US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for June 8, 2020: A grand experiment

The ANA Summer Seminar may have been canceled, but the association is filling the void with free, condensed online classes through its eLearning Academy.

Original images courtesy of ANA.

The decision by the American Numismatic Association to offer free online abbreviated editions of several of its programs from the canceled Summer Seminar to members and nonmembers alike is a great experiment that could lead to big changes.

The ANA was forced to cancel both of its weeklong sessions after officials at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, stopped all campus activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time classes were canceled in the more than 50-year history of the Summer Seminar.

The annual Summer Seminar is one of the best services the association offers to the collecting community. Every year, it holds more than a dozen classes on a wide range of numismatic subjects taught by experts in the field. I have taken several of the courses and have learned a great deal about grading, counterfeit detection and more.

Attending a weeklong Summer Seminar class is an investment in one’s numismatic future. It does cost participants hundreds of dollars to cover expenses, but the return on your money is invaluable. However, a student always had to attend a selected class in person, which could be a barrier.

The ANA eLearning Academy, through which the abbreviated classes will be held in late June and early July, is a grand experiment that could be a first step in a new direction. Modern technology makes remote learning easy. Future Summer Seminar classes could be offered not only for those students who attend the classes in person but also to students who would prefer to participate remotely. The ANA could charge for remote students, but at a cost savings, since students would not need lodging and food services.

Admittedly, some classes might not work remotely, including those requiring in-person examination of coins (grading and counterfeit-detection classes, as examples). But other classes could very well work.

One of our staff members is already signed up for classes this year. He will be reporting on his experiences after he “attends” the classes. We would like to hear from you as well.
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