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Frequently Asked Questions

How much input does an instructor have into the design of the course?

OLLI instructors have freedom to determine every aspect of the courses they offer. The number of sessions, the number of participants, the time of day, day of the week, and mode of instruction are all determined by the instructor. The information, views, and opinions provided by OLLI at WVU instructors are those of the instructor and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the OLLI at WVU organization.

What kinds of topics interest OLLI participants?

OLLI members are enthusiastic learners with diverse interests. Nearly any topic will attract some portion of the 530+ membership. Our course catalog includes everything from science, economics and history to theatre, arts and crafts and wellness.

Describe a typical OLLI participant?

OLLI members are enthusiastic learners primarily over the age of 50 with diverse interests. Do not rely on stereotypes of "older" citizens when you are deciding on the topics that you might teach. Active, engaged, curious and eager are the most apt adjectives that describe our OLLI members.

How do I submit a course idea?

Submitting your course idea to OLLI is easy! Here’s how:

1. Complete a Course Proposal Form. An electronic version is available on the OLLI website at www.olliatwvu.org. If you require a printed version contact Diane Cale at learners@hsc.wvu.edu or pick up a paper copy by visiting the OLLI office at the Mountaineer Mall.

2. If you are new to teaching for OLLI, you may be limited to one session for your first course offering. The Director, staff or a member of the Curriculum Committee may contact you to discuss your course.

3. Upon acceptance by the Curriculum Committee, the Director will send notice, information on the term and deadlines for the completion of the Course Commitment form. An electronic version is available on the OLLI website at www.olliatwvu.org. If you require a printed version contact Diane Cale at learners@hsc.wvu.edu or pick up a paper copy by visiting the OLLI office at the Mountaineer Mall.

4. The Schedule at a Glance will be developed based on Instructor availability and sent out electronically for confirmation of instructor availability and the Course Catalog will be created.

5. Approximately seven days prior to the first class meeting, the OLLI office will email information which includes a class roster, though classes are still enrolling members. An updated roster will be included in the instructor folder in the course mailbox in the office and available 2-3 days before the start of the course.

If I decide to offer a course, how many class sessions am I required to teach?

As the instructor, you determine the number of class sessions for your course. Our terms follow the seasons starting with Summer and run for six weeks. (We are piloting a 4 week term for Winter 2016.) We encourage courses of all durations as many of our members travel. A look at our course catalog will let you see the range of class sessions.

How long is each class period?

Generally a class period is 1 hour and 50 minutes and also must include a break ½ way through. Some courses require longer class periods and a few have shorter class periods that may meet more frequently.

What if more participants than I have requested wish to enroll?

Once a class is full, those wishing to take your course are placed on a waiting list. If a spot opens in your course, the OLLI office will contact those on the waiting list to try and fill the opening. If there are more than just a few on the waiting list, you, the instructor, may be asked if you would agree to offer a second section of the same course. You can choose to do so, or not.

Can I charge a fee to cover my expenses or have participants purchase materials?

Yes, some OLLI arts and crafts or experiential courses charge fees beyond membership to cover the cost of materials, and cooking classes may charge for the food. Some courses require the purchase of a book or transportation. These additional fees need to be described in the Course Proposal and Commitment Forms and advertised in the catalog description.

Do I pay for my own handouts?

Copies can be made for you at the OLLI office.

How do I warn participants that good physical health is necessary to take part in the course?

In your course description, you will need to place a note that provides such a warning. Also, the necessity to wear sturdy shoes or old clothing or to bring pen and paper, etc. to class should also be noted in the course description.

Can I teach a course that requires participants to have had previous experience?

Yes, again the course description needs to alert participants to the fact that it is not a course for beginners.

Will participants give me feedback?

Will I receive their comments? When the course is completed, participants will have the opportunity to complete a course feedback form. You will receive a summary of the participants' feedback. Please keep in mind that this process is meant to ensure OLLI is providing members with quality programs, to help you make improvements to your course, and, of course, to provide you with positive reinforcement for your efforts. As the instructor, you will also be asked to complete a comment form to provide OLLI with feedback about your teaching experience and the support that you received from OLLI.

If my comments are positive, will I be asked to teach again?

Absolutely. Our volunteer instructors are OLLI's most valuable assets.

Am I required to use lecture format or can the course be interactive (discussion)?

You are encouraged to use any teaching style or method that suits the material that you are presenting.

May I bring an assistant along to help me teach the course?

Yes, you may want to include biographical data for your assistant on your course form in order for him/her to be included in the catalog.

What do I do in case I become ill or the weather is inclement?

In case of illness or emergency, contact the OLLI-office as soon as possible. They will contact those enrolled in your course. In case of inclement weather, OLLI follows the County School closure policy. If schools have a full day closure, all OLLI courses that day are cancelled. If schools are announces a two-hour delay, OLLI courses will be held. If an early dismissal due to weather is announced, OLLI afternoon classes are cancelled. This policy appears in the course catalog. If you feel that it is best not to hold class due to the weather, you should contact the office and they will help you contact the class participants to notify them of the cancellation. Please contact the OLLI office so that a make-up date can be scheduled.

If I have a problem with a participant, whom do I contact for assistance?

If a problem participant's behavior is beyond what you are willing to handle, please contact the office and they will follow proper channels to assist in the handling of the situation.

Will parking be a problem for me or for the participants?

Most class locations were chosen not only for their suitability as classrooms but also for their ample parking.

Will I receive any payment or honorarium for teaching a course for OLLI?

All OLLI instructors are volunteers. Every instructor who teaches at least 3 sessions is entitled to receive a discounted $40.00 OLLI membership to be used for the year following the course.

Can non-OLLI members attend my class (friends, neighbors, family members, etc)?

OLLI courses are open to members only. Those new to OLLI who want to “try before they commit,” can sign up as a Trial Member for $25 for one term and a voucher to attend one session are available at the office.

Does OLLI do anything other than offer courses?

Yes, OLLI offers trips, special interest groups and social activities to its members.