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C3a – Collecting and Connecting Central Academy, is an on-demand, online learning tool containing videos, learning modules, and resources that cover a wide variety of topic and interest areas. APS members have special access to courses and videos as part of their membership. If you are a member be sure to log in to access these benefits.


Upcoming Virtual Learning Events

To register for upcoming learning events you must first log in and enter the C3a learning platform using the button above. After entering C3a, go to the "E-Commerce" section.


September 2021 Virtual Learning Event – Register in the ECommerce section of the C3a learning platform.

Dead letter imageUnderstanding Auxiliary Markings and Their Importance

This three-session seminar will meet September 14, 21, and 28, 2021 (6:00-7:15 p.m. EDT)
Cost: $25 for APS Members/$50 for Non-members
Instructor:  Gary Wayne Loew, APS Editor-in-Chief

Artifacts help us to learn about postal history. Auxiliary markings found on letters and parcels help us to understand the past. They help to explain a letter’s odyssey and the history of the times. During this three-session course, master the marks found on the post in order to unravel the mysteries of yesterday.

  • Session 1: September 14, 2021 – History & Purpose of Auxiliary Markings
  • Session 2:  September 21, 2021 – Taxonomy for Organizing Auxiliary Markings
  • Session 3:  September 28, 2021 – Specialized Auxiliary Markings:  A Deep Dive


October 2021 Virtual Learning Event - Registration opens September 1, 2021
(Registration limited to 25 students)

Stamp Collecting Fundamentals

This four-session seminar will meet October 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2021 (7:00-9:00 pm EDT)
Cost: $40 for APS Members/$80 for Non-members
Instructor: Daniel Piazza, Chief Curator of Philately, Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Stamp Collecting Fundaments will be a highly interactive, practical course designed to familiarize beginning adult collectors with the world’s most popular hobby. Demonstrations of tips and techniques for new collectors will be combined with rich images and stories drawn from the vast collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum, making this a fun and engaging philatelic experience.

During this course you will learn to:

  1. Understand collecting terms
  2. Use simple collecting tools
  3. Find and identify stamps in order to build your philatelic collection
  4. Preserve your collection for future generations of philatelists
  5. Find resources online and in print to increase your philatelic knowledge
  6. Use appropriate methods and tools to study and document your collection
  • Session 1:  October 5, 2021 – Deciding What to Collect
  • Session 2:  October 12, 2021 – Building Your Collection
  • Session 3:  October 19, 2021 – Studying and Caring for Your Collection
  • Session 4:  October 26, 2021 – Beyond Stamps

Ready to get started?

Check out the FAQ below for information on viewing material and enrolling in courses!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is C3a?

C3a stands for “Collecting and Connecting Central Academy.” It is an on-demand, online learning tool containing videos, learning modules and resources that cover a wide variety of philatelic topics. APS members have special access to courses and videos as part of their membership; some free and others at deeply discounted prices.

How do I create an account?
  • First, you must have an account on the APS website (stamps.org). When you are logged into the APS website, you will automatically be logged into C3a as well.
  • To create an account, click on the “login” link found in the top right-hand corner on each page of this site. If you do not have an account already, click “register” in the pop-up box that appears and fill out the registration form.
  • If you already have an account at stamps.org, please do not create a new one. This is especially problematic for members as only their original account will be linked to their membership, which is required to access some content and receive member discounts.
Are there different types of C3a accounts?

Yes, there are three different types of accounts; each account type has different levels of access to videos, courses, and resources. APS members have access to many learning elements and receive 50% off of items purchased on the C3a ECommerce site. Non-members have access to a limited amount of free content and pay full price for ECommerce purchases. Young Stamp Collectors of America (YSCA) members have access to content that is specific to young philatelists, much of which is specially designed for them.

I created an account but don’t remember how to find the C3a website.

The easiest way to find C3a is at learning.stamps.org. You can also navigate to C3a from anywhere on the APS website by going to Learn > Online Learning on the menu bar at the top of the page. You will only see the "ENTER C3a" button when you are logged in to the APS website; otherwise you will see a login button instead.

Why do I have items in the “My Courses” section?

As part of your APS member benefits, a variety of learning elements have been preloaded into your C3a account. There is no charge for these items. Just open them and enjoy! If you have enrolled in a live, virtual course or purchased an on-demand course, all course recordings/videos and handouts will be placed in the “Purchased Courses” folder within the “My Courses” section. If you have purchased on-demand videos in the ECommerce section, they will be found in the “Purchased Videos” folder within the “My Courses” section.

How do I register for a live, virtual course?
  1. Log into the APS website
  2. Using the menu bar across the top of the page, go to Learn > Online Learning and click on the "ENTER C3a" button
  3. Click on the “ECommerce” tab
  4. Look for items of interest to you. (Try clicking on the different categories to see more items.)
  5. Click on the “Add to Cart” link to add an item to your virtual shopping cart.
  6. Notice the “Cart Summary” at the bottom left of the screen. When finished shopping, click on “Checkout.”
  7. Complete the required billing information and then click on “Review order” link at the bottom right.
  8. If the order is correct, enter your credit card information. Click “Place order now” link at bottom right.
  9. You are finished!
I am an APS member but I am not seeing member pricing for courses and videos.

The learning management system does not always grant APS member status immediately. Contact learning@stamps.org and ask that your C3a account be upgraded to member status.

I have registered for a live, virtual course. What happens next?
  1. You will receive an email from learning@stamps.org entitled, “C3a User Account Update” informing you that your account has added a new security role. The course title should be listed as that role.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email from GoToWebinar.
  3. A few days prior to the event, you will receive an informational email from the APS Education Department with detailed information and troubleshooting tips.
  4. Twenty-four hours prior to the event, you will receive an email from GoToWebinar with the meeting link and a follow-up reminder one-hour prior.
  5. Following the course, the session recording and any handouts will be placed in your C3a learning account for future reference.


I registered for a live, virtual course but was unable to attend. Can I get the recording?

Following any live, virtual course all registrants will have session recording(s) and handouts placed in their C3a learning account. Course materials will be found in the “My Courses” section in the “Purchased Courses” folder.

I was unable to register for one of your live, virtual courses. Is the recording available for purchase?

Yes, once course recordings are edited, the course is placed in the “ECommerce” section for purchase. Once purchased, you will receive immediate access in the “My Courses” section, in the “Purchased Courses” folder.

Once I've purchased an on-demand video, where does it go?

If you have purchased an on-demand course, all course recordings/videos and handouts can be found in the “Purchased Courses” folder within the “My Courses” section. If you have purchased on-demand videos in the E-Commerce section, they can be found in the “Purchased Videos” folder within the “My Courses” section.

Why don’t you use ZOOM for your live, virtual sessions?

The learning management software that is being used to host the C3a learning platform does not support ZOOM. In order to facilitate registration and the collecting of registration fees through our learning platform, GoToWebinar is the presentation platform that is available for our use.

I haven’t used GoToWebinar before. How do I conduct a pre-session system check?


  1. To conduct a system check, go to https://support.logmeininc.com/nl/gotowebinar/system-check-organizer
  2. You will see the message, “Looks good! Your system supports GoToWebinar,” if your computer meets the minimum requirements – an adequate operating system, an updated browser, and a strong internet connection.
  3. Next, conduct a test session to make sure that your audio is properly set up. Click on the “Try a test session” link located at the bottom left of the message box. A pop-up window will appear with “Open GoTo Opener?” (If you don’t see a pop-up window with this message, your device may have a pop-up blocker in place that you will need to disable. Instructions for various browsers can be found at https://www.wikihow.com/Allow-Pop-ups.)
  4. Click on “Open GoTo Opener” link. A new window should open. At the top of the window you should see the message, “You successfully joined a test session and downloaded GoT…” You should also see video from your webcam. In the panel on the right, look for the “speakers” bar. Make sure that the correct speakers for your device have been chosen. Click the “play” arrow to the right of the speaker bar. You should hear a few bars of music. If you do not see a “play” arrow, click on the “Preferences” link found toward the bottom, right of the window. Select and test your speakers under “Speakers Setup.”



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C3a Update

Your login for the APS website and C3a (our learning system) are now the same!

You can log in to both using the "login" link found in the top right-hand corner of this page, or the button above.

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