400 Oasis Classes and Counting!

Jon Dehner“After I retired in 2010, something that I had always been interested in but never had the time to do when I was working full time was to learn more about history,” says Oasis participant Jon Dehner. Jon has taken over 400 classes since 2010 with St. Louis Oasis. “Oasis offers a great array of history classes, many taught by retired high school history teachers. I’ve been particularly interested in Oasis’ courses on US history and the Middle East.”

Since the pandemic, Jon has taken more than ten virtual classes with Oasis, including St. Louis Icons, Postcards to the Past, and Confronting Challenges in Medical Ethics. “I’ve enjoyed taking virtual classes this summer, especially when it’s an art history class,” says Jon. “When you are in a classroom, it can be difficult to see the images clearly when projected, but when you are using your own computer, you can see the illustrations up close.”

Taking virtual classes has helped him keep busy this summer amid the pandemic.

“My experiences with virtual classes have been very similar to in-person classes,” says Jon. “You can chime in at any point by using the question and answer function of Zoom, and there is always time leftover to ask questions. It feels very similar to an in-person class. A lot of the teachers I’ve taken classes with virtually I’ve had in-person, so it’s been nice to continue learning from my favorite Oasis teachers from the comfort of my home.”

For Jon, the transition to participate with Oasis over a digital format has been a smooth process.

“Participating in Oasis’ virtual classes is very easy,” says Jon. “You only need to know how to install Zoom, and that’s about it. Using Zoom is very easy once you learn the basics. The day of your class, they send you a reminder that you have a webinar coming up, and all you need to do is click on the link and you are in the class. It’s that easy.”

Jon says that he has needed to use Zoom for many aspects of his daily life now. In addition to using Zoom with Oasis, he’s part of several other organizations who are using Zoom to stay connected.

Why does he keep taking Oasis classes? The bang for your buck.

Jon says, “Since COVID, many organizations have been offering free seminars that you can attend. However, Oasis’ seminars are reasonably priced, and when you look at the quality of the classes that Oasis produces that are like a university-level class, Oasis is a real bargain.”

Jon has two pieces of advice for people that are unsure about learning a new digital platform.

“If you have children, they are a great resource to help get you started using Zoom if you are having technical difficulties,” says Jon. “There are also companies that you can call who will come to your home if you need assistance with using your computer and help answer any questions or fix any issues.”

Oasis has created a number of tutorials on how to engage with Zoom and has customer service representatives who can help people who are new to Zoom. If you are new to learning Zoom, you can learn more about this digital platform at www.oasisnet.org/new-to-zoom/

Oasis invites you to join Jon and hundreds of other Oasis participants who are connecting with us virtually. Take virtual classes led by local instructors on www.stloasis.org or virtual classes led by instructors from Oasis centers across the country on www.oasiseverywhere.org.

We look forward to seeing you “virtually” in a class soon!