The Virtual U3A or vU3A is like a local U3A Group except that its activities take place on the Internet.
An important target group for the vU3a is older people who are isolated through location, illness or immobility - but all are welcome. We have members from around the world.
Members of the Virtual U3A are encouraged to form their own informal learning and discussion groups, choose their own topics and share their experiences in the social areas of the site. It follows the principles of participative learning which have made the U3A one of the most successful educational and social groups for older people.
The vU3A's activities are carried out in writing using a secure, membership only, workspace. The vU3A does not create or deliver formal structured online courses.
Early history of the vU3A
In 2003 there was a small group of U3A members who proposed a 'Virtual' U3A for people who, for one reason or another, could not attend meetings of conventional local U3A groups. Using the Internet would make it possible for such people to benefit from a Virtual University of the Third Age, or vU3A.
It took a surprisingly long time to germinate and get something established to serve the vU3A. What we all wanted to create was something of the facilities and atmosphere of a typical U3A group – but on the Internet.
A group of pioneers now set to work, seeking to establish the viability of a vU3A by pursuing projects designed to be worked on collaboratively. It was to prove interesting to witness the success of these various experiments in bringing together a group of strangers from various parts of the world, a process which in some cases has led to lasting friendships.
Move to become a U3A group
The vU3A is now an independently run U3A group affiliated to The Third Age Trust just like any other.