Teach for Us
The popularity and growth of Osher at Carnegie Mellon are because of the commitment, enthusiasm and talents of our Study Leaders. Study Leaders volunteer their time in preparing and educating an engaged group of lifelong learners. Become part of the Osher team and teach for us!
An Invitation from the Curriculum Committee
Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a Study Leader (instructor) for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. We are now organizing classes for the 2021 Winter Term and would welcome a course proposal from you for consideration.
Osher at CMU provides its members with non-credit courses on a variety of subjects. It has steadily grown since its inception in 1992 to its present size of over 2,400 members, with a sizable 2-year waiting list. Our students are very enthusiastic and participate actively in the learning process. It is important for you to know that we do not screen our new study leaders in a traditional way; we instead rely on our students to determine whether a study leader should be invited to teach for us again or not.
Courses are offered in three terms: Fall, Winter, and Summer, with two sessions per term. We offer up to 150 courses per term. Each session spans an 8-week period so study leaders can comfortably schedule their courses, allowing flexibility for late starts, cancelled classes, etc. Courses meet once a week, generally for 1.5 or 2 hours. Most courses consist of five or six classes, but courses with fewer classes are possible. A few courses meet only once or twice. Most courses are held on the Carnegie Mellon campus, though some take place at various off-campus sites.
Study leaders are volunteers who come from various walks of life and have many different talents. Some present courses based upon their professional or business experience; some draw upon hobbies or avocations that have provided them with skills they can teach to others. A few study leaders act as coordinators and have different speakers each week. Our study leaders find the process engaging and very rewarding. Non-member study leaders (and their spouse/legal domestic partner) who wish to join our Osher program may do so immediately after having taught a full-length course (consisting of at least five classes), thus avoiding a lengthy wait.
You can find further information about our program by exploring this Osher website, cmu.edu/osher. A great place to start is by viewing online our current catalog and archived catalogs under Publications.
To teach for us, you must first submit a course proposal, found below. Please read the Proposal Instructions below carefully before filling out the form. If your course is accepted, the information that you provide will appear in our Winter 2021 catalog, which will be published in November 2020. The catalog requires a great deal of planning and coordination, so the deadline for receiving proposals is September 30, 2020. Note that we assign classrooms on a first-come, first-served basis so the sooner we receive your proposal, the more likely you are to receive your preferred day, time, and place. Late proposals are difficult to schedule and may not be accepted.
Please know that we require study leaders to have email accounts that they access regularly. This allows study leaders to communicate with their students easily through our online registration system and allows the office staff to communicate with study leaders efficiently.
I welcome you to the group of potential study leaders for the Osher at CMU program and look forward to receiving your course proposal. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.
Interim Curriculum Committee Chair
Instructions for Completing the Online Course Proposal Form for CMU Osher
Proposals for Winter 2021 are due September 30, 2020
- The form must be completed and submitted in a single online session. If you close your browser or logout from your computer before submitting the form, any entered data will be lost, and you will need to start the data entry process again from the beginning. You may open and inspect the form and exit an online session before starting data entry to become familiar with it, but once you begin to fill out the form, you must complete the entire data entry and proposal submission process before ending the session.
- Allow at least 30-45 minutes to complete and submit the form. We recommend that you prepare your written answers to the lengthier parts of the form (course objectives, course description, your biography, weekly outline) in advance of starting the online form. You may copy and paste answers from a word processing program into the form to save time and ensure you can finish the data entry in a single session.
- Required form entries are marked with a red asterisk (*). You must complete all the required entries before submitting.
- To submit more than one course proposal, you will need to complete the first one before starting another. The second question asks you to enumerate each proposal such as, 1 of 3 or 1/3. By showing which submission it is out of the total number, we can tell them apart.
- Once the “Submit Course Proposal” button is clicked, you will see a thank you screen and your proposal will be submitted to the Osher office.
- You will receive an email copy of the completed form as well shortly after you submit the proposal.
Specific Instructions for Course Proposal Form Fields
COURSE TITLE, DESCRIPTION, AND BIO: If your course is a repeat and all the information is the same, please give the title and write the word SAME into both the course description and bio fields.
- COURSE TITLE: Course titles are restricted to 50 or fewer characters, including spaces. Try to make your title enticing.
