Back in April I had the opportunity to get a taste of being a sessional academic. I was a tutor at QUT for five weeks, for an information retrieval unit. All the tutorials were conducted in Blackboard Collaborate on a Monday evening, so I was able to run them from home. The unit covered the sorts of topics and skills that I teach students in my regular job, such as search strategies, search controls, and evaluating search results. I think being quite familiar with the material made the teaching of it a bit less daunting, and I got to pass on some real-life examples that I’d encountered as a reference librarian. For their main assignment, the students had to assume the role of an information consultant and interview their client to determine their information need. I got to pretend to be Lee Dowling, a citrus farmer who wanted to know more about citrus canker, and answer the students’ questions. This was a really fun experience.
The students that came along to my tutorials were engaged and keen, and asked questions when they had to, so the tutorials always went smoothly. I enjoyed this role, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a go at expanding on their teaching experience. I’d certainly do it again if I had the opportunity.