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Professional development as a sessional educator

By David Bowser 23rd April 2018

People are often surprised to learn that much of higher and vocational education globally is delivered by casual/sessional educators and academics. All those tutorials, lab classes, webinars, and often lectures are developed and delivered to students by people only employed for that teaching period. This makes post-secondary education one of the largest “casualised” sectors of our economy.

The Sessions network (mysessions.co) attracts people from all different backgrounds seeking work for many different reasons. In a recent survey of our 12,000+ members we found the majority sought to pass on industry and professional knowledge with a minority seeking casual employment as a stop gap to a tenure track university appointment.

With so many seeking to pass on industry knowledge, how can we best help industry professionals to develop core skills in education?

Education providers are just starting to think about professional development of their very large sessional staff cohorts. In some recent enterprise bargaining negotiations, several universities agreed to a mandated number of paid professional development hours (e.g. Deakin University). But many of these are still in development.

Over the remainder of 2018, we will be building a professional development resource for all Sessions educators. This will start as a curated resource list with plans to move to a fully functioning professional development system in the future.

One course that we have recently been made aware of is Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching, a new massive open online course (“MOOC”) by Swinburne University of Technology to support and train tertiary education teachers – both casual and permanent. To find out more about Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching click here

Our sister organisation, Curio Academy, built a course on best practice online facilitation. It is used for training our large cohort of online facilitators and has been adopted by other institutions who understand the need to build these critical skills

If there are professional development resources that you would recommend we review and share, please let us know by emailing: enquiries@mysessions.co

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