Instructor Handbook

Welcome to the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) at Miami University. We are pleased to have you as an instructor or coordinator. Thank you for volunteering your time and talent for ILR. This handbook is designed to provide you with the information needed for you to have a successful and rewarding experience as a class leader.

ILR provides a setting for those age 50+ to learn, exchange ideas, make new friends, and explore a variety of topics in an informal, flexible, and non-competitive environment. In addition to two five-week terms each academic year, special event programs are planned both for social and educational purposes.

ILR is a non-credit program overseen by the Global Initiatives office at Miami University. ILR is a member-driven, self-supporting organization that is managed by Miami University staff and volunteer support. Members create and lead programs to meet their educational needs and interests. All instructors/coordinators are volunteers who play a valuable role in ILR and are key to its success. As an instructor/coordinator, you are invited to participate in any of the classes this term at no cost to you if you are instructing/coordinating a three-week or greater course.

Important Contact Information

Judy Macke
ILR Program Manager
Main: (513) 529-8600
Direct: (513) 529-8602

106 MacMillan Hall
531 East Spring Street
Oxford, OH 46056
Office Hours: 8:00am–5:00pm

How do I get...

A parking pass

An electronic Miami parking permit is required for all courses held on the Oxford campus. Please request a link to the permit by emailing the ILR office at and indicating “Electronic Parking Permit Request” in the subject line. A link will be sent to you via return email.

Classroom space scheduled

ILR has already done this for you based on your proposal form requests. Please see our course catalog or find your course description on the ILR website. If we have your address on file, you’ll receive a catalog by mail. Otherwise, you can request a copy.

Audio-Visual (AV) Equipment

Please do not order AV equipment or services on your own. Your classroom will be equipped with the AV equipment you requested on your course proposal form. If you will require assistance with the AV equipment, please make those arrangements with the ILR office.

If AV equipment is not needed for the whole term, please let us know. If a need arises that wasn’t planned, let ILR know a week prior to the time it is needed.


If you recommend a text for your class and have not notified us of that, please notify ILR of the title, author and ISBN number. Students are responsible for acquiring their own texts.


Please have originals for any handouts you wish copied to the ILR office at least one week prior to the time needed. Up to 25 black and white double-sided copies per student will be copied. Oxford Copy Shop can be used for larger course packets. Respect copyright laws. Miami University will not duplicate copyrighted material without permission.

Class enrollment and participant list

Your class list will be emailed to you one week prior to the start of your class. You may also call or email ILR if enrollment plays a significant role in planning your course for the term. However, we continue to receive registrations up to the first day of class; a final count may not be possible until that time.

Guest Speakers

Please let ILR know the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of guest speakers, if you have not already done so. Guest speakers often enrich a seminar, and you are encouraged to use them when you think it is appropriate. If you plan to include guest speakers, we strongly advise you to get a written confirmation stating time, place, and agreed upon topic.

  • Prepare the speaker: Let the speaker know the size of the class, participant expectations, and time limits for presentation, which must include time for participants to ask questions and discuss what they have heard.
  • Introduce the speaker and act as traffic control for questions: If you cannot be present, ask a class member or liaison to act in your stead.
  • Speakers will need a parking pass on the Oxford campus. See “How do I get a parking permit” above.
  • Follow-up: A phone call or note of thanks to each of your speakers would be appropriate.


A link to the course survey will be emailed to all ILR members at the conclusion of the ILR term. The results of the surveys will be emailed to you.

Tech Assistance

If you are teaching an online or hybrid class (a class with a both an in-person and online audience) a class host will be assigned to you. Class hosts can assist you with the audio/visual needs of your presentation, assist online students and yourself with any technical difficulties, and moderate the online platform. Class hosts are also available to assist with in-person classes. If you would like technical assistance with your course, please indicate so on your course proposal form.


We know situations arise that haven’t been anticipated when you are instructing a course. If you have a special need or if something comes up that you need assistance with, please let us know.

Suggestions for a Successful Class

The ILR philosophy of Peer Learning means that instructors and students alike enrich the class, all drawing on lifetimes of experience and knowledge. Most classes can incorporate the idea of peer learning and most adult learners find this kind of learning to be most satisfying.

