OLLI’s class catalog is published three times a year–in August, November and April–and is our primary marketing item.
We have a standard for course descriptions and instructor bios. These are the standards we use for catalog editing and preparation. You do not need to adhere to these. In fact, we prefer that you don’t. Give us as much information as you wish about the topics you intend to cover, the method(s) you will be using, and generally what members can expect. Our wonderful team of catalog editors will craft a description that meets our standards.
Now, we know a few of you are possessive of your course description and may wish to take a crack at crafting your own. (Not recommended, BTW). For your information, here is what we ask our editors to do.
LENGTH: 500 character length limit. Note: not 500 words. We use www.lettercount.com, a free online tool, to track characters. Space is limited, and this allows for course descriptions of roughly equal length.
VOICE: We do not use the passive voice. Instead descriptions are in the second person active voice: ‘you will…’.
Although there is probably nothing really wrong with course descriptions that start with, “This course will …” , these extraneous words are generally the first to go when we start editing. Use action words to describe what the member can expect from the class, and what you expect from them.
- Topics you will cover
- Method(s) you will use (lecture; lecture/discussion; hands-on work; group work; field trips)
- Prerequisite skills, knowledge, or abilities if any
- Materials and cost
- Homework if any
BIOGRAPHIES: We use a 250 character limit for biographies, measured by lettercount.com. Generally our bios start with degrees or credentials applicable to your course. Make sure to include these, even if we don’t use them. Your experience with the topic (whether acquired through interest or profession) is useful. Some bios include info unrelated to the course, but provide our members insight into you.
Our class catalogs are works of art, both visually and in the breadth of information they convey. We have the recent ones here as PDF files. Click on one to look through it here or download it to your PC or mobile device.
Back to Resource List