Grow, explore, and discover with Odyssey – our non-credit liberal arts program that has been the region’s lifelong learning partner for over 25 years.
Open to anyone who wants to learn, our personal enrichment programs offer a wide selection of courses, workshops, and lecture series delivered by the top-notch JHU faculty and community experts. Odyssey doesn’t have grades or exams—just learning for the sake of learning in a fun, creative environment. Explore our extensive course listings from science to art, writing to photography—choose course subjects across these areas:
- Odyssey on the Go: single session programs
- Perspectives: multi-speaker lecture series
- Arts and Humanities
- Music, Cinema, and the Performing Arts
- Science and Nature
- Certificate on Aging
- Writing and Communications
- Photography, Film, and Digital Arts
Odyssey Fall 2020 Catalog
Our new Fall 2020 courses will be offered exclusively through Zoom’s online platform. During our spring semester, we successfully transitioned many of our courses to this online format and received positive feedback from our students.
Zoom links will be sent to registered participants on the day of their scheduled course. Updates will be posted on our website, social media, and communicated directly to students through email.
You can browse our entire Fall 2020 Course Catalog.
Fall 2020 Course Highlights
10 Sessions: Wed., Oct. 7 – Dec. 16 (no class Nov. 25), 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Instructor: Margaret Osburn
A journal is a personal space where it’s safe to react to the world and interact with yourself. Using a multifocal approach, and a panorama of writing experiences, this course is designed to help you learn specific writing skills as you develop a writing habit in a safe and supportive environment. You’ll be encouraged to record what you see, how you see it. Create questions. Think deep. Recover memories. Let loose. Take your brain to new places. Imagine. Discover. Gain insight. — Don’t edit. — Break writer’s block. Gain an appreciation for the possibilities of the journal through class discussions, writing prompts, and published entries by essayists, fiction writers, poets, neuroscientists, and other contemporary life watchers. Reflect. Use words. Be free. Have fun. Find yourself.
1 all-day session: Sat., Oct. 10, 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM (12:15 PM – 1:30 PM – lunch break)
Coordinator: Mark Croatti
Donald Trump, the incumbent and impeached president (but not removed), is very popular with his base but equally unpopular beyond it. His polarizing term was highlighted by a booming economy; improved trade deals with Mexico and Canada; a North Korean summit; and two Supreme Court appointments. However, he’s been criticized at home and abroad for trade wars with China and the EU; withdrawals from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Paris Climate Accords, and Iranian nuclear deal; an immigration policy that includes a border wall as well as accelerated deportations and separated children; and a mixed-message coronavirus response.
Former VP Joe Biden would be the oldest president ever elected (over Trump), yet in six out of the last seven elections, the Democratic Party nominee received the most popular votes (but didn’t win the Electoral College or become president). Which party will win the 2020 presidential election, control the House and Senate, and elect the most governors and state legislators? We’ll predict the November 3 winners and look ahead to Maryland’s 2022 Gubernatorial Election!
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Party Control on Capitol Hill in 2021: A Numerical Forecast
10:45 AM – 12:15 PM State Legislative and Gubernatorial Elections: State by State Analysis
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM The 2020 Presidential Election: A Crystal Ball
3:15 PM – 4:45 PM Maryland’s 2022 Gubernatorial Election: A Sneak Preview
8 Sessions: Wed., Oct. 14 – Dec. 9 (no class Nov. 25), 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Instructor: Forrest Hall
In a series of eight lectures, Dr. Hall will provide an overview of how the Earth’s climate system is related to its atmosphere, its oceans, its ice caps, glaciers and its biogeochemical cycles. In his final two lectures, he will examine the impacts of human activities on these vital ecosystems and the subsequent feedback to the Earth’s climate system. Dr. Hall will discuss the mitigation efforts humanity can do in order to maintain the habitability of Spaceship Earth; what each of us can do and how these efforts are being affected by the current political environment.
2 Sessions: Sat., Oct. 17 and 24, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Instructor: Courtney Kalbacker
Lectures and video excerpts. In this year of social distancing, none of us could have predicted the deep relevance of Beethoven’s iconic song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte. In addition, Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, with its themes of personal sacrifice and triumph over political imprisonment, are just as galvanizing today as they were in 1805. Popular Odyssey lecturer, Courtney Kalbacker, invites you into a lively Zoom discussion of these fascinating pieces. The class will watch digital excerpts performed by some of the greatest interpreters of these works. Prof. Kalbacker will then delve into Beethoven’s masterfully-crafted themes that still resonate with us today.
5 Sessions: Wed., Oct. 21 – Nov. 11, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Instructor: Lewis Katz
Lectures and Field study. Digital technology has dramatically changed how we take pictures. This course will help you understand the fundamentals of photography and how they apply to the digital world. The course includes classroom instruction and discussion, hands on learning and field study. We will cover shutter speeds, aperture or F stops, depth of field, white balance, histograms as well as how to properly compose an image. Learn how to fully use the features of your camera to create higher quality images that you will be proud to share with your friends and family.
Six Mondays, October 19 – November 23, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Instructor: Lynn Molnar
This course equips caregivers with the tools needed to understand the bond between people and their pets, known as The Human-Animal Bond. Students will develop communication skills, gain evaluation tools, and learn intervention measures that increase patient outcomes. This course teaches the science behind the Human-Animal Bond and how it influences the physical and psychological state of their elderly patients through such topics as animal hoarding, dementia, elder abuse, domestic violence, and diseases.
6 Sessions: Tue., Oct. 27 – Dec. 8, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (no class Nov. 24)
Instructor: Dianne Scheper
Henrik Ibsen created a revolution in traditional theater, unleashing energies that continue to drive theater more than a century later. In this course we read four of Ibsen’s major plays (A Doll House, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler), and learn how shifting cultural views provoked his staging of human stories in radically new ways, prompting innovations in both subject matter and technical form. We’ll also watch film clips of popular theater productions to compare the ‘play on the page’ with the ‘play on the stage.’ Required text is Ibsen’s Selected Plays, ed. Brian Johnson. Norton Critical Edition, 2004.
Access our online registration system to search courses by category, access your student account, and get help with registration.
JHU Tuition Remission and Discounts
If you are a candidate for tuition remission, please do not register online. To receive JHU Tuition Remission Benefits, JHU Alumni Discounts, or Osher at JHU member discounts for Odyssey courses, please call 410-516-8516 and leave a message with your email address. We will return all inquiries through email.
Certificate on Aging
Built upon the solid tradition of excellence, Johns Hopkins University offers a Certificate on Aging and now an Advanced Certificate on Aging. The non-credit certificate is designed for those who work with aging adults and their families.