IMPORTANT: Please speak loudly during classes. Many of our students have hearing difficulties. Here are some helpful tips:

  • If the class is held in a room with a microphone, use it.
  • If you are soft-spoken and the room doesn’t have a mic, portable microphones are available in the ILR office. Request one.
  • Encourage those with hearing problems to sit nearest the instructor.
  • If the class is a discussion format, encourage the class to be arranged in a circle.
  • If reciting from a book in which the students are following along with their own copy, state the page and paragraph number.
  • Restate and rephrase students’ comments/questions to the class so students are hearing both the question and the answer.

At your first class session it is helpful to:

  • Set a positive, open tone.
  • Distribute a topical outline or syllabus so participants can see what is ahead.
  • Introduce yourself, telling a bit about your background, interests, and your class objectives.
  • If appropriate, have participants introduce themselves and tell why they enrolled and what experience they bring to the class. Remember that most of our participants enroll as much for social as for intellectual reasons. Early introductions allow them to know one another and give you an idea of their experiences and expectations.
  • Remember that most ILR members know each other and often know our instructors or coordinators—but that new members do not. Please make new members feel comfortable and welcome. Your course enrollment list will indicate which members are new.

You may encourage and stimulate class members to participate in discussion by making reports or sharing a bit of research. However, many people will prefer to learn simply by listening to you and to other class members.

As you know, differences of opinion in a discussion can be stimulating – and we do hope our classes are stimulating for all! Most adult learners are eager to express their opinions, but some can tend to dominate the discussion. Common sense will help you avoid these situations, or at least help you turn them around. 

Adult learners are always early for class and ready to go promptly at the scheduled start time; therefore, it is best to be early, particularly on the first day.

Prior to the beginning of class, you might find it beneficial to acquaint yourself with the building and classroom. Please take time to locate:

  • Phones are located throughout university classroom buildings—you can reach anyone on campus by dialing 9 and the last four digits of the phone number, or, to reach someone off campus in the local area, dial 88 and the seven-digit number. To reach ILR’s Program Manager dial 9-8602. To reach the Global Initiatives office, dial 9-8600.
  • Elevators are sometimes difficult to locate, particularly in the older buildings on campus.
  • Restrooms and exits. Know where they are located so you can inform your class.
  • Classroom layout. On campus, most classrooms are equipped with up-to-date technology. For instance, some rooms are equipped with screens that are operated electronically, but the switches are sometimes difficult to locate, so it is best to familiarize yourself with them prior to the first class. If you need help, contact someone in the main office of the building, ILR’s Program Manager at 9-8602 (529-8500), or IT Services at 9-7900 (529-7900).

What If...

My classroom is locked or my audio visual equipment didn’t arrive; what do I do?

Oxford campus classrooms: This is unlikely to happen, but if it does, contact the ILR office.

Voice of America Learning Center: (513) 895-8869 or 895-8862

Mt. Pleasant Retirement Community: (513) 539-0045

Berkeley Square: (513) 785-2020

MU Downtown, Hamilton: (513) 675-4065

Other off-campus classrooms: Notify front desk in reception area (if there is one), or contact the ILR Office.

I cannot meet my class; what do I do?

As soon as you are able, contact the ILR office. We will contact participants and notify them of the change in schedule. You and the ILR office may arrange a make-up date. You can also choose to schedule a guest speaker or perhaps arrange for a video to be shown. If an illness or other emergency makes your appearance impossible, call the ILR office as soon as possible.

My class size is shrinking; what am I doing wrong?

Probably nothing—many classes settle into a size less than their initial enrollments. At times, participants find they have over-extended their time and must pare down their schedules. Also, travel, illness in the family or of the individual, time conflicts, or simply not feeling like going out, can all cut into attendance. If you retain a core of interested members, you are doing fine.

A participant becomes ill, falls, collapses, etc.; what do I do?

Assign a class member to stay with the stricken participant.

Call 911.

Return to the class and wait for emergency personnel.

Contact ILR at 529-8500 and/or Global Initiatives at 529-8600.

Fill-out and return an Incident Report form to ILR after the participant has received care. 

There is snow, ice, fire, and/or earthquake; are classes canceled?

We cancel when the University cancels. Radio and television carry closing announcements. Check for information on Miami’s public radio station, WMUB at 88.5 FM, WVXU at 91.7 FM, or visit Miami’s web site, If still in doubt, contact ILR.

Please do not let this list of “What ifs” deter you or frighten you. It is very rare that any of the above will happen. This list is for your benefit in order to make the semester as worry free as possible.