The U3A Resource Centre
The Resource Centre in the National Office in Bromley has a collection of non-book material available to all U3A groups to borrow free of charge except for the cost of return postage. There are slides, videos, cassettes, DVDs and CDs available on a wide range of subjects. Lists are free and available on request. To access the Resource Centre catalogue you need to login to the Members' Area of the U3A's website.
How to access the U3A Members’ Area
First of all you will need to complete the simple online form.
2. Select Create an account.
3. Complete Registration Details.
Once the U3A have checked that you are a U3A member your user account will be activated. Please allow 1-2 working days. You will then be able to login by either entering your username and password in the login box on the right-hand side of the screen or by clicking the Members' Area Access button at the bottom of the main menu on the left-hand side of the screen. If you forget your password simply click on the Password Reminder link to request a reminder of your password.
The Resource Centre Catalogue
To login to the online Resource Centre catalogue you need your surname and 4 digit user number (user number supplied by the Resource Centre if you are registered with them). If you have not registered then do so by clicking on Resource Centre Catalogue and clicking 'sign up'. You may order items online up to a limit of three items for every meeting date. Always specify the exact date of your meetings and items will be sent two to three weeks in advance to allow time for preparation. You need to order at least two weeks before your meeting date, the system will not accept last minute bookings as time is needed to pack and post the item and the Resource Centre is only open from Tuesday to Thursday (last minute bookings can only be made by telephone). If you do not hear from the centre within ten days of your request being sent please contact them by telephone (no: 020 8466 6139) as the e-mail may not have arrived.
Searching the Catalogue
Select Resource Catalogue from the U3A Member Menu. You may search for any word in a Title, or by Keyword -simply enter the subject you are interested in and you will find a list of items to choose from. Keywords describe the subject of the material but do not appear in the title, for example a DVD entitled ‘Grand Designs’ does not include the term Architecture but if you search under that keyword you will find the ‘Grand Designs’ items included. If you enter a general term like Art you will be presented with hundreds of items, if you search by a more specific term such as Impressionism the list of items will be much shorter. When you have selected the item you require select Order from the right hand column and follow the on screen instructions.
In contrast to the U3A News, Sources is specifically an educational journal, published three times a year. It is available free of charge to all members who request it. Sources is themed: that is to say each issue features a particular educational topic or subject. There is always a leading article by an invited expert to begin with and contributions from all over the UK from Group Leaders and interested parties. It contains a huge amount of useful information and discussion. Sources is archived on the national website where you can search back copies of the journal and read individual articles. All you need to provide is your name and address and which U3A you are registered with. To receive a copy you will need to either 1. Register online at www.u3a.org.uk 2. Phone the National Office 020 8466 6139 , or 3. Write to The Third Age Trust, The Old Municipal Buildings, 19 East Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1QE.
National Subject Co-coordinators
This is a subject advisory service. A subject coordinator is a subject specialist who is willing to share their knowledge and experience. They may offer all or some of the following - ‘Start Up’ leaflets, telephone or email consultation, networks, newsletters, study days. Contact the relevant Subject Coordinator for details. If there is no Subject Coordinator for your subject, and you think that you could contribute in this way, please contact the National Subject Networks Coordinator. Details are available on the Third age Trust web site www.u3a.org.uk
“Time to Learn “ Facilitating non formal adult learning – a Guide
This is an excellent publication produced by TAT full of useful tips which we highly recommend as a guide to interest groups. A copy is available from the interest groups coordinator.
The Third Age Trust is always seeking ways to support learning in U3As. The Third Age Trust also encourages local networks to plan for the support of group leaders and offer support to help them fulfill these plans. If you have any suggestions for the development of existing services, or the provision of new services, please contact The Education and Development Panel of the Standing Committee for Education at the Third Age Trust.
A list of courses is available on www.u3a.org.uk some have been written by U3A members in the UK, some are from Australia. Although these courses may be followed individually, the material may also be used by groups. Tutored courses cost approx £15 and run for eight weeks with the work done via email or online. Untutored courses cost approx £8 and can be downloaded and printed for group study. U3A online courses are of a high standard. They were awarded the Fred Moore Trophy for contribution to the ‘Older and Bolder’ project in 2007 by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education.
Shared Learning Projects
A Shared Learning Project is bounded by neither individual U3As nor by any single institution. A typical Shared Learning Project is based on an institution, a gallery, museum etc. Members from many U3As meet with a representative of the institution, often the Education Officer, and agree a project of mutual benefit. Timing, method and outcome are agreed. The result of this team research is presented as appropriate, which might mean orally or in written form, and to the institution or to the public. Reports on some of the projects to date can be read in ‘Sources’ and on the website. These cooperative opportunities offer an exciting future for sharing expertise and learning. In the first instance contact your local Third Age Trust trustee to see what is happening in your area and then the trustee (or if in London the contact) for Shared Learning Projects. If you start a Shared Learning Project please remember to register it at National Office. More information available at www.u3a.org.uk
The Third Age Trust offers members a chance to spend four days studying in a residential setting. National Summer Schools have been run for many years and they have proved popular. The courses are usually subject based, and many group leaders attend on behalf of their group and return to them with material and a fresh outlook. They are, typically, on a college campus and the tutors are themselves U3A members. A list of courses available at Summer Schools is published each year in the preceding autumn, both as a direct mailing, in U3A News and on www.u3a.org.uk. The cost is dependent largely on accommodation.