Statewide Trial Report
At the Oct ’22 meeting of delegates to U3A SA progress of Statewide was discussed and there was strong support for it to move out of a trial into regular operation and for all SA U3As to be approached, seeking their participation. Three benefits have been recognised:
1. improved access to courses and in particular for small and remote U3As
2. the development in computing confidence among our senior age-groups and
3. improved access for members who have difficulty in travel and mobility.
Over the year there have been about 200 enrolments and during October there were 11 courses running with 72 members enrolled from 16 U3As. About two thirds of U3As opted to join the trial though there have been enrolments from nearly all as word has spread. Feedback from participants has been generally positive.
The main barrier to online courses is lack of familiarity with what is involved in using Zoom. When members give it a try they are largely positive. Awareness and interest from country U3As has only recently begun to grow. As always, the skills of the tutor is vital and Statewide tutors have been learning how to have a polished Zoom delivery.
The administration of Statewide has worked efficiently and cheaply. From this site new courses can be submitted at any time as can enrolments. U3As are asked to nominate a contact person with Statewide who can organise a) approval for new courses and b) membership verification of those enrolled.
The responsibilities of participants in Statewide –
- provide a statewide course information and an enrolment process for members across the state
- mange communication with each MO through their contact person for course approval and membership verification
U3A Member Organisations
- advertise the availability of courses offered via statewide for members and potential tutors
- manage approval of courses offered by tutor members on Statewide
- verify membership status of your members who enrol in Statewide
Statewide has a subscription email service with just over 200 members. Bulletins are send about once a month with notification of new courses and other information. Statewide does not follow a term cycle as do most U3As.
Subscribe to Statewide Bulletin, a brief email update of new courses and news: click HERE
Courses on Statewide are delivered under the authority and responsibility of the home U3A of the tutor.
All U3As will be approached seeking their participation in Statewide in 2023.
How it works (August 2021)
Statewide Online is a trial of online courses available statewide provided by U3As of South Australia. The diagram below outlines the current plan which is being developed from July-September 2021, launching in October. The trial is currently planned to operate Oct to mid 2022.
(The process is being updated regularly as as feedback is received: latest Aug 19) The sign [?] indicates items that particularly invite comment.
The earlier notion of using Google Sheets to manage the online system has been greatly improved by the adoption of AirTable, a much more sophisticated online data-base.
- Each U3A’s Contact person and the Online Coordinator liaise to monitor the process.
- Courses are approved by individual U3As for online statewide delivery. The online course proposal system is now so simple that it is suggested that in most cases U3A will opt to use this method of entering a course into the system. The U3A contact person will be automatically notified when new proposal is entered and then mange approval, negotiation with the tutor.
- A list of all courses is recorded in Airtable s with Contact people having access to update this list as required.
- This site (see menu item above) provided links to the sections of AirTable – Courses, Enrolment, Tutor Profiles, Calendar and Course Proposal.
- Courses can be scheduled at any time. There is some advantage in starting courses to take advantage of U3A newsletters but this is not essential because newsletters follow different timelines [?]
- Promotion of Statewide Online by individual U3As will be crucial to its success.
Display The Display pages give detailed information about courses as soon as they are approved, and similarly profiles of each tutor.
Forms Collects enrolment and course proposals information and adds it directly to the data-base, avoiding copying and potential errors.
Sharing Tutors will be given a link to a page that records enrolments in their current course. They will have immediate contact with enrolled members. Similarly U3A contact people will have private online access to the state of play of courses, showing courses that are active, proposed, inactive, etc. Everyone will be able to see the calendar of upcoming courses.