Volunteering | Become a Tutor

Our tutors and facilitators are the hub of our organisation. They give their time and knowledge freely, to make U3APP what it is. Sharing skills amongst ourselves is the core idea behind the U3A organisation.

If you have some special knowledge or skill that you would  like to share in any format, please contact the Course Coordination Team. The Tutor Proposal Form can be downloaded by clicking here.  The Information Session Proposal Form can be downloaded by clicking here.

If you would like more information before you complete the form, please email coursecoord@u3app.org.au, and one of the team members will get in touch with you (please include contact details).  Comprehensive detail on the tutor role is in the U3A Port Phillip Tutor Handbook, accessible here (login required).

Below are a series of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) which may help you decide whether you want to become a tutor. Click on the arrow on the left of a question to see the answer.

FAQs for Tutors

What qualifications do tutors need?

Generally speaking, you require nothing more than interest, knowledge or experience in the subject you want to teach, and the time to prepare and present classes.

Tutors wishing to conduct exercise classes need to verify to the curriculum team that they are sufficiently trained so as to ensure the safety of those participating in those classes.

What kinds of courses does U3A Port Phillip currently run?

To see our complete course program, click here. But we are interested in any ideas for new courses, even if they are in a category we don’t currently cover.

How long are our courses and how often do they run?

Courses range in length from a full year to a single class, with everything in between. Classes vary in length from 0.5 hour to 3 hours. When you put in a Course Proposal form, you simply indicate how many sessions, how long each session will last, and what frequency you prefer (weekly, fortnightly or monthly).
Courses are held during four terms, which coincide with the school terms in Victoria. A tutor can choose to continue classes during the breaks between terms if the venue is available.

On the form you also indicate when you would like to start and finish any course that runs for less than a full year, and whether you want a break during the year if, for example, you are planning a trip away.

When are classes held?

Most courses are held between 9:30am and 5:00pm, but some start as early as 9:15am, and finish as late as 6:15pm. On-line courses have more flexible hours, some running in the evening

In the timetable we allow a 15 minute break between classes in each room so that tutors can use this time to arrange chairs and tables, or set up AV equipment. On-line courses are scheduled with a 30 minute break to ensure there is no overlap if a class runs over time.

The normal office hours at the Mary Kehoe Centre are 9:30am until 3:30pm, during which time there will be an Office Volunteer in the Office to help you with any queries, provide whiteboard markers, etc.

What happens on public holidays?

There are no classes at the Mary Kehoe Centre on public holidays, nor during school holidays, and the Office is closed on those days.

On-line courses may run on public holidays or in the school holidays.

In 2020, U3APP began scheduling special holiday programs comprising short courses (from 1 to 5 sessions).

How do I get access to the venue for my course?

The Office hours at the Mary Kehoe Centre (MKC) are 9:30am until 3:30pm. If your course is held at MKC and starts before 9:30 or starts or finishes after 3:30, please ask an Office Volunteer to brief you on the procedures for opening up in the morning and locking up in the evening. If you are teaching at another venue, you will need to be briefed on how you get access.

How do I use Zoom to run a course on-line?

U3APP has a number of Zoom accounts which are used to run on-line courses. If your course runs on-line, the IT team will schedule the recurring Zoom meeting for you at the appropriate time. Links to the Zoom meetings for every on-line class are put up on the website on a members-only page (for security). You, and all your course members, simply click on the link to join the Zoom meeting up to 15 minutes before the class is scheduled to start.

As the tutor, you will need to use the "Claim host" facility in Zoom in order to become the host. You will then be able to use Zoom features like screen-sharing, breakout groups and whiteboards. For more details, go to Zoom for Tutors.

I'm not familiar with Zoom - how can I get some help?

Joining any Zoom meeting is easier if you already have Zoom installed on your computer or device. You can find instructions for installing and using Zoom here. There is also a page of instructions specifically for tutors called Zoom for Tutors, and a set of video tutorials.

