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It is important to consider the practical aspects that will make participants as comfortable as possible, and hopefully attract them back for future courses and events at your venue. We have found that the most important considerations for our adult course attendees are comfortable seating and good sightlines. Ideally, you might want to locate your course in a cinema screen. However we appreciate that this might not always be possible. Wherever you choose to run your course, here are some important things to consider:

  • Seating that is arranged around a table if possible (which helps if people take notes).
  • The provision of, or easy access to, refreshments (coffee, tea, water).
  • Provide regular breaks
  • Controllable light levels
  • Comfortable temperature
  • The avoidance of interruptions
  • Tutor approach – remember that you are offering informal education, so above all the course should be enjoyable and accessible for attendees, especially those for whom this may be the first time they have attended a film studies course. Therefore the tutor shouldn't approach an informal class like a lecture. Instead they should keep it open for debates and encourage everyone to contribute. For a list of recommended tutors, along with their specialisms, you can consult the online database.
  • Audio-visual facilities: Provide a DVD / Blu-ray player, VHS player (yes – a lot of tutors still use clips on VHS!), computer connectivity (mac and PC), access to internet (many tutors like to bring clips preloaded or access them online).
  • Large screen TV / screen or data projector
  • The provision of handouts and opportunities for further reading (but not 'homework'!). If you want to control your photocopying budget, perhaps limit your tutors to 12 double-sided pages of notes per attendee.
  • A suggested viewing list is useful to let students watch films in preparation.
  • Typical topics that tend to work when introducing learning activity for the first time at a venue are An Introduction (or Beginners Guide) to Film Studies, and key directors or genres (Hitchcock or Film Noir for example). It is always a good idea to produce a course outline so that prospective participants have an idea of what to expect. For an example of a course outline see Appendix B
  • Keep the sessions varied, with a variety of regular film clips to illustrate the topic and prompt discussion.
  • Consider incorporating a film screening into the price of the course – either specially programmed, or from your main programme. Not only will you to some extent 'guarantee an audience' but this will also provide a communal experience for the attendees.
  • Access issues: Ideally you should provide access for wheelchair users. If you have attendees with visual or hearing impairments, they may want to sit near the front and have subtitles on screen, or the sound turned up during clips.
  • The ideal class size is dependent on the size of your teaching space and the teaching style adopted. In our experience, this is 12 people. This means there are enough attendees to illicit discussion, but not so many that it might mean not everyone gets the chance to participate.
  • Regarding duration of classes; at Cinema City a Day School lasts 6 hours (including lunch break) i.e. 10.30am – 4.30pm. For longer courses we adopt 2 hour sessions (i.e. 7pm -9pm). The length of evening courses at Cinema City range from 6 to 10 weeks.
  • Regarding the cost of courses: obviously you'll need to cover the costs of putting on your education provision (any venue hire, cost of refreshments, administration and marketing, design, tutor fee, photocopying, printing), but when you set your courses prices, try to be fair and inclusive. Consider offering concessionary rates for students, senior citizens etc.
  • Tutor costs: try tofind out theaveragehourly rate for adult course providers in your region and offer a fair wage.