There is now a Chromecast dongle attached to the TV in W4 which allows you to mirror the display on your Smart Phone or Tablet to the TV. Some setup is required to connect your device. If you want to use this facility please contact Terry Dillon on 0419 343 129.
Shirley's Chat 'N Chew group meet on the 3rd Friday for lunch at a local venue. Shirley is pictured here with Judith and Heidi holding the book she keeps in which people indicate whether they will be attending the next lunch - an important part of her process in running this very popular group.
REPORT FROM COURSE CO-ORDINATORS FORUM “THE POWER OF EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK FOR OUR U3A’S. Held 9th December Melbourne. Geraldine McCorkell
Attended by Geraldine McCorkell and Judith Borthwick representing Benalla U3A.
The objectives of the forum were:
The table Benalla U3A were allocated had members representing Hawthorn, Bayside, Sydney Central U3A and 2 others. Their memberships ranged from 800 to 1500. The two larger U3A’s had 2 people manning a 5 day week office.
The problem of the empty classroom syndrome where people enrol and then stop attending were attributed to: were the name and title appropriate; poor content, too short/too long, accurate Course description, Friday pm not the best time to run a course.
Members disappear – need to know why, but the membership is still growing – personal communication suggested.
Ideas for addressing this included; informal chats, feedback from individuals, systematic informal feedback; tutors ask participants for feedback at the end of the course/year to gauge quality and content of activity.
Welcoming newcomers – monitor how they are welcomed into a group.
Tutors – sometimes difficult to get quality tutors.
U3A Online administered from Queensland University offer 50 courses, including 2 Australian History. Convenor or leader prints off the material needed for each session.
All the bigger U3A’s – over 100 members – had waiting lists. These caused a lot of frustration and upset many people.
Two suggestions were:
Guest speaker Kim Johnston Co-ordinator of Research and Evaluation at EACH, a community Health Organisation, led the group through Sustaining and Building a Feedback/Evaluation Culture within U3A’s.
A basic Survey Monkey is free, but one of the larger groups (Bayside I think) paid $19 a month for use of this tool.
Judith and I both enjoyed the Forum and talking to other members. Apart from the fact they put the wrong address for the Celtic club on the form which left Judith and I wandering around Queen St. for a while in the rain until a member of the Network who was looking for `strays’ found us. Oh dear!!!
Timetable and enrolment documents for 2017 are now available on the 'Join Us' page of this website. Convenors are listed in the Course/Activity and Contacts List for 2017 sent out with the November timetable and available on this page. There will also be a holiday mail out (postal and email) containing course information and other enrolment documentation in early January.
While there have been no significant changes in the timetable pending a possible move in mid 2017, there have been two changes to thematic course names. 'Opera' now reflects the theme 'In the Mood for Opera' while 'Astronomy' is broadening it's scope to 'Exploring the Universe'. They both sound rather magical and inviting.
The Tech Savvy program has drawn upon this year's experience in offering a fortnightly 'Tech Savvy Beginners' and alternate fortnightly 'Tech Savvy Plus' courses. These are both 'hands on' courses, with participants bringing their own devices or using our iPad or Samsung tablets which are available on loan. 'Tech Savvy' will continue, but under the name 'Tech Savvy Talks' to reduce confusion with the other groups. An intermediate course may be offered in Semester II for continuing beginners.
Terry Dillon has been working in consultation with the Executive to develop a data base which will provide easily updated and accessible class lists, listings of courses being taken by individual members and other reports which may be required during the year.
The transition to the new data base will involve some changes in the enrolment process to be trialled in January. The key change is that renewing members will proceed to a table where they will be given a form generated from the data base containing their already listed details and a list of courses/activities for 207. Renewing members will make any changes to their address details, use the list of courses and activities on the form to 'tick' their 2017 courses then return this form for input into the data base. The usual membership and enrolment forms will continue to be used for available for new, postal and RedB4 bookshop enrolments and as website linked pdf's.
Judith Borthwick and Geraldine McCorkell are travelling to Melbourne on Friday 9th December to attend U3A Network Victoria's annual Course Coordinators' forum. The title of this year's conference is "The Power of Evaluation and Feedback". It will be good to hear back from Geraldine and Judith about the many forms of feedback and evaluation we can tap into for use at our U3A's to be covered.
Keep an eye on the U3A Network's E-Bulletins on the U3A Network's website - you may like to put your name down for next year's conference, which is always held at the end of the year. (The November 16 bulletin includes information about a new U3A Online course - 'The History of Espionage'! Perhaps you might know someone who'l like to do such a course online, or even better, us the course materials to host a class group for Benalla U3a members?)
There will be a Convenors' meeting on February 17th from 2 to 3.15 pm in W4.
On Friday 15th July a well attended meeting of convenors was held in W4.
The meeting provided the opportunity for Terry to update convenors about plans for 2017 and for convenors to share news of groups and activities.
Our draft 'Convenors A-Z' and U3A Network Victoria's Tutors Handbook were also distributed. The A-Z will be drawn upon next year to customize U3A's Tutors Handbook for Benalla.
Freida spoke about the Newsletter arrangements for the remainder of the year and Barry told us about U3A Benalla's high and increasing participation rates, with members increasingly attending two or more courses/activities.
The date for the first Convenors' meeting for 2017 has already been set - please pencil Friday afternoon 17th of February into your diaries.
The enrolment dates of 16th January at Cooinda and 18th January at the Senior Citizens have been decided on, wth final confirmation to follow contact with the venues.
Normally we hold our meeting early in the year, however we held back this year as we have been holding discussions with Benalla Council Officers and members of the Seniors’ executive.
We will provide you with an update & discuss plans for 2017. I hope all groups will be able to send a representative, especially those of you who use W4.
A volunteer convenor is sought for the Games group which meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 1.30 to 3.30 in W4. Duties involve setting up the room with card table/s; distributing games; arranging for milk for coffee break; setting up urn and of course welcoming and supporting members. There is a perk to the position –the work also involves playing games such as cards; scrabble and mahjong with other members for two hours! Some light lifting required. If you are interested or would like further information, please call Terry Case on 5762 1700.
Six new programs, with six new or returning convenors, have now commenced and submitted their first newsletter reports for the year:
The Executive Committee/Programs Committee usually hold a Convenors' meeting in first Semester. It's on the drawing board - more news later!
Enrolment days have been and gone and we are now into Week 2 of the timetable. It's a busy time for convenors new and old. Last week I was involved in helping plan for and support the Playreading group; tomorrow I'm convening the Tech Savvy Group; next Monday 'Writing Workshop', then next Wednesday the new 'Tech Savvy Drop In' session. Going to someone else's group as a participant comes as quite a relief!
New courses/activities 'Playreading', 'Collectors', 'Brain Games', 'Birdwatching', 'Tech Savvy Drop In' and 'Rail and Tourism' have added variety to our U3A program and are proving popular. A big question though - will there be enough chairs in W4???
The website has been updated for the New Year, with revised details on each course/group page, some new photos, and some early contributions from some convenors to refer on to their group members. A reminder to convenors - don't forget to take photos from time to time to add to the website/newsletter. Also, don't forget the newsletter report due at midday on the fourth Monday - in this case the 22nd February.
Another question to think about - do you have the photocopier number? Did someone remember the milk? Other considerations...will the photocopier work? Is the urn going to boil just in time?
Keith Rogers put it well during the Playreading group when he reflected that even if he is standing up looking confident and has done this sort of thing before, inside he's still quite worried and anxious that people will engage with the group and that it will go well.
So, as I go back to my planning for tomorrow (fingers crossed!), I'd like to wish my fellow convenors all the best for the coming year!
It's school holiday time again and with the changeover from the Centre's administration of the Barkly Street building, Terry has made arrangements to ensure that there is a good fit between the comings and goings of convenors and the security system. His instructions can be found on the home page or on the President's page.
Workshop/conference resources are now available, including the presentations from the U3A Asia Pacific Alliance Conference in late May; the website developed as a model for U3A North East Victoria's Digital Literacy Information Session on July 31 and my report on the U3A Network Victoria conference in mid August.
It's nearing the end of the year and a good time to take photographs to add to our website. Roving reporters (Geraldine or Bev) may call in to your group to take a photo or two. It would also be wonderful if you could take or arrange for someone to take some photos of your group, especially if you haven't seen any new ones on the website lately.
As new convenor of the Writing Workshop and Tech Savvy Seniors groups I have a greater appreciation of the important role convenors play in ensuring a rich and interesting experience members who attend their groups. Thank you so much convenors for your commitment and hard work.
This page includes news of convenors' activities, as well of notices of particular relevance to convenors.
List of Convenors - 2017 (pdf)
Convenors A-Z - 2017 (pdf)
Course Proposal Form - 2017 (Pdf) (Word doc)
Education Matters - June 2016 (U3A Vic Network)
Education Matters - links to current edition
(converts web pages into pdf's without clutter--just add web address)
U3A North East Region ran a Digital Information session in Shepparton on Friday 31st July 2015 aimed at convenors and tutors. If you were unable to go, catch up on what happened on the demonstration website prepared for the occasion.