Guide for Course Organisers

U3A Okeover: A Guide for Course Organisers

Revised 29 Nov 2023

Proposing a topic or overall title

The committee welcomes proposals for courses.

Since it is necessary to plan ahead for several months, discuss your proposal with a committee member as early as possible. This will allow the committee to consider it and weave it into a strong and balanced future programme. Ask a committee member for any help you need.

A course may have one organiser, or sometimes an organiser and a co-organiser. If you are willing and able to be the organiser, that is great. If not, a committee member may step into the breach as organiser.

This Guide for Course Organisers accompanies the Guide for Course Presenters with which you should be familiar. Both can be found on the website ( A U3A Okeover Presenters Form is available on request to the Webmaster.

The structure of courses

In terms 1, 2 and 3 a course consists of five Thursday sessions related to one major topic and each term has two different consecutive courses, over ten weeks.

Term 4 courses do not have a series of five weekly sessions. Instead, they usually consist of three or four separate sessions. In 2024 it will be four sessions.

On the website there is a page called Dates for 2024 listing the dates for the year’s 34 sessions.

Seeking and inviting speakers

Consider possible speakers and session topics for your proposed course. It can be useful to talk to an expert in the field who may wish to speak and who may suggest names of possible speakers and interesting topics for sessions. As organiser you will be chairing the sessions.

Make a first approach to each speaker. Advise them of our website and its Guide for Course Presenters. If necessary send them a printed copy. Ensure you have their contact details and they yours—there can be emergencies! Accept that speakers may have to ask for changes to your course programme to fit personal schedules. Advise them that the presentation is usually for 50 to 60 minutes, which may include questions. The session should seldom extend beyond 11:30 to accommodate plans members may have after the session.

When key speakers come from outside Christchurch they have been offered reimbursement of airfares and other costs. But check first with the chairman or treasurer to make sure that money is available.

Stage 1

Assembling the course

Prepare the course description for publication on the website. This must reach the website editor, Chris Botur at , as early as possible. (See the aforementioned schedule of dates.) The editor needs …

  1. A major title for the whole course. Optionally you might also wish to offer a single sentence describing the overall course. And for each speaker’s session we need . . .

  2. A short title, the speaker’s name (e.g. “Dr. Marie Stopes”), a sentence describing the speaker’s role or background and a brief paragraph to tell members what the session will be about.
    The website will allow you to browse the courses presented during previous years so that you may see the style and quantum of information we seek.

Stage 2

In the fortnight before each speaker’s presentation:

  1. Seek some further bio-data which you can use in introducing him or her. Google and the University of Canterbury website are useful when appropriate. Your intro need not be long.
    A form is available from the Secretary to enable you to gather the information mentioned in points 2 and 3.

  2. Find out whether our technical equipment will meet their needs. This information should be sent to the Webmaster, Chris Botur, at .

  3. You will need to obtain the bank account number of each speaker if he or she is accepting the honorarium and pass it on to the Treasurer. At your discretion advise presenters of our association with the UC Māpura Bright Start Scholarship. There is background information on our website. If a presenter chooses ‘donation to UC Māpura Bright Start’ as their honorarium advise the Treasurer accordingly.

  4. Invite the speaker to join members for morning tea on the day at 9:45 for a 10:30 start of presentations. Traffic cones will be placed in the carpark for the sole use of the presenter.

  5. Ask a member in advance to give a brief closing vote of thanks. The treasurer will have given you a list of the members who have chosen this course and he will give you the “thank you” cards for the presentations.

Stage 3

On the day…

  1. Greet the speaker and introduce him or her to the technical supporter who will check that the lapel microphone and roving microphones are working. Ensure that the presenter has a pointer to use on the screen as a laser pointer is inadequate. Check that there is a glass of water on the table.

  2. At 10:30 introduce the speaker and chair the session. Watch the clock and if necessary prompt the speaker – “About five minutes more, George”.

  3. Be ready to repeat the question for those who did not hear it clearly. Do not let one member monopolise the question time. Be prepared to say “We can take just one last question.

  4. Call upon the member who you have asked to give the vote of thanks and present the “thank you” card

  5. After the talk and in your role as Course Organiser write or email our thanks to the speaker.

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In case you want to save and/or print this information.

Download here: Guide for Course Organisers 2024