. Update from Covid-19 Working Group 3 April 2020

Thursday 2 April was a big day for U3APP.  We conducted our first large on-line meeting of Tutors, using Zoom as the meeting platform, with 49 enthusiastic individuals participating.  Discussions ranged from “how do I get sound/video” to more philosophical topics like “what is the future for Courses at U3A?”.  The meeting lasted nearly two hours and everybody had a chance to ask questions or make comment.  Several Tutors reported on their recent experiences relating to on-line Zoom meetings with their students.  All reports were positive, although there were some limitations, and the Tutors are keen to continue with on-line delivery.

Without boring you with all the details, the overall outcomes of the meeting were:

  • Zoom, the teleconferencing program, seems to be the best available for our purpose, although it has some limitations - nothing is perfect.
  • Most Tutors are fully committed to ensuring continuation of coursework at U3A via this on-line platform, at least until we can resume face-to-face Course instruction.
  • Using Zoom to deliver certain Courses could present a few interesting challenges, which invites Tutors and Members to develop innovative solutions.
  • Rest assured that most Courses at U3APP will continue and these Courses will be delivered on-line via teleconferencing (Zoom being our preferred platform), e-mail, or using links to selected videos, or some combination of those delivery methods.
  • Tutors are, at present, completing a questionnaire from the Committee of Management, via the Working Group, to tell us whether, and how, they intend presenting their Course on-line in Term 2.  There are other questions, but this one is the main, and most critical, one.  
  • If your Course will not continue, you will be advised, otherwise assume the Course will commence as scheduled.

Tutors are eagerly beavering away in the background to get their Courses in order – some have already convened their Classes, where a Course is continuing from Term 1, while others will first meet their students when Class lists are developed and distributed.  Should the Tutor adopt Zoom as their delivery vehicle, the process will be that a Tutor will call a Zoom Class Meeting.

You will receive instructions on how to download Zoom from the internet and how to join a Meeting, so everyone has an opportunity to experience the Zoom environment, ask questions, and generally get a feeling for how the course will operate.

You, the students, will know how your Course will work before the beginning of Term 2.  Our plan and hope is to do this before the beginning of next Term, so that means between Monday 6 April and Monday 13 April, with Term 2 beginning on Tuesday 14 April

Also, behind the scenes, the Course Coordination Team will be assembling the new Course Guide, indicating which courses will be continuing and the time-slot allocated to the Course.  We will not be constrained by room availability during on-line delivery.  Watch for Course changes in the upcoming new Course Guide. 

You will soon receive an invitation from your Tutor to join a Zoom Meeting, most likely at the time the Class would meet if face-to-face.  Included in the invitation will be instructions on how to join the Class Meeting, then all will be revealed and we will be on our way. It all sounds daunting, but it is all do-able and we have an excellent Brains Trust to get us through the initial period.

Roll on U3APP

Jim Pribble - Tutor Support