This is how I teach
The success of The University Adelaide is due to its people and the Learning and Teaching News will recognise the great teaching that is happening through a regular introduction to your colleagues: ‘This is how I teach’.
This month we spoke with Melissa Connor, Academic Director Work Integrated Learning in the Faculty of Professions, about the ways she prepares students for their working lives.
What do you like most about teaching in your discipline? Which aspect is the most rewarding?
I teach the Graduate Career Readiness, Internships and Industry Project courses, which all focus on helping students think about their plans after their studies. I like encouraging students to think big about their aspirations and to make plans that move them closer to achieving their goals. I like revealing ‘behind the curtain’ of employability and discussing the things that students might not normally such as; where do I want to work? What kind of work/life balance is important to me? What are my values? What do employers really want?
The most rewarding aspect is seeing students achieving goals they had set for themselves, stepping outside their comfort zone and building confidence. I keep in touch with many former students through LinkedIn and I am always so proud of their achievements.
How would you describe your approach to teaching/your teaching philosophy? – do you have word or phrase which best describes how you teach?
I am very much influenced by being inclusive in the classroom and recognising that each individual comes to class with their own set of experiences, motivations and aspirations. I like to empower students to make informed decisions.
Teaching in work-integrated learning means that I have the opportunity to enable students to see the connections between their studies and practical application in their future workplaces.
How do you think your students would describe you as a teacher?
My students describe me as caring, someone who is dynamic and uses innovation in teaching.
I hope that students feel safe in my classroom, in a way that encourages them to be their authentic self. With many industry guests coming in the Graduate Career Readiness class, it is my job to make sure students are prepared and feel supported.
What is your favourite assignment or in-class activity?
In Graduate Career Readiness I have many favourite activities as I have worked hard to make the course experiential and engaging. If I had to name one, it is the industry site visits in which I take the class to several Adelaide-based businesses to get an appreciation of what the contemporary workplace looks like and also the opportunity to hear from HR recruiters and practice professional networking skills. Surprisingly, many students have not been inside an office and the industry site visit is a great way to help students become more comfortable. The industry site visits have also seen students make connections with professionals that have led to mentoring, internships and paid employment.
When you are teaching are there any tools that you find to be indispensable?
I still haven’t really found anything that replaces good old markers and paper as a teaching tool!
What is your favourite way to use technology to enhance learning?
I like to incorporate technology that students are likely to use in their everyday lives as well as those that they are likely to encounter in the workplace. I have assessment that gets students using LinkedIn to research and connect with their profession and use social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to analyse how companies communicate their culture and values to prospective employees.
In the Internship and Industry Project courses I teach, students use online collaborative working tools such as Trello and Padlet. This provides students with awareness and familiarity of technology they are likely to encounter.
What are you most proud of from your teaching this year?
I am proud of the way I made experiential learning work for remote delivery. The Graduate Career Readiness course was able to move activities such as mock interviews, industry pitch presentations, professional networking and industry site visits online. It has shown that it is possible to deliver work-integrated learning online and still maintain student engagement and satisfaction with the course.
For more information on any aspect of Student Employability please visit our website.