- COURSE DESCRIPTION: Use your course description to sell your course. Limit is 150 words – no bullets, numbers, or lists. Please check your word count prior to filling out the form. Remember to indicate any required text and/or materials. Students must know in advance of all associated costs. Course descriptions and biographies may be edited by Osher and/or staff editors before being printed in the course catalog.
- BIOGRAPHY: Biographies are limited to 200 words, including the biographies of any co-leaders. If there is more than one study leader, identify one of you as the main contact responsible for communicating with the office and class members. We encourage you to customize your biography to match your course.
Examples of previous course descriptions and biographies can be viewed on our website: www.cmu.edu/osher/publications/index.html.
SCHEDULING INFORMATION DETAILS:
You will be asked:
- to pick a session to teach in
- choose three time slots, ranked in order of preference (1-3), you could teach. Unfortunately, we cannot always accommodate everyone’s choice, but do our best to do so. Late afternoons and Fridays are easier to schedule. If you have no preference, leave this blank and we will assign a day/time slot.
- the number of classes for your course (5 - 6 is the norm, but fewer are possible)
- the class length (1, 1.5, or 2 hours). We strongly recommend non-activity classes (i.e., lecture-type classes) last 1.5 hours
- to indicate the minimum number of students (below which the course will be cancelled) and the maximum number of students (at which enrollment will be capped)
- if you are teaching a computer course in a CMU computer cluster, and what software you will need
If your course is new or revised, you will be asked to provide 3 or 4 sentences (100 words) about your course objective(s) and then a couple of sentences (100 words each) about your class goals for each week of the course.
If you need to use the A/V equipment, you must learn how to use it. A/V is available in all Osher classrooms. A training session will be held prior to the start of the term. New study leaders must attend this training session; returning study leaders are also encouraged to attend. A YouTube video is also available for review.
Again, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT you are extremely careful that all your information is correct before you submit because your submission will be considered final.
Study Leader Agreement
If we accept your proposal, we ask that you adhere to our established rules and regulations; please
- show mutual respect and tolerance for diverse opinions
- be certain that you know how to use Osher A/V equipment before your course begins, A/V training is available upon request
- allow time for the Osher Ambassador to make announcements at the beginning of each class and to take attendance; please do not expect the Ambassador to help you in other ways during your classes
- support our Osher culture of encouraging students to raise their hand for study leader confirmation before they speak
- inform the Executive Director if a student behaves in a way that is a violation of the Osher Code of Conduct – see Code of Conduct under Membership on this website
- inform the Osher office, in a timely manner, if you need to cancel a class or make any changes to your class schedule
- communicate with your students through your account on the Osher at CMU online registration system
- provide student handouts electronically through your account on the Osher at CMU online registration system
- do not sell or promote your services or products
- inform students of the need/requirement to purchase a book for course participation
- inform the Executive Director by telephone if a situation rises that seriously impacts your ability to teach your course
Fall 2020 Proposals
- Read the Study Leader Agreement above.
- Click on the proposal form link and the form will open in a new webpage. Text may be copied from your files and pasted into the form.
- Note that there are limits on course title, course description, and biography.
- New and revised courses will be required to give a course objective and outline for each week.
- Click the "Submit Course Proposal" button at the end of the form to submit your proposal. You will receive a copy by email.
Course Proposal Form
Please be sure to read the instructions above. When you have completed your proposal, be sure to click the Submit Course Proposal button at the end of the form. Note that the form can not be saved for later - it must be completed in the same session. Proposals are due Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
Complete a proposal:
Winter 2021 Term Dates
January 11 to March 5, 2021
(No class MLK Day, Monday, January 18, 2021)
March 8 to April 30, 2021
(No class Friday, April 16, 2021)
1 and 2-Day Courses
February 22 to March 5, 2021
Study leaders who are not members and their spouse/legal domestic partner may request an invitation to membership upon completion of their first 5- or 6-session course.
Who Are Our Study Leaders?
Study Leaders are volunteers who come from various walks of life. They bring many different talents based upon their life experience. Some present classes based upon many years of professional or business experience; others from upon hobbies or avocations that have provided them with memorable skills over the years. A few Study Leaders simply coordinate their classes and have different speakers each week.
Our students have the intellectual and physical energy to participate in classes enthusiastically. Study Leaders find teaching at Osher at CMU a very rewarding experience.