An IT team member is on duty each day to help people use Zoom, both tutors and class members. If you're using Zoom at U3APP for the first time, one of the IT team will contact you to walk you through a practice session, and will also be available to assist if you have any difficulties when you run your classes. If you don't hear from us, and you would like help before your first class, please email us at webmaster@u3app.org.au.

How is the timetabling managed?

When you fill in a tutor proposal form, you indicate your preferred times, and any special room requirements. The Course Coordination team will then try to find the time that best suits you and fits into the existing timetable. As the Mary Kehoe Centre is quite heavily booked and as we have a limited number of Zoom accounts, this may require some compromise regarding time and venue.

Where are courses held?

Most of our courses are held at the Mary Kehoe Community Centre (MKC) in Danks Street, Albert Park. We also run courses in other City of Port Phillip council-owned Community Centres such as Sol Green, the Middle Park Library, the South Melbourne Community Centre, etc.

Some courses that don’t require any special equipment (eg a Book Group), are held in the tutor’s home.

If you think you would prefer to teach at a venue other than MKC, speak to one of the Course Coordination team about your preferences, and they will liaise with the Council to arrange a booking at the tutor’s preferred venue.

You can also run your course on-line from your own home using Zoom.

Do I need a permit to park near the Mary Kehoe Centre?

Parking in Danks Street and the nearby streets is restricted to 1 hour. The Council issues us with a number of parking permits for members to use, which allow you to park while you are in a class. Permits are always in short supply, so one or two are kept aside for tutors to ensure that they are not delayed by having to drive further to park a car. If you need one, identify yourself as a tutor and ask the Office Volunteer on duty.

How many people are there in a class?

The size of a class is determined by the number of people that the tutor is comfortable with, but may also be constrained by the size of the room available. Once the limit has been agreed with a tutor, we enrol people up to that limit. After that members wanting to join the course are put on a waitlist. Sometimes tutors will be asked if they are prepared to accept one or two more people if there are just a couple of people on the waitlist.

Is there audio visual equipment available for tutors to use?

At the Mary Kehoe Centre each of the three rooms has a large screen television, with a DVD player connected. This AV equipment is owned by U3APP. U3APP also has Apple TV and ChromeCast devices.

You can plug a laptop into the screens in any of the rooms, and U3APP has a Windows laptop if you don’t want to use your own.

We also have a very effective Juno sound system which provides amplification for voice, using a small wireless microphone that hangs comfortably around one’s neck. It is usually used in the Hall, but also occasionally for larger groups in Room 3. Juno can also be used to amplify any other sound source eg iPad, computer, CD player etc, and this works in conjunction with the microphone.

Is there wifi?

The Mary Kehoe Centre (MKC) is connected to the NBN, so we have good WiFi connectivity.  Details for connection can be obtained from the Office Volunteer or tutorsupport@u3app.org.au.  Venues other than the MKC may or may not have WiFi.  Connectivity will be verified prior to booking classes at those venues should WiFi access be required.

Is there a secure space where I can leave equipment between classes?

At Mary Kehoe Centre (MKC), there is a storeroom off the Hall where tutors can leave equipment for courses such as art, exercise and music.

During COVID, no equipment should be left at any of the venues.

What if I need to photocopy notes for my course?

There is a photocopier in the Office at Mary Kehoe Centre which tutors can use to copy material used in their course, with no charge.

Are tutors paid?

Everyone at U3APP is a volunteer, so the answer is NO.

Can I claim expenses?

U3APP does not support travel expenses for any of our volunteers, nor purchase of materials for classes, for example, books for book clubs, art equipment for art students, payment for life drawing models, musical instruments, payment for rentals of plays, etc.  Some tutors require a co-payment from students to cover the cost of some items.

If tutors need to pay for photocopying or making minor purchases, U3APP provides an annual allowance of $50/class/year.  No documentation is required other than the standard Expense Reimbursement Form which provides the Treasurer with the ability to deposit funds directly into a nominated bank account. The forms are available on line.

If equipment is required for the courses, tutors should seek information from the Tutor Support volunteer (tutorsupport@u3app.org.au) prior to purchase.

Are there attendance rolls?

