Current Courses

Our goal is to enhance the intellectual, social, and cultural life of adults by providing challenging, diverse, and relevant courses on academic topics. Most of our classes are four to six weeks long and meet once a week for 1-1/2 or 2 hours. Our volunteer instructors are motivated by their desire to share their knowledge and facilitate thoughtful discussions on academic topics. 

 

We have two semesters: Fall and Winter/Spring. 

Check out the great courses below and click here for instructions on creating a DavidsonLearns account, joining DavidsonLearns, and registering for Winter/Spring courses.

Fall 2021 Courses

We have an exciting list of courses lined up for Fall 2021.  Please check back in July for detailed information about them.  Fall 2021 registration will open at 10:00 AM on August 2.

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As of now, all our Winter/Spring 2021 courses will be offered ONLINE only. Each course meets as a video conference on a Zoom platform. To ensure a pleasant experience with your Zoom course, we encourage you to download and install the free Zoom Application now. Click here for instructions.

If you would like to take a course that is full, please add your name to the waitlist, and we will contact you if a seat becomes available. Please do not contact the instructor directly.

As of now, it appears that – in addition to online courses – we may be able to offer a limited number of in-person courses this fall.  This situation, of course, could change at any point.  We continue to monitor the pandemic guidelines and will make decisions regarding course format as we move closer to the August 2 registration date.

Below are our Winter/Spring 2021 courses, which either have concluded or are close to doing so.

Hybrid Courses
In-Person Courses

Status: Registration Closed

Mephisto and the Muse: Mental Illness and Art

Cost

$66

Location

Online

Enrollment

min 5, max 10 students

Day

Tuesday

Time

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Dates

Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

Health professionals find it challenging to describe what mental illness is. It can be even more challenging to describe what artistic creativity is. However, scholars generally agree that some of history’s most brilliant and creative artists lived troubled lives. Kay Jamison, the author of our required reading, writes from professional and personal experience with profound mental illness, coupled with historical scholarship about prominent artist exemplars. Her review of mental illness and descriptions of some artists (e.g., Van Gogh, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Poe) will provide the basis for our considering some challenging judgments in life and art.

 

This course will be primarily lecture, but it will include some group participation.

Required Readings

Jamison, Kay R. Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. New York: Free Press, 1996.

This book may also be available from other sources.

Instructor: Cole Barton, PhD

Status: Registration Closed

Creative Approaches to Land Conservation

The linkage between our sense of place, our health, and our natural landscapes is too important to leave to chance. Our threatened natural lands and trees are vital to our sense of place; and land development, once it happens, is effectively irreversible. Conservation protects important natural lands better than land use controls, which are subject to political shifts and uncertainty. This course will explore creative approaches to conservation via case studies in local and regional conservation, watershed protection, urban forestry, and related policy. The course will end with an optional field trip to Redlair Preserve (Gaston County) where participants can experience first-hand the human and natural history, as well as the community value, of this 1,400-acre extraordinary preserve.

 

This course will be primarily lecture, but it will include some group participation.

Suggested Readings

Participants will receive a suggested reading list in advance of the course.

Instructor: Dave Cable, MS

Cost

$44

Location

Online

Enrollment

min 5, max 20 students

Day

Tuesday

Time

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Dates

Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; Mar. 2, 9

Status: Registration Closed

Exploring Math with Puzzles and Problems

Cost

$33 or 44

Location

Online

Enrollment

min 5, max 25 students

Day

Tuesday

Time

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Dates

Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

This course will reveal some interesting math principles and tools by solving puzzles and problems. As examples for probability, we will consider strategies for a “truel” (a three-person duel) and the Monty Hall (“Let’s Make a Deal”) Problem.  We’ll apply number theory to the “Die Hard Riddle.” We’ll consider how combinatorics are useful in probability – poker or bridge, anyone? In plane geometry, we’ll have a short simple proof of the Pythagorean theorem – a useful idea for firefighters figuring out how to extend a ladder from a truck to a burning building.

 

No prior knowledge is assumed.  Be reassured very little algebra or computation will be in the topics we cover. The instructor will provide lecture and demonstrations of the material. Student questions and suggestions will be strongly encouraged.

Suggested Readings

The instructor will provide suggested readings.

Status: Registration Closed

Introduction to 20th Century Latin American Literature

Cost

$66

Location

Online

Enrollment

min 8, max 15 students

Day

Tuesday

Time

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Dates

Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

This class will introduce the importance of late 20th-century Latin American literature by focusing on three authors who gained international acclaim. Gabriela Mistral, the first person in the Americas to win a Nobel Prize in Literature, is a poet from Chile. Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges, nominated eight times for a Nobel Prize, is a highly influential writer of genre-bending metafictions, essays, and poetry. His knowledge of world literatures and philosophies are woven into his short stories of alternate realities. The Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize for writing One Hundred Years of Solitude. We will explore his themes of magical realism and circular time through a reading of several of his short stories. While this course will focus on these three authors, other influential Hispanic writers will also be discussed.

 

This course will be primarily lecture, but it will include some group participation.

Required Readings

Borges, Jorge Luis. Ficciones. Various translators, Grove Press, 1962.

NOTE: Be sure you are getting the English edition, as “Ficciones” is also the title to the Spanish edition.

 

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. Collected Stories: Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Translated by Gregory Rabassa and J. S. Bernstein, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1984.

 

These books may also be available from other sources.

 

Students will be provided with copies of, or links to, the poetry by Gabriela Mistral and Jorge Luis Borges.

 

Suggested Reading

Other material will be suggested as the course progresses.

Status: Registration Closed

The Jazz Age: America in the 1920s

Cost

$66

Location

The Pines

Enrollment

min 20, max 40 students

Day

Tuesday

Time

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Dates

Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

This course will explore the dramatic changes and events from 1920 to 1932, America’s Jazz Age. Topics will include Prohibition, vote for women, KKK, Scopes Trial, Red Scare, immigration, revolution in manners and morals, Lindbergh, and causes of the Great Depression.

 

This course will be primarily lecture, but it will include some group participation.

Required Readings

None

Status: Registration Closed

Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad

Cost

$55

Location

Online

Enrollment

min 6, max 8 students

Day

Tuesday

Time

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Dates

Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

Before Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain wrote for newspapers. Innocents Abroad: or The New Pilgrims’ Progress is quintessential Twain, reporting his travels on a Mediterranean cruise to Europe and the Holy Lands. His dispatches puncture inflated romantic expectations of mundane foreign sights, but many of his most acerbic – and funniest – descriptions are about his fellow travelers. Twain’s writing in Innocents provokes us to consider some uncomfortable cultural assumptions about ourselves and others, but it tempers our chagrin with his ability to make us laugh at ourselves as well as others.

 

This course will be primarily lecture, but it will include some group participation.

Required Readings

Twain, Mark. Innocents Abroad: or the New Pilgrims’ Progress, any edition. [Hyperlink goes to the free Project Gutenberg version.]

 

This book may also be available from other sources.

 

Suggested Reading

The instructor will suggest additional readings in class.