Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $10/person.

E.  Re-booting or Improving Oral Language skills

The language workshops below are intended as oral, conversational practice that might be part of one’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 have designed our OLI language workshops to suit high beginners and intermediate levels (which we define as an ability to comprehend the language, when spoken slowly, and at least partially). They will be relevant to our current circumstances. We are using a standard format across all language workshops, as follows:

First the facilitator and then each attendee* will, in step-wise fashion:

❖  Introduce themselves (eg. where they live, or have lived, work, interests, etc.). Their exact introduction could change, week by week.

❖  Discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in their life and/or community, for the past week or (much) longer. Again, the issues selected per week are expected to change. 

If there is further time, we will chose one or more of the following:

❖  Discuss movies on Netflix or elsewhere that attendees may access in the chosen language.

❖  Discuss books that attendees might access via on-line vendors in the chosen language.

❖  Share information about language resources on the Internet for learning, reading and listening.

*Some attendees may wish to stay silent for the first few workshops. That is fine.

Later, we will welcome professional or other presentations that participants feel inclined to provide in the language they are learning. They will have a captive but friendly audience.

  • 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.

To determine what time the language is held in our own time zone, you can check the World Clock Meeting Planner.  Additional sessions with different timing and facilitators may be arranged if the number of subscribers grow. Contact us if you want to inform us of your preferred times.

Price and scheme for all of the workshops above: Drop-in, 1 hour sessions, $15/person.

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.