U3APP keeps attendance records for all courses, using an electronic roll system we call e-rolls. Members are checked off on a small tablet with a touch screen. These tablets are kept at the Mary Kehoe Centre. Tutors can either use the tablet to mark the roll themselves, pass the tablet around the class, or delegate the job to a class member.

If you are holding your course at a venue other than MKC, or running it on-line using Zoom, you can install the e-roll app on your own device (tablet or smartphone). Please contact webmaster@u3app.org.au and we will email you an invitation to download and install the app, and provide advice on how to do so and how to use it.

How is enrolment managed?

U3APP has a volunteer Enrolment team which manages all the enrolment functions. Most enrolment is done on-line via our website. At the beginning of each year some members prefer to fill in a paper enrolment form, and during the year some may come into the Office and ask an Office Volunteer to enrol them in a course.

Please read the various sections of our Enrolment Help and Information to find out more about how members are enrolled in courses.

Are there any restrictions on enrolments?

Our most popular courses are Exercise courses, Language courses and Art courses. Our policy is to restrict members to no more than two of each. The policy is implemented after the event ie the system will not stop someone enrolling in more than two such courses. Instead we check from time to time and ask members to withdraw from the course(s) if they have exceeded the limit. The system also doesn't prevent members from enrolling in courses which are on at the same time. We assume that members will discover any clash for themselves and make their own decision about which course to withdraw from.

Can a tutor specify pre-requisites for a course?

Tutors of “advanced” courses can specify the level of knowledge or experience they expect attendees to have. If a member joins a course but does not have the required knowledge, it is up to the tutor to tell the person that the course isn’t suitable for him or her.

What "paperwork" is required to establish my course?

Firstly, complete the Tutor Proposal Form which can be downloaded by clicking here and follow the instructions to submit it. You will be contacted by the Course Coordination Team to set up your course. You will also be asked to complete our Volunteer Agreement, which defines your rights and responsibilities as a volunteer, including the need to protect the privacy of our members.

How do people find out about my course?

Information about courses is put into both the print version of the Course Program, and on to our website where people can enrol on-line.

New courses are advertised in the fortnightly U3APP newsletter, usually in more than one edition before the course commences.

How do I check what has been put in the Course Guide for my course?

When your course is created on the website by the IT team, you will be enrolled in the course as the tutor, and you will receive an enrolment confirmation email. If you click on the link in that email, you can see the description of your course and check that it is all correct and as you want it. If you want any changes, corrections or additions to what is there, you should contact the Course Coordination team coursecoord@u3app.org.au. asap. They will then modify the print version of the Course Guide, which triggers a corresponding change on the website.

Do tutors have any say in who enrols in their courses?

All enrolment is managed by the Enrolment Team. Members enrol for the duration of a course, up to one year. Enrolment opens in December for the following year, or during the year as new courses are added. Places in courses are allocated in order of enrolment time. No priority is given to people who have been members of a course in previous years.

Most courses will have new attendees joining during the length of the course – either because the course was not filled at the beginning, or because people drop out and others join from the waitlist. The rolls are updated every time there is a change to course membership, so tutors can see who is leaving and joining by looking at the rolls.

If tutors feel that there is a point where new people joining the class would be a disruption, they can reduce the class limit and ask the Enrolment team not to fill any vacancies.

How can I find out who has enrolled in my course?

On the page where your course is described (the page you reach if you click on your course name in any of the Course Guide pages), those enrolled the course are listed in the order they have enrolled. You must be logged in to see the list. Only names are displayed for privacy reasons. If new people enrol during the run of the course, they will appear at the end of the list.

How can I communicate with the members of my course?

Shortly before your course starts, you will be sent an email containing the names and email addresses of all those in your course. A new email will be sent each Friday with the updated list of attendees and their email addresses in a spreadsheet. The email addresses are in a single list ready for pasting into the "BCC" line of an email.
If you want to check whether there have been any new enrolments since the most recent list was sent, see the previous FAQ for instructions on how to see up-to-date enrolments. If you want the email address for a new member, please email a request to webmaster@u3app.org.au.

For privacy, you should set yourself as the primary recipient of any communications, then send copies to students via the BCC function so their e-mail addresses are not exposed to other course members.

How do I communicate more information about my course to the U3A membership?

If you want to change or add to the information about your course on the website, or you have extra information you would like put in our fortnightly U3APP newsletter, please send an email to coursecoord@u3app.org.au.

How do the waitlists work?

Popular courses often fill, and have a waitlist. If someone withdraws from a full course, their place is given to the next person on the waitlist. The Enrolment volunteer team actively manages the waitlists to maximise the opportunity for everyone to get into the courses they want. The following rules are applied:

  • If an enrolled member of a course has missed three classes without apology, their place will be given to someone on the waitlist, usually after contacting the member or the tutor to find out why the person isn’t attending.
  • If someone is going away and will miss classes for an extended period (e.g.  5 or more weekly courses, 3 or more for fortnightly courses, 2 or more for monthly courses), their place will be given to someone on the waitlist. The person who has left the course temporarily is put back on the waitlist, at the top, so that they are likely to get their place back after they return.
  • Places are held for anyone who misses classes because of illness.
What do I do if I want to change anything about my course?

Requests for any changes to room, time, start date, frequency, etc, should always be made directly to the Course Coordination Team , not the Office. The course coordinators will do their best to accommodate your request within the constraints of the timetable.

What do I do if I want or need to cancel a class?

It is important that a number of parts of the organisation are notified if you cancel a class, or if you are handing over management of your course to someone else for a period.

To convey any information about class cancellation or any other temporary change, you should always send an email to CourseCancellation@u3app.org.au. This will be automatically forwarded on to all those who need to know.

For cancellation of a class, we will notify all the course members (not just the ones in attendance on the day you announce the change) for you by email or by phone, depending on the timeframe.

What should I do if there are people on my course roll who never come to class?

If your course is full, the person will be removed by the Enrolment team and their place given to someone on the Waitlist. If your course isn't full, but you would like to remove someone from the e-roll who is not attending, please send an email to the Enrolment team itemteam@u3app.org.au.

How does COVID impact the courses?

The majority of our courses are being run online using ZOOM. Any course which is run face to face, whether outdoors or in a venue, must follow our Conditions of Entry. Responsibilities of the tutor and the course members are defined therein.

Whom do I contact if I have further questions?

Start with the Course Coordination team coursecoord@u3app.org.au.If it is a question about enrolment management, contact the Enrolment team itemteam@u3app.org.au.

If you have any questions relating to the U3APP newsletter or our website, contact the IT team webmaster@u3app.org.au.

If you have any questions as to the operation of U3APP or how  to proceed on a particular issue, contact coursecoord@u3app.our.au  or tutorsupport@u3app.org.au

Still not sure who to contact? Send an email to tutorsupport@u3app.org.au, and those receiving it will work out who needs to take action or to provide assistance to you.

How to Enrol

On-line: after bookings have opened

On-line enrolments are preferred as this significantly reduces the amount of back-office work for our volunteers.

  • Login to the U3APP.org.au website.
  • Go to the Courses & Enrolling page.
  • Scroll down to find the course that you are interested in.
  • Does the course have spaces available?
    • Click on the course name to go to the booking page.
    • Click on “Book for this course or event”.
    • You will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.
  • OR is the course shown as FULL?
    • Click on WAITLIST.

Paper Enrolment Form: before bookings open for First Semester

  • Obtain a paper Enrolment Form either from the Office or by printing an online copy available here.
  • Complete the paper Enrolment Form and submit it to the Office.

The start date for acceptance of paper Enrolment Forms for first semester is published on the U3APP website and in the e-Bulletin. Enrolment Forms received before this date are treated as though they had been received on the start date (ie there is no advantage to be gained by submitting early). On the start date and thereafter, paper Enrolment Forms are numbered in order of receipt.  Paper Enrolment forms are processed by U3APP volunteers on the same day as on-line bookings.

If your enrolment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.

If your enrolment is unsuccessful,  you will receive an email telling you that you have been waitlisted.

Via the Office: after bookings have opened

  • Contact the office in person, or by email or phone.