February 23, 2017

Making a CFU Connection

The Quick Facts About Creating a Class at CFU

Become an adult educator at Colorado Free University, Colorado’s largest learning network offering non-credit, enrichment opportunities for adults. The Free University is based on the idea that each community has within it the knowledge and resources needed to solve its own problems. Teachers come from the community; they are people like you–eager to share their passion, experience, and expertise. We connect people with an appetite for learning to teachers who are willing and able to share their knowledge and skills. Courses are held days, evenings, and weekends all over town.

You Create the Courses…

Teachers design their own courses, workshops, field trips, and events. They submit their ideas in the form of proposals to the Colorado Free University programming staff. In collaboration with instructors, CFU staff organize and prepare courses for publication in the CFU catalog and on the website.

We Do Our Best to Promote You…

A large portion of the CFU budget is dedicated to the marketing its programs. Our primary outreach is our course catalog, which is published four times per year (with a reprint of each of these four). About 30,000 catalogs are mailed out and we distribute many more catalogs in racks all around the metro area. CFU is always seeking to announce our class offerings to the widest possible audience throughout the Front Range. The students we attract are curious and eager to feed their minds.

Maintain Your Independent Contractor Status…

Educators are not hired as employees of CFU, but rather contract with CFU. This adds flexibility, but also some red tape. Teachers promise to design and conduct quality courses, and they are responsible for being in legal compliance with all requirements for credentials, licenses, permits, and copyright laws germane to the conduct of their classes/events. Instructors must assume liability for what takes place in their classes and when appropriate provide their own waivers of liability to students in class.

In a learning network like CFU, teachers choose their own material and are not burdened by an institution’s curriculum. Students sign up voluntarily, so they are motivated and inquisitive. The learning network usually provides a better fit between the student and the teacher.

CFU Takes the Burden Off Teachers

If you do not have your own location where you would prefer to teach your class, you are invited to teach at the school’s campuses. We handle registering students, collecting tuition, and the other mechanics of making classes available. Teachers prepare their courses, provide materials, and connect with students.

Learn What You Need to Be a Pro…

It is important that new teachers come to an instructor orientation meeting so that you are comfortable with the procedures and policies involved in teaching at CFU.

There are risks inherent in operating a learning network like CFU. It is difficult for the organization to know exactly what’s going on in the classroom. There is a large amount of trust put in the hands of the teachers. There are a number of things we trust teachers not to do, such as self-promoting during class in a heavy-handed way, misrepresenting themselves to the administration with regard to their competence and qualifications, and failing to prepare extensively enough for class.

There are also a number of things we trust teachers to do. We trust them to have visual aids, the right balance of student involvement with content delivery, and a friendly demeanor. We trust them to be adept at teaching students with different skill levels, and to provide appropriate bathroom and lunch breaks. They should also know how to take admission tickets without delaying the class, how to deal with late-comers, and how to acquaint the class without wasting twenty minutes. We also trust teachers to consider ways of teaching actively, such as surveying students’ opinions before and after topics (to gauge any changes), letting students debate, allowing class brainstorming on difficult questions, and (yes, it has worked before) using props in class.

It is important that all new teachers attend our new instructor orientation meeting to become comfortable with the procedures and policies of CFU.

CFU is Committed to Providing Affordable Classes

CFU strives to make classes accessible to our community and we are committed to keeping our courses reasonably priced. Some instructors donate their teaching because their motivation for presenting a class is the exposure and relationships they can develop or the opportunity to give back to the community. Other instructors teach for a modest percentage of the tuition and understand that a full classroom is the best way to benefit. If your course is accepted, we will work with you to determine appropriate fees.

Design Your Class for Maximum Enrollment…

Teachers interested in teaching at CFU should consider how to design a course that will succeed. There is no foolproof formula which leads to enrollment hits, but there are principles which help. The class should:

  • offer the answer to a genuine student need
  • be clear as to what skills or knowledge the student will walk out with
  • have a defined target audience

It should also focus on something a teacher is passionate and knowledgeable about. It is normal for a teacher to model classes after ones that have succeeded in the past, so scour a recent CFU catalog for good ideas and examples.

Be a Part of the Solution

As Founder John Hand believed, “communities have within them the resources to solve their own problems.” CFU is here for the community. We support practical education for inquisitive minds. We handle the details so that learning can take place with as little hassle as possible. But it is you, the community, that makes this great network possible!