Encore Learning Fall 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
  • Jourdain Henderson, 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 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 6/30/24.
  • Free registration for up to three courses this fall and three courses next spring.

* For multi-instructor courses, these benefits apply to instructors teaching more than one 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. Encore Learning does not photocopy materials for students.

Class Aides

Every course is assigned a minimum of one Class Aide, with the usual practice being to assign two aides per class. Aides are Encore Learning volunteers recruited from course registrants. Your Class Aides will contact you to exchange information (cell phone, best email address, etc.) at least one week prior to your first class session.

The Class Aides serve 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 follows the safety protocols of our host facilities.  At this time wearing masks is optional, however this requirement could change at any time.  Our courses page will reflect any current COVID 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 are sharing a Powerpoint it has worked best if you bring it on a USB flash drive. 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.


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 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.

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, September 11 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.

Course Enrollment

Encore Learning staff will provide periodic updates on the enrollment status for your course.  If you wish to know the current number of students enrolled at any time, please email courses@encorelearning.net.

Canceling Courses

Occasionally Encore Learning must cancel a course due to under-enrollment or a change in an instructor’s circumstance. Normally, if the course enrollment does not reach 10 at least one week prior to the course start date, the course will be cancelled. 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/or maps. Extensive handouts are not required. These documents may be shared in course media by submitting them via email to courses@encorelearning.net.

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 Class Aides of how you wish to handle questions before class begins.

Occasionally, there are students who have a tendency to monopolize the class discussion. Should this happen, instructors are encouraged to discuss strategies with the class aides to address the problem for future class sessions.

Discrimination and Academic Freedom

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


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.


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.


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.