FAQ


What sort of courses does Newcastle U3A conduct?

Courses can include foreign languages, jazz and classical music, history, belly dancing, literature, environmental and other current issues, travel, chess, Tai Chi, family history, computer groups and book groups. Courses depend on the availability of course leaders. As well as a wide range of courses U3A also has social events like excursions, monthly lunches and coffee mornings.

Why is the word ‘University’ used?

We use the word university in the context of a community of teachers and scholars that relates to the derivation from the Latin “universitas magistrorum et scholarium”. U3A has evolved into a community that provides its own courses and other social activities using, in the main, member tutors and leaders, who volunteer their skills, knowledge, interests and life experiences to provide classes for their fellow members.

Who administers Newcastle U3A?

All of the tasks necessary to make NU3A’s busy program happen, including leading courses, are carried out by member volunteers. A committee is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting, and then the committee appoints a Program Coordinator. Many members who are not on the committee also pitch in to make sure the organisation works smoothly. Members can help by offering to lead a course or volunteering to be a Course Clerk. Course Clerks are vital to the success of U3A. They mark the roll and generally make sure that the course runs smoothly. Please remember that we are not a paid service provider. All work is voluntary and all members are responsible for the success of their organisation.

What are U3A courses like?

The nature of the course depends on the course leader but generally courses are relaxed and informal so members can enjoy learning with people their own age and similar interests. There are no exams.

What is a ‘Zoom’ class?

Zoom is an online application which enables users to ‘join’ a meeting with others on their phone, computer, tablet or laptop.  Participants can see and hear each other on their device screen in a virtual class setting. The Tutor can also share slide presentations, video clips or texts on their screen with participants as they teach, or ask questions of the class participants. To join the meeting participants click on a link which is sent to them by email. Newcastle U3A has developed guidelines on how to Setup your device to securely use Zoom and on Zoom etiquette. This includes instructions on how to mute background noise, vote or chat online. We also offer assistance if you are having difficulty with setup or action.

Where are courses held?

Most courses are held in central Newcastle or inner suburbs so that they can be accessed by public transport. During Term 3 2020 classes are held via Zoom or self directed courses are available online.

Zoom is essentially a ‘virtual’ class, where members are emailed a link to ‘join a meeting’ on an interactive platform known as ‘Zoom’. Attendees open the link and participate in the class on either their computer, mobile phone, laptop or tablet (while safe from infection at home). Once you join the meeting, please select ‘Join by computer video’ so you and the tutor can see and hear each other on the device screen. The tutor can also share slide presentations, video clips or texts on your screen as they speak, and can invite you to speak or respond to their questions. 

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How long are courses?

Courses last from one session to about 16 sessions per two Terms (half-year). Each session generally lasts 1 ½ hours and classes are usually held once a week. Most courses are held during the day on weekdays.

Who leads the courses?

Most courses are led by members, or sometimes by non-members, who have a special interest to deliver a course. In U3A the course leader or presenter may be somewhat like a teacher, lecturer, facilitator or convenor. Creating participation and a friendly social environment are the key attributes of a U3A course leader. Members are encouraged to lead courses because without course leaders U3A could not function. If you are interested in leading a course contact the Program Coordinator. No formal academic qualifications are needed to deliver U3A courses.

Who can attend courses?

Courses are open to retired or semi-retired people who are financial members. 

How do I know what courses are on?

All financial members are sent or emailed a Course Booklet twice a year listing all courses. To become a financial member please visit the Membership page on this website.

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How much does it cost to join?

To join and to participate the annual fee is $60. If joining mid year, the membership fee is $40. This entitles you to attend as many courses as you choose. Occasionally there will be an additional cost, for example to cover the cost of an excursion or special materials as in an art class. These costs will be spelt out very clearly in your course booklet.

Why does NU3A no longer accept cash payments?

Handling cash at our U3A office creates unnecessary security risks and responsibilities for our volunteer helpers. Our preferred payment method is Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) through your financial institution. However, you can pay in case over the counter at any Newcastle Permanent. Or you can post a personal cheque. See About Fee Payment for details about how to ensure we can match your payment to you.

What happens if a course is oversubscribed?

We are committed to giving all enrolled members equity of access to their selected course. However, due to limited capacity, because of restricted course numbers, venue limitations or where a popular course is oversubscribed, a ballot may need to be conducted. We will advise you whether you are placed or waitlisted in the email we send confirming enrolment/s. If you are waitlisted and a place later becomes available we will contact you as soon as possible.

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What about Intellectual Property?

Newcastle U3A does not assert ownership of Intellectual Property (IP) in Course and Educational Materials, Creative Works or Scholarly Works created or developed by Tutors, Presenters or Guest Speakers unless the Intellectual Property is the result of work specifically commissioned by Newcastle U3A. Participants on all courses and presentation must respect the Intellectual Property of Tutors at all times including refraining from unauthorised photographic, audio or video recording and unauthorised use or dissemination of Intellectual Property to third parties.

What about Copyright?

In the first instance, we all should always assume that what we are reading, looking at or listening to is protected by copyright (that includes works created overseas). Our State body, the U3A Network NSW manages appropriate annual licences for audio, video and published works on behalf of Member U3As. Each Member U3A association may select their annual licence requirements and then pay for the chosen licences as part of their annual Network affiliation fee. Intending Tutors should visit the Network’s website to view the Copyright Guide.

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