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Explaining the vU3A

Page history last edited by Ian Kimber 7 years, 6 months ago


From the U3A website

The University of the Third Age (U3A) movement is a unique and exciting organisation which provides, through its U3As, life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward: the sheer joy of discovery!
Members share their skills and life experiences: the learners teach and the teachers learn, and there is no distinction between them.

The U3A movement is supported by its national organisation, the Third Age Trust. 


Introducing the virtual U3A  or vU3A


The U3A is one of the most successful and rapidly growing organisations for retired people


Much of this activity involves going to meetings in towns villages or people's homes.  This is not always possible for people who are isolated because of infirmity or location or cannot attend because they are carers for others that require permanent support.


The vU3A aims fill this important gap and is a social and mutual support educational site that carries out its business in writing on a specially developed website designed for use by schools and colleges



Why We Use a Wiki for the main body of the vU3A


The first impression that many of our members feel is that this wiki website is a very complicated thing and difficult to learn compared with using email or simple editable web pages like Chat pages and Facebook.  


The truthful answer is that a simple social network site is far too simple to work with an active group of several hundred members all interested in a wide range of different things and wish to co-operate with each other.

 Just think a bit about what we need.  

  • We need spaces for individuals, leaders and co operative groups to write and present material that is there and easy to read.  
  • We need spaces for people to discuss the work and other things on a regular basis.
  • We need a way of organising things so they are filed in a neat and tidy way and can easily be found again.
  • We also need a way in which new members can easily scan through and search a large amount of material to find things that interest them and join in.


Email, chat pages and Facebook just do not provide these facilities so we are using tools that have been designed for schools to work on line with the children working on their own and collaboratively on projects,  teachers to check up, help and comment on the work as it happens and the automatic creation of a permanent record of what has been done.


We have all the facilities listed above on this site

  • We have a quick and easy way for all members to quickly mark any page or file that is interesting to them (Starring)   This allows Members to create their own personal list of pages and files so that you can always quickly find them again.
  • We have links as a way of creating sequenced groups of pages for the creation of work on any topic both individually or collaboratively. The pages also automatically keep a record of every saved edit since they were created in "Page History" so that nothing you save is ever lost.
  • We have files which can include images and videos to be presented on the pages or store other sorts of documents of any kind.
  • We have a nested system of folders to allow us to store our pages under broad Subjects and topics. These can be scanned through using two sorts of indexes  "Pages and Files"  and Navigator.  They can also be listed and organised in several different ways at once using links in the "side bar"
  • We have  a way of looking at what is happening right now over the last day or two and in the past by looking at "Recent activity",  "More activity" and "Activity Archive"
  • We have a vast amount of Data Space available to us.   As of December 2016 we have 1616 pages on this site and 2465 files including many hours of video presentations and we are using only 7.5% of the space available to us.  
  • We have a powerful search facility which will allow us to search quickly for page names and more slowly for key words all the way through the whole site in a matter of minutes. 


One really important fact


 As a member of the vU3A with normal writer privileges, whatever you do you cannot damage anything here and every input by you will always be welcome and very well worth the slightly greater effort needed to learn it.


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