Help! I'm Hosting a CE Course!
By Kathleen Gaydos Combs, coordinator of continuing education, and
the MLA Continuing Education Committee
Whenever we hear this statement, we know most of the questions that a
continuing education (CE) course host wants to ask. Hosting a CE course
can be stressful, because you want everything to go smoothly and you do
not want to forget anything. But, the good news is that once you host
a course, future programs are a piece of cake. Below are some easy steps
to help any medical librarian host a CE course, gain MLA CE credit, advertise
with MLA, and have a good time in the process.
- Decide on a topic
One of the best ways to decide what to host is to know the needs of
your constituents. Many chapters and groups take informal surveys of
their membership using the group's email discussion list.
- Find an instructor
A good resource for finding an instructor to match your topic is through
the MLANET Education Clearinghouse (www.mlanet.org/education/cech/).
This database lists all of the CE activities that are already approved
by MLA, instructor contact information, and much more.
- Negotiations and contracts
Contact the instructor to ensure availability and agreement on the presentation
date, honorarium, per diem, hospitality, facilities, materials, equipment
requirements, cancellation policy, and other desired services. Although
MLA encourages instructors to be considerate of local finances, individual
situations may foster a range of stipends, depending on the instructor's
reputation, experience, and travel.
- Set the budget and the course fee
Once you have a good estimate of instructor costs, material reproduction,
and facility and AV rentals, you can set the budget. From the estimate
of the total presentation costs, determine the fee and number of participants
needed to generate enough revenues to host the course. Local sponsors
hold full responsibility for setting and collecting fees.
- MLA CE approval
To find out if you can award MLA CE contact hours, go to the MLANET
Education Clearinghouse (www.mlanet.org/education/cech/) and note the
approval expiration date. If you already have approval, move to the
"Get Set" section of this article.
- MLA CE contact hours needed
To gain MLA approval, the instructor or hosting organization should
complete the MLA CE Activities Approval Application (www.mlanet.org/education/cech/cedevelop.html).
Please turn in the forms to MLA at least six weeks before the presentation
- Renewing a course
If the approval date will expire before the course is taught, you will
need to complete the MLA CE Activities Renewal Application (www.mlanet.org/education/cech/cedevelop.html)
and send it to MLA, allowing six weeks for processing.
- MLA News listing
To place an MLA-approved course offering in the MLA News, please
fill out the "Course Announcement for MLA News" form (soon to
be added to MLANET). Return the form to the MLA editorial assistant
by the first day of the month preceding publication (e.g., if the course
is to be held in April, the course announcement should reach MLA by
February 1 for inclusion in the March issue of the MLA News).
- MLANET marketing
To have the course offering listed on MLANET, fill out the "MLANET Education
Clearinghouse Listing" form (www.mlanet.org/education/cech/cedevelop.html).
Return this form to Kathleen Gaydos Combs at MLA as soon as possible.
- Complete the certificates
One of the easiest ways to prepare certificates for a MLA-approved course
is with your computer and a scanner. Just take a blank copy of the official
MLA certificate, scan it, fill in each registrant's name, and print
out each certificate.
- Prepare evaluation forms
Once again, the easiest way to make enough for everyone is to scan an
official MLA CE evaluation form, fill in the general course information
at the top, and print enough copies for everyone. ·
- Produce the course materials
Production of course materials is the responsibility of the instructors
or the sponsoring group.
- One last final confirmation
About two weeks before the program, contact your instructor, the meeting
planner, any facilities and AV people, etc. This will reassure you that
all aspects of the course are on their way to success, and will help
you catch anything that was left out.
- Remember to relax, have fun, and enjoy the day!
- Following the presentation, have all participants complete the MLA
evaluation form. Be sure to collect all evaluation forms before awarding
- Send a roster of attendees and a copy of the evaluation forms to MLA.
And the winner is…you! Congratulations on hosting a successful CE course!
For more information regarding hosting a CE course, gaining MLA approval,
receiving blank certificates and evaluation forms, and answering all your
MLA CE questions, contact Kathleen
Gaydos Combs, 312.419.9094 x29.