Encore Learning Spring 2024 Virtual Instructor Guide 

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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 four part-time staff:

  • Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director
  • Patty Rowland, Administrator
  • Kerry Fraatz, Academic Course Coordinator
  • Donna Banks, 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.)
  • Zoom training is available to all instructors. In addition to one-on-one training, Encore Learning conducts Zoom Instructor Hangouts before and during the semester. You will receive an email invitation in advance of each hangout session.
  • *As a current instructor, you receive a complimentary annual membership, valid until 12/31/24.
  • *Free registration for up to three courses this spring and three courses next fall.

* For multi-instructor courses, 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.

Virtual Class Aides (VCAs)

Every course is assigned a minimum of one Virtual Class Aide (VCA), with the usual practice being to assign two VCAs per class. VCAs are Encore Learning member volunteers who have received in-depth training in Zoom and will serve as your primary in-session assistants.

All instructors will meet the VCAs assigned to your course at a technical rehearsal, to be held approximately two weeks before your course start date. An Encore Learning staff member will coordinate this meeting.

The purpose of the technical rehearsal is for you, with the assistance of the VCAs, to determine how you would like your course to be conducted. In addition to ensuring you are able to share your screen and can be heard and seen, topics to be covered include how Q&A will be handled, what, if any, material you will be sharing with the class, and when/if you would like a short break in each session.

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, Febrauary 5 at 10:00 AM. 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.

Instructor Biography

The biography submitted with your course proposal will be available online for students to view.  If you would like to submit any additional information or a headshot to share, please it mail it to courses@encorelearning.net.

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.

Cancelling 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

If you experience illness or encounter a conflict requiring the rescheduling of a class, please send an email to courses@encorelearning.net as soon as possible. This ensures sufficient time for the Academic Course Coordinator to notify students of the schedule change. To make up for a missed session, you can explore options such as adding an extra class session or extending the duration of remaining sessions.

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 VCAs of how you wish to handle questions during the technical rehearsal prior to the start of classes.

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.

Zoom Resources

In addition to instructor-specific Zoom training sessions, Encore Learning offers the following resources on using Zoom: