How we spend our time at the Oregon Extension
No day at the OE is exactly like any other, but we do find there is a general daily rhythm over the course of the semester. During the Core Reading period, Monday through Thursday, we meet at 9 a.m. in the library for a prelude – a short poem or reading, followed by a minute of silence – and then we hear a lecture that explores an aspect of our core texts for the week. At about 10:30 a.m. we take a break, and then assemble in our small groups at 11 a.m. in faculty living rooms to sip tea or coffee and discuss the day’s reading until 12:30 p.m. or so.
Because we assign no homework on weekends, we use Monday’s discussion time slot to arrange one-on-one faculty-student conferences – conversations that provide an intentional space for discussing the student’s academic work and any other questions or concerns.
After we break for lunch at 12:30, students have the afternoon and evening to complete the reading and note-taking assignment for the following day. Students finish their work at varying times, usually allowing opportunities to try a new recipe for supper, to write a letter home, or to go in search of the resident Great Blue Heron along the millpond path.
Fridays are a little special. We meet in the library for a prelude and announcements at 9 a.m., as usual, but then we move into discussion groups without a lecture. We gather in the Cookhouse at 11 a.m. for coffee break and a delicious sugary treat and then reassemble in our groups where students share aloud their one-page memos of the week.
After lunch on Fridays, we gather for chores at 1:30 p.m. – slinging firewood, vacuuming the library, learning to use a chainsaw – and then the weekend begins around 4 p.m. with a free evening. The town trip happens on Friday or Saturday; weekends throughout the semester offer day hikes, Sunday evening vespers, the occasional Shakespeare play in Ashland, and, most importantly, free time to be and play and breathe deep.
During the Project weeks, the day’s structure is designed by each student. Apart from a one-hour daily meeting scheduled with a faculty project advisor, the day is open for deeply engaged research and writing, allowing time for students to immerse themselves in topics they have chosen according to their own interests.