Encore Learning Spring 2023 In-Person Instructor Guide 

Click here for a printable pdf version of this guide.

Encore Learning’s academic courses form the foundation of our success and we thank you for your generous participation in our program. This guide should answer most of your questions, but we are always available to answer any questions you may have over the coming few months.

Encore Learning employs five part-time staff:

  • Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director
  • Patty Rowland, Administrator
  • Kerry Fraatz, Academic Course Coordinator
  • Alissa Locke, Marketing and Communications Specialist
  • Vacant, Virtual Class Administrator

Your primary contact should be through our Course Coordinator at courses@encorelearning.net.

Your Benefits

  • You will have at least one student who will serve as your virtual class aide.  (See below for more details)
  • You will receive parking validation for each class session.
  • *As a current instructor, you receive a complimentary annual membership, valid until 12/31/23.
  • *Free registration for up to three courses this spring and next fall.

* These benefits apply to instructors teaching more than one class session.

General Information

Class Media

At least one week in advance of each class session, please submit any materials you would like to share with students directly to the Course Coordinator at courses@encorelearning.net. (For some examples of class media, please see Suggestions for Teaching Our Students below). All registrants will be notified via email of class media having been posted.

Class Aides

Each course is assigned at least one class aide. Aides are Encore Learning volunteers recruited from course registrants. Your class aide will contact you to exchange information (cell phone, best email address, etc.) at least one week prior to your first class session.

The class aide serves as your principal point of contact. All support requests should be directed to your class aide.  Aides provide parking information to you, take attendance, and assist in audiovisual setup.

Class aides DO NOT have access to students’ contact information and they DO NOT email/call students. If you wish to send an email message to your students, please send it to courses@encorelearning.net.

COVID-19 Protocols

Encore Learning encourages all participants to mask indoors when in close proximity to others. Encore Learning staff will update class participants to changes in on-site protocols.

Audio/Visual (A/V) Equipment Requirements

Please use the voice amplification devices provided in the room so that everyone in the class can hear you at all times. We have had a lot of feedback regarding this issue and are taking steps to ameliorate hearing problems for our members, including asking for your cooperation.

The classrooms at Mason are equipped with computers, internet access and projection capabilities. If you plan to bring your own laptop, the only connection provided at George Mason University is an HDMI cable; Apple users must bring their own adapter. Class aides receive training in basic audiovisual support. Please arrive to class at least 15 minutes before start to test the AV. Support from George Mason’s tech staff is also available.

Visitors

If there is a potential visitor to your class we will notify you in advance and seek your permission. If you plan to bring in additional lecturers not noted in your course proposal form, please let the office know.

Parking - at GMU

Parking is available in the underground garage at George Mason University’s Van Metre Hall (Arlington campus).  On the first day of class, you will receive, from your class aide, a 3-hour validation for each session of the course you are teaching, as well as for each session of any course in which you are enrolled.

Parking - at Fairlington Community Center

Free parking is available adjacent to the community center.

Online Course Information and Registration

Encore Learning posts its course catalog and other information on class schedules on the Encore Learning website www.EncoreLearning.net. The full course catalog is online. Courses fill on a first-come, first-served basis and an automated wait list is generated.

Instructor registrations for up to three courses are free of charge. You may log-in and register for courses online as soon as registration begins on Monday, February 6 at 10:00 A.M. You have been set up in our system as a member but if you have never registered for our classes online, please set up your password following these instructions then review these registration FAQs.

Cancelling Courses

Occasionally Encore Learning must cancel a course due to under-enrollment or a change in an instructor’s circumstance. If the minimum enrollment for the course (10) is not met at least one week prior to the course start date, the course will be canceled. You will be notified by our Executive Director if cancellation is imminent.

Make-up Classes

In the case of a missed session, please notify our courses@encorelearning.net of the issue and indicate if you would like to extend the course. The Academic Course Coordinator will contact all registrants to notify them of any extension.

Reading Assignments

There are no required or assigned readings. Any recommended or independent reading assignments provided in the course proposal are listed in the catalog course description. Please note that Encore Learning neither provides nor orders books and is not in a position to guarantee the availability of texts suggested by the instructor.

Suggestions for Teaching Our Students

It can be helpful to students if you supply summary notes or an outline of the course, a copy of your presentation, a glossary of names or uncommon terms, links to pertinent websites, and maps. Extensive handouts are not required.

In planning lectures, try to reserve some class time for questions. It is up to you whether you take intermittent breaks for questions or hold all questions until the end of lecture. Please advise your VCA(s) of how you wish to handle questions during the technical rehearsal prior to the start of classes.  These documents may be shared in course media by submitting them via email to courses@encorelearning.net.

Discrimination and Academic Freedom

To view Encore Learning’s policies on discrimination and academic freedom, please visit https://encorelearning.net/about/policies/

Discrimination

Encore Learning does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

Academic Freedom

Encore Learning, as a learning organization, subscribes to the principle of academic freedom wherein all views can and should be respected.

The definition of academic freedom is the right of educators to teach and discuss topics without restriction or interference by the educational organization. Instructors are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching their own personal bias on controversial matters that have no relation to their subject.

Non-Attribution

Encore Learning subscribes to policy wherein, should an instructor request “non-attribution,” Class Aides will provide notice alerting class members of such a request and that class members will be expected to honor such request.

Civility

Encore Learning subscribes to a policy of civility in all communications: verbal and nonverbal, one-on-one and in group settings. Civility is a behavioral norm that is respectful and courteous. It includes consideration of others' concerns, backgrounds, and feelings.

It is expected that all members, staff, and instructors will be mindful of and abide by acceptable norms of behavior and respectful language. Examples inconsistent with this policy for the instructional environment, whether online or in-person, include the following: argumentative discussion, usurping authority from instructor, degrading phrases and words and dominating discussion with long or too many questions. Instructors and Class Aides will be provided guides and training, as necessary, to manage improper behavior.

Course Evaluations

Course evaluations are an invaluable means for Encore Learning to determine member satisfaction with their courses. Encore Learning distributes electronic course evaluations using Survey Monkey. Each student will receive a link to the course evaluation survey via email on the day of the last class session. The Academic Programs Committee will review the results in detail and then pass the information on to the instructors. Typically, instructors receive this report 2-3 weeks after their course concludes.