This series immerses parents in the undergraduate remote learning experience at Penn. In each single-session class, you will learn from one of Penn's eminent faculty members and engage with fellow Penn parents around the world. 

With topics ranging from organizational behavior to astrophysics, these courses allow you to take part in the student academic experience at Penn this fall, and see what it's like for your student in this virtual environment. If you have questions about these events, please contact us at

These events have ended, but we are planning for more in the future - stay tuned!


The Role of Universities in Society
Monday, October 19 | 6:00 PM EST
Presented by Ira Harkavy, Associate Vice President and Founding Director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships

The founding purposes of college and universities in the United States, including colonial colleges, historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, and research universities, focused on service and social responsibility. During this class, participants will learn about the historical and current expression of higher education's democratic purpose. In small breakout rooms, participants will discuss their perspectives on the purpose of higher education and the role of universities in their local communities, as well as explore what else needs to be done in light of recent developments, such as COVID-19, the killing of George Floyd and others, and Black Lives Matter. Participants will also gain insight into Penn's longstanding tradition of civic and community engagement from Benjamin Franklin's founding of Penn to the University's 2020 Year of Civic Engagement, and the work of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships.
This event has ended.

Introduction to Sociological Research Methods
Wednesday, October 21 | 6:30 PM EST
Presented by Melissa Wilde, Professor of Sociology

How do researchers "do" social research? Professor Wilde will introduce participants to the methods used in sociological research and how those five methods are used to conduct that research. We will examine the benefits and shortcomings of each of the five main methods and learn how to evaluate research questions and the methods they employ.
This event has ended.


Russian Poetry and Art Outside of Russia: Latvia's Multimedia Orbita Group
Thursday, October 22 | 6:00 PM EST
Presented by Kevin M. F. Platt, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Russian and East European Studies

When the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, large populations of Russians and Russian speakers were left stranded as what social scientists call “beached diasporas” in the former Soviet states. Present-day Latvia is home to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Russians, who are busily going about the business of living their lives. For some of them, this means making art and writing poetry. But what does it mean to make “Russian culture” outside of Russia? In this class we will examine the work of the multimedia art and poetry group Orbita, which is based in Riga and highly active on in festivals in Europe, Russia and the USA. Orbita is a demonstration of multicultural Latvian cultural life—and of Russian culture out of bounds. Its works are fascinating studies in the modern condition more generally, and in the particularity of life in Eastern Europe thirty years after the Soviet collapse. 
This event has ended.


What Makes a Poem a [Black] Poem?
Thursday, October 22 | 7:30 PM EST
Presented by Herman Beavers, Faculty Director of the Civic House and Civic Scholars Program and Professor of English and Africana Studies at Penn.

Our task in this course is to address some of the issues surrounding the composition and reception of African American poetry in the 21st Century. We’ll be talking about several very short poems by African American poets as we try to determine how their works interrogate what it means to be human. Dr. Beavers is a School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research recipient, in recognition of his legendary attention to advising Penn students. His academically-based service course on playwright August Wilson was awarded the first Community Engagement Award from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at Penn. As Faculty Director of Civic House and the Civic Scholars Program, Dr. Beavers leads Penn’s hub for civic and community engagement, promoting collaboration between Penn and Philadelphia nonprofit organizations.
This event has ended.


The Art of Fair Use
Monday, October 26 | 6:00 PM EST
Presented by Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema & Media Studies and English

When can you use copyrighted material without permission? What are the arguments for and against the often controversial and misunderstood doctrine of Fair Use? In this session, you will learn about Fair Use and hone both your legal and aesthetic skills.
This event has ended.


Gravity's Playground: Tides and Resonances
Monday, October 26 | 7:30 PM EST

Presented by Robyn Sanderson, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Gravity is responsible for some of the most spectacular features of our universe. This lecture is about the mechanisms that drive the tides in our oceans and the volcanoes of Io, destroy galaxies, and pattern the orbits of asteroids in the solar system and stars in our Galaxy. After this lecture, we'll use gravity to weigh a nearby star and search for resonant patterns among its seven planets.
This event has ended.


Dynamical Systems from Stability to Chaos
Wednesday, October 28 | 6:00 PM EST

Presented by Rob Ghrist, Andrea Mitchell PIK Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Systems Engineering

This course will introduce you to the mathematical concept of applied dynamical systems. We'll learn how the mathematics of stability and chaos are used to describe and engineer the world around us. We'll draft from real-world examples of mathematical systems, biological oscillators, social networks, economics, and more. No mathematical or engineering experience required.
This event has ended.


Learning from Those Who've Left: Employee Mobility and Knowledge Flows in Tech
Thursday, October 29 | 7:30 PM EST

Presented by Lori Rosenkopf, Simon and Midge Palley Professor of Management

When an employee leaves one firm and joins another, how does this hurt or benefit each firm? Professor Rosenkopf will begin the session with a TED-style presentation introducing her research on mobility and knowledge flows. This will follow with an interactive format demonstrating how she challenges students to use research as a springboard for learning in her class, and how the remote class setting has enabled more student interaction with alumni practitioners.
This event has ended.


Collaborative Close Reading: Understanding Difficulty Together
Thursday, October 29 | 7:30 PM EST

Presented by Al Filreis, Kelly Family Professor of English, Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, and Faculty Director of Kelly Writers House

In this one-hour collaborative "close reading," participants will discuss a single exciting but supposedly "difficult" poem. Participants need only be ready to stretch their minds, be open to possible interpretations of their friends and peers, and be open to the fun of such intense conversation. The poem will be very short and will be disclosed when the group joins the discussion.
This event has ended.