June 30, 2020
Dear Members & Friends:
We have come a long way since mid-March when the pandemic forced us to cancel all remaining in-person classes. Fortunately, with the help of board and committee members and a few brave group leaders, we ventured online and held three successful pilot courses this spring.
BHS’ online courses exceeded expectations – our own and the majority of the 90+ members who participated. Weekly attendance was high and, in a survey conducted in May, 93% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied or highly satisfied with their online classes. The spring pilot program provided invaluable experience organizing and supporting online courses. Zoom training was offered to group leaders and course participants, and class rehearsals helped us improve the online experience for members and course leaders alike.
We also discovered that online classes offer a number of silver linings. Attendance was high in part because it is easy to attend from home. Members in the art and photography courses noted that it was easier to examine the intricacies of images shared online than it is viewing the same image projected onto a screen in front of a classroom. And course leaders can participate from anywhere. One online course leader was located on Beacon Hill, a second was on Cape Cod, and the third led her course from Florida. Also, some of our fall courses will have no limit to class size enabling us to better fulfill member course requests.
This fall, we are pleased to offer 15 online courses on art, music, history, literature, science, politics and current events. Based on the success of our pilot program, I am confident that BHS’ online program can thrive until we can return to in-person classes. And, when that day comes, BHS will be a stronger organization capable of offering in-person, online, and hybrid classes.
Please note that we have reduced BHS’ membership dues to just $100 this year to boost participation in our online program. Registration fees will remain $100 per semester and members will be able to register for 2 to 3 courses (space permitting) beginning September 1.
Please save Wednesday, September 9 at 2 pm for BHS’ first-ever virtual kickoff where you’ll be able to see and hear our fall course leaders briefly introduce their online courses. Our fall registration deadline is September 13 and classes begin October 5th.
I look forward to ‘seeing’ you in class this fall.
Bill Sherden, President
Beacon Hill Seminars