Developing an Online Induction Course for Sessional Teachers

Ryan NAYLOR
The University of Melbourne, Australia
rnaylor@unimelb.edu.au

Linda CORRIN
The University of Melbourne, Australia
lcorrin@unimelb.edu.au

Chi BAIK
The University of Melbourne, Australia
cbaik@unimelb.edu.au

Jacqueline WILLIAMS
The University of Melbourne, Australia
jkw@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

In most Australian institutions, the majority of undergraduate teaching is performed by casual (or sessional) staff, who play an important role in the quality of student learning and the student experience. Yet providing adequate training for large numbers of casual teachers has proven challenging for many institutions. This presentation will showcase an interactive mixed-media training course for commencing casual teachers. This course was developed to address two key challenges caused by increasing casualization of the academic workforce. The first is the need for institution-wide programs to ensure that all teachers have sufficient training to create high quality learning experiences. The second is the need for accurate record keeping for reporting on the professional development of casual staff. The course was developed in online form to address the diversity in experience and availability of casual teachers; it is often difficult for many teachers to participate in face-to-face induction programs at set times - either due to other work commitments, or because they are recruited after the induction has occurred-while in some disciplines, casual teachers mainly comprise external experts for whom the requirement to participate in a half-day face-to-face induction would be inappropriate.

In this presentation we will discuss our methodological approach to the development of this course, and describe the course structure, interactivity, and the challenges and lessons learned from its development. We will also present research findings from pre- and post-course questionnaires used to evaluate participant learning outcomes, confidence levels and perceived needs regarding further professional development and support.

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