U3A opens up world of learning wherever, whenever
PLEASURABLE lifelong learning is an attractive opportunity which U3A are offering virtually.
U3A Online members have access to 60 or more courses across the areas of world affairs, history, nature, writing and creativity, lifestyle and science which can be studied where and where a person chooses.
Once a member has paid $25 they can do as many courses as they like within the 12 months from the date of subscription.
There are no exams and no certificates at the end, it's learning for pleasure U3A Online president Jean Walker said.
"We do it for pleasure, for mental and physical well-being and for engaging people in lifelong learning that leads to better outcomes,” Ms Walker said.
"There are no tests, no exams, no prerequisites, no qualifications.
"There are activities included in each of the courses, but even those are not compulsory.”
For another $5 for some courses, a member can work alongside a course leader who can guide the person through the course and will receive the course activities for comment.
The volunteer, not-for-profit online organisation has been around since 1989. It's operates independently of the local U3A groups.
"Our membership hovers at about 1100 or 1200,” Ms Walker said.
The membership is international with the majority Australian and the balance from New Zealand, the UK and even Iceland.
Most of the members are geographically or socially isolated, or house-bound.
"Plus carers,” Ms Walker said.
"We have now opened it to younger people who are carers of disabled or house-bound people because we feel there isn't very much opportunity for them to do online learning while they are in the house caring for people and it's a spin-off of what U3A generally tries to do.”
If someone joins U3A Online as an organisational member, they can then download the course documents and use them in their own U3A as a basis for their own courses.
The courses are often offered by people who have taught the course at their local U3A and adapted it for online learning.
"I write some of the courses as I take some courses at my local U3A in Hobart,” Ms Walker said.
"I just did one on British poetry from Chaucer to Ted Hughes because I used to teach English literature at high school.
She expects the number of courses to keep growing as people offer them.
"The people who offer the courses are usually members of their local U3A who have been in their working life teachers or doctors or lawyers, for example,” she added.