FAQ – Teaching Courses

Q: How do I sign up to teach?

A: Watch this site or sign up for e-news. We start accepting course proposals in mid-December. We’ll have a short form for you to fill out with your course idea and some basic information. Our organizing team will review proposals and get back to everyone very quickly.

Q: Who can teach a course?

A: Anyone with a skill to share, the time to teach, and a connection to Bethel. You do not need to be a Bethel resident – if you work in Bethel, own a business in Bethel, have a second cousin from Bethel, or just love Bethel University, we invite you to teach. You do not need a college degree or years of experience. Teens and kids are welcome to teach courses as well as adults, and we can help find mentors to help kids develop strong courses.

Q: What topics are most popular?

A: There’s quite a range. Certain topics tend to be very popular… craft courses, exercise or sports,  cooking and other creative topics always fill up fast. You may get fewer students for a specialized topic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth offering. Many organizations are also using BU now as a way to educate community members, recruit volunteers or advance their missions. You can set a minimum and maximum number of students.

Q: Where can I hold a course?

A: Lots of places! Instructors can offer to teach courses in their homes and businesses in Bethel. We also have public spaces galore: the Bethel Town Office (medium size room with tables and chairs), Bethel Town Hall (conference room, kitchen, or large hall/stage), Bethel Schools (gym, cafeteria, classrooms, computer lab), Parish House (medium size room, kitchen), and the Bethel Public Library (medium size room). Several local businesses are also willing to host. You can request a space when you submit a course proposal; we make final assignments based on availability and scheduling.

Q: When can I schedule a course? How long should it be?

A: All courses will be held within the month of March. Other than that, it’s up to you. You can offer a course for a single session or several meetings. You can offer a 30-minute speed version or a daylong workshop. Think about what will work best for the material you want to cover and for students who might want to attend. We do encourage professors to offer shorter, single-session courses over multi-session when possible; you’ll get more people to register, and it’ll make things easier on our team. You can always continue meeting afterward if your group wants to keep going.

Q: What can I teach? Can I teach more than one course?

A: Instructors can teach whatever they know and are passionate about. If you’re a small business, think about teaching a course that showcases your business offerings – but make sure to offer lots of content and not just a long infomercial. If you have a hobby or a profession and want to share your expertise, teach a course on those skills. Even if you just have average skills in using your computer or mobile phone, or planting a garden, chances are someone would like to learn about it. We also now offer a “meet-up” option – you can host an informal gathering on a topic even if you don’t feel you can teach a class on it.

If you need ideas, check out our past course listings to see what’s been offered. If you want to propose more than one course, please do – just be sure to fill out a separate form for each course.

Q: How much does this gig pay?

A: If you’re in this for the money, you might want to look elsewhere. If you offer to teach a course, you’ll be volunteering your time in exchange for fame (within central Vermont), food (at our graduation ceremony) and lots of fun. If you have a business, this is a great way to introduce more people to your services or get people to your shop.

We do have limited funds available to help cover course materials (think flour or yarn – not iPods and flat screens). We do not allow instructors to charge students for courses.

Q: Do you accept all course proposals? When will we hear from you?

A: In the past we’ve accepted all proposals that will work, practically speaking. We plan to limit the number of courses in 2018, though, to focus on offering the best quality experience. We may need to turn down some proposals and encourage professors to submit just one or two ideas. We also reserve the right to turn down proposals on topics that are illegal or otherwise radically offensive or inappropriate. We will be review proposals by the end of January and respond as soon as possible.

Q: I’ve never taught a course before. Can you help?

A:  We have a number of ways to help. We offer a teacher training workshop for new teachers, and highly encourage you to come and work on shaping your course. You can read our Tips for Teachers and download a short professor’s manual. Our planning team also has several people with experience in teaching and we’re happy to answer questions or offer guidance in putting together great courses. If you want to teach, please submit an idea and we’ll help you as much as we can!