Sessional staff essentials

This information is designed as a reference guide for sessional academic and teaching staff from the College of Design and Social Context (DSC).

It aims to provide an overview of your roles and responsibilities as well as provide links to key resources to support your learning and teaching practice. You might like to bookmark it or save it to your device.

Sessional teaching at RMIT University

Sessional teaching staff at RMIT are an integral part of the University’s learning and teaching practices. Sessional academic and teaching staff members come from a diverse range of backgrounds and are valued for their fresh ideas, approaches, perspective, knowledge, expertise and contribution to the student experience.

Sessional staff fulfill a variety of roles at RMIT including lecturing, tutoring, assessment and marking, supervision and more. This website will provide you with details about who to contact and where to go for information about your roles and responsibilities at RMIT.

Good to know

RMIT's organisational structure: Your course(s) could either be a University elective, single or short course, Foundation Studies course or part of a program from within one of 17 schools located across 3 colleges within the University.

Getting started: a checklist

Before you commence teaching, meet with your Course Coordinator or Program Manager/Coordinator to ensure you have addressed the points below. When all points are addressed you will then be able to focus on learning and teaching in and out of the classroom.

  • Are you expected to:
    • participate in School or College staff meetings?
    • attend lectures (if you are employed as a tutor)?
    • be available for student consultation outside scheduled class times?
    • assess and grade students’ assignments and/or mark exam papers?
  • Are you clear about your contact hours?
  • Have you accepted your appointment in Employee Self Service (ESS) after negotiating hours with your Course/Program Coordinator?
  • Do you know your e-number (staff number)?
  • Do you have a university RMIT email account?
  • Have you participated in a staff induction or orientation session?
  • Are you required to complete compliance education modules?
  • Does your School have a procedure in place for any unexpected absence /sickness?  
  • Do you know where to find support for your research?
  • Do you know where and how to access relevant facilities and resources including:
    • work spaces for sessional teachers (‘hot desks’), staff room including tea and coffee making facilities, printers, photocopiers and fax machine, stationery cupboard, pigeon holes and coordinators’ offices?
  • Do you have a staff security access card?
  • Will you need to set up a Telephone service and voicemail account?
  • Are you familiar with the teaching spaces that you will be using?
  • Do you have access to Blackboard for the course(s) that you are teaching?
  • Have you familiarised yourself with learning outcomes and assessment requirements of your course(s)?
  • Do you have contact details for IT support staff?
  • Have you introduced yourself to the front desk and reception staff?
  • Do you know how to access relevant policies and guidelines that may affect you such as intellectual property, harassment, OHS etc.?
  • Do you know the student complaints procedure and if your School has a complaints officer?
  • Do you know about benefits for staff working at RMIT?
  • Do you know the important dates for staff for the VET and HE academic year?

Important points:

  • regularly check your RMIT email and reply to student queries in a timely manner
  • maintain contact with the Course Coordinator during the semester and communicate or escalate any issues you may be having regarding your workload, student issues or other concerns.

Emergency procedures

Visit RMIT's Health, safety and wellbeing website for general information.

Immediate safety issues including safety or medical concerns, fire, criminal activity or security issues:

Student risk to self or mental health concerns:

Contact the RMIT Counselling Service on 9925 4365 or 9925 3999 (after hours).

Staff welfare:

RMIT makes available professional, free, confidential, offsite counