The orientation day for Course Convenors in late January provided the opportunity to warmly welcome new convenors Janet Douglas, Helen Jeffree, Kathy Murphy, David Palmer and Judy Perry. We then worked through the Convenors A-Z document with additional information introduced by Dorothy and Terry when required. Dorothy demonstrated the new microphone system, keys were distributed and signed for and protocols re the tea break, photocopying and room 'lock ups' discussed. Helen even tested out the microphone for use with her new 'Exercises for Fun' class. Meanwhile, the electricians were installing the new overhead projector in the U3A meeting room.
A Convenor's year begins with the chance to share information about groups and activities to members and new members attending enrolment days. There are two enrolment sessions - the first at 'The Hub', Cooinda on Monday 15th January from 9.30 to 11.30 pm; then a larger session in the main room at the Benalla Senior Citizens' Community Centre, again at 9.30 to 11.30 pm.
Some helpful hints for new convenors - bring along a sign of some description to put in front of you - you will be sitting at tables along with other convenors - together with information about your course and a pad on which to write notes about people's requests.
Some groups receive lots of 'visits' - this is quite likely to be the case for new groups.
The enrolment days also provide an opportunity for members to catch up and for new members to be welcomed and introduced to other members. Tea and coffee are available throughout the morning.
If you are unable to attend one or both sessions and have information you would like to share about the group, you can 'pair' with another convenor or provide the information to Programs Coordinator, Terry Case, who will share it.
Late enrolments are accepted by mail or at the RedB4 Book Shop next to Hide's Bakery (forms/monies are left in envelopes for collection by U3A representative). You may also find that rare cases members bring their forms and money to class - in this case you will need to pass it on (more details later).
The enrolment days are to be followed up by a meeting for convenors on Thursday 25th January from 9.30 to 11.30 am in the U3A meeting room.
See you there!
An orientation day for Course Convenors will be held at the U3A room in the Benalla Senior Citizens Community Centre on Thursday Jan 25 from 9.30 to 11.30 am. All convenors are asked to attend.
A few details from our latest meeting that some of you were unable to attend.
If you wish to extend your classes into December it is most important that you inform Dorothy asap so she can book them with the Council. At present we are working on all regular classes in the Seniors finishing in November, we will then offer members who wish to organize December meetings for games, films, coffee sessions etc the chance to book the room. Bill Dewing is the first to book a spot taking one of my Politics times, as we will not meet in December.
It is now possible to book the room for a 4 pm to 6.30pm session, we will use early December and late January period for a trial period.
Next year we will extend the timetable in Semester 2 to include the first 2 weeks of December. If you do not want to run a class in this period you must let me know by April 2017 when I start working on the Semester 2 timetable.
The TV will be raised to enable large classes to view it without the present difficulties. We are investigating costs and practicalities of purchasing an acoustic curtain to block some of the some of the noise generated by our TV and by the Seniors.
We will try to obtain funding for members to attend a First Aid course, but in an emergency please ring 000 for an ambulance.
I am now preparing timetables and course outlines for the next newsletter, if you have not informed me of any changes you intend please do so immediately.
Thank you to all our Tutors from myself and the Executive. We are pleased to be able to offer such a wide range of courses resulting in our membership this year reaching 250.
A convenors' meeting will be held on Monday, 9 October at 2.30pm. This will be an opportunity to discuss how we are settling in.
Dorothy Webber President
This month there are quite a few 'housekeeping items' we need to share, most related to the transition to our new room. They have been included in the newsletter, however we are also including them here.
When the dust settles on our move to the new location we will be stocktaking our equipment. Surplus or outdated equipment will be offered to members. Watch this space.
Tables in U3A Meeting Room
There’s a ‘knack’ to unlocking the tables for use- contact Dorothy if you or your classes are having difficulties in unfolding/moving them. A demonstration will be arranged.
Wi Fi Modem – new procedure
The modem is to be unplugged from the power supply after use as it may overheat. Please return it to the devices box with the mouse and remote for use by the next class. Further info: 5762 8171.
Use of the Urn
We have asked the Council to investigate the boiling water problem in the kitchen as there has not been enough boiling water for the larger classes. The urn can be used for larger groups. It is also possible to use the boiling water system in the smaller kitchen if necessary.
iPad and Tablet Loans
iPads and Samsung tablets are available for short term loan to members keen to try and perhaps purchase one. Contact Bev on 5762 8171 if you are interested.
A most informative session for convenors covering the transition and orientation to our new Meeting Room at the Benalla Seniors Community Centre was held on Wednesday 7th July.
U3A Benalla President Dorothy Webber introduced Greg from the council who welcomed us to our new room and provided much valuable information to assist us in facilitating the transition of our groups to the room.
Convenors were most impressed with the wonderful new television and sound system. Important information relating to airconditioning was discussed along with other aspects such as keys.
Terry Dillon has since prepared a set of instructions for the use of the TV, computer/wifi and DVD CD player. A laminated set of these instructions will be placed close the the television.
The Executive is keen to hear feedback from convenors and groups over the coming month and will review the transition at the August executive meeting. Please contact Dorothy with your feedback.
(I'm sorry to say that I forgot to take a photograph of the fully attended meeting of convenors, Next time!).
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.
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!!!
This page includes news of convenors' activities, as well of notices of particular relevance to convenors.
List of Convenors - 2018 (pdf) (to be added shortly)
Convenors A-Z - 2018 (pdf)
Course Proposal Form - 2018 (Word doc)
Education Matters - links to current edition
(converts web pages into pdf's without clutter--just add web address)
Digital Information session North East region U3A's - 2015