U3A Surf Coast president John Bartlett.

U3A to offer online courses

May 21, 2020 BY

THE University of the Third Age (U3A) Surf Coast is taking an openminded approach to teaching so they can open their classes once more.

For several weeks U3A Surf Coast has been unable to hold classes due to the restrictions surrounding the coronavirus.

U3A provides learning to people who are retired or semi-retired, but many of the people involved in their classes are those most at risk from the virus.

But Surf Coast U3A president John Bartlett said the group was making changes to get classes running once more, albeit in a new format.

“With the help of the U3A Network Victoria we got some funding and support to start to have some of our meetings via Zoom and the also deliver some classes and activities via Zoom.

“We’ll be running some test classes in June, and then hopefully by third term we’ll have a whole program of classes available.”

He said U3A Surf Coast was looking to familiarise its tutors with the technologies they will need to run their classes.

“With the U3A Network, we’re actually organising training. So we’ll have a Zoom administrator, one person who will overlook the whole program. They will then run training for the tutors that are interested.”

U3A Surf Coast classes run across four terms, but they are yet to run any classes during the second term of 2020.

Mr Bartlett said people were eager to resume their learning.

“I run a poetry class and six of my students have put their hands up to participate in a Zoom class. So, I’m hoping to start that on June 6.

“Other groups that have put their hands up are the Memoir Writing Group, Philosophy Group, Cryptic Crosswords Group and the History Group as well, so there’s quite a few that are interested.”

Mr Bartlett acknowledged that some people may not be as receptive to the new style of teaching, but added there would be some the changes would actually be better.

“Like a lot of other areas, for us COVID-19 has thrown up opportunities as well as disadvantages.

“There are perhaps people who have been isolated, away from Torquay particularly in place like Lorne or Aireys Inlet, for who coming to classes has just been too difficult, either they don’t have the transport or the health doesn’t allow it. So, we think even when we do eventually return we will keep some aspects of Zoom going for those who are isolated.

“I think we will always have the permanent online delivery of classes.”

U3A Surf Coast had initially had their annual general (AGM) meeting scheduled in March, but will now take place at 2pm on Tuesday, May 26, via Zoom.

People wishing to take part in U3A Surf Coast’s AGM should message [email protected] by tomorrow (Friday, May 22). They will then be sent a link enabling them to attend via Zoom.