OLLI Teaching

Teaching @ OLLI

During the fall of 2020, several student members of the NRT cohort taught a 3-session course through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University's College of Continuing and Professional Studies. The course was called Sensory Loss Research: Exploring Assistive Technologies. Check out the brief course description below:

What is considered state-of-the-art in treating hearing and vision loss and what sensory-science research is currently being conducted by the University of Minnesota? The foundation of this course is an exploration of assistive technologies that address sensory loss. Led by Matthew Waggenspack, graduate students involved in these studies will discuss treatments, rehabilitation, and implantable devices that aim to restore hearing, vision, and balance.


Session 1: Hearing

Instructors: Matthew Waggenspack and Kristi Oeding

Topics: Basics of hearing loss, current trends in research on hearing aids and cochlear implants, over-the-counter hearing aids, link between hearing loss and cognitive decline

Check out this fun animation taking you on a 5 minute journey of sound from the outside world to your brain!  

Headshot of Matthew Waggenspack
Headshot of Kristi Oeding

Session 2: Vision

Instructor: Walter Wu

Topics: Basics of low vision, assistive technology for reading and mobility for individuals with low vision, accessibility features on smartphones and laptops, impact of pandemic on visually-impaired people

Explore these apps that simulate what it is like to have low vision:


Headshot of Walter Wu

Session 3: Neuromodulation and Implants

Instructors: Abigail Heiller, Andrew Freedman, Erin O'Neill

Topics: Basics of neuromodulation, sensory protheses (cochlear implants and retinal implants), development of new auditory nerve implant, personal experiences with implants

Headshot of Abigail Heiller
Headshot of Andrew Freedman
Headshot of Erin O'Neill