JCU Sessional Teachers participate in a range of teaching roles and thus are oftentimes at the very forefront of student engagement, hence their ability to influence student learning in powerful ways. Sessionals contribute meaningfully to the learning and teaching community and their genuine interest in facilitating student learning, promotes high quality learning experiences as is evident in SFS.
The casual teaching experience encompasses but is not limited to preparing for and presenting tutorials and/or workshops; lectures; mentoring and group facilitation; designing teaching materials; external/online teaching and marking. In 2011, JCU peers and colleagues nominated Keta Roseby for the FLBCA Sessional Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Student Learning.
I started teaching sessionally at JCU in Civil Procedure in 2009. This is a subject law students generally undertake in the final year of their degree. As a practicing lawyer, I use my experience to assist students in bridging the gap between learning the law and practicing it. For me, providing examples of scenarios is a logical way to reinforce understanding and I draw from and incorporate some of my own experiences to effectively respond to students’ questions, concerns or expectations. I can give them the benefit of insight into cases that were successful or the valuable lessons learned from cases that were not.
I believe it is important that students know and understand exactly what is required of them in terms of meeting the assessment criteria. I talk a lot about the assessment, right from day one, knowing that they will take more of the information in as the deadline gets closer. With assignments, I show the students what a high distinction submission might look like. With the exam, I go into some detail about how it will be marked and how to achieve full marks.
I also believe that students feel more supported in an environment where they are comfortable enough to approach the lecturer to ask questions or seek advice. This is the environment I try and create. I make it clear to the students that, just because I’m a sessional lecturer and don’t have a full time office at JCU, I am available by email in addition to the standard lecture and tutorial times. Students regularly take me up on this and I get many emails, particularly immediately before assessment and sometimes very late in the evening!