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. A Tutor Proposal Form, covering all required details can be downloaded and emailed to [email protected].

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 conducting exercise classes need to be sufficiently qualified to ensure the safety of those attending.

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 1 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.

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.

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, this may require some compromise.

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.

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.

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?

U3APP has a wifi network which is quite powerful in its coverage within the MKC building, but is limited by the bandwidth of the current Telstra ADSL connection. We are hoping for an improvement at some point when the NBN reaches Albert Park.

Other CoPP venues may not have wifi.

What if I need to photocopy notes for my course?

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

Are tutors paid?

All our tutors are volunteers. Tutors can request a $50 payment towards any costs they incur. If any course requires a significant investment in equipment or material, tutors can put in a purchase request to the Committee of Management. In this case anything that is purchased will remain the property of U3APP.

Tutors may also ask course members to make a contribution toward materials etc. For example in Life Drawing courses, members contribute to the cost of hiring the model for each session.

Are there attendance rolls?

U3APP keeps attendance records for all courses, using an electronic roll system. Members are checked off on a small tablet with a touch screen. 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.

How is enrolment managed?

U3APP has an ITEM (IT and Enrolment Management) team who manage 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.

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 class 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.

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

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 class membership, so tutors can see who is leaving and joining by looking at the rolls.

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 ITEM team actively manage 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 class 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 (more than 5 classes), 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.
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 e-bulletin, usually in more than one edition before the course commences.

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.

Whom do I contact if I have further questions?

Start with the Course Coordination team [email protected].

If it is a question about enrolment management, contact the ITEM team [email protected].

If you have any questions relating to the e-bulletin or our website, contact the IT team [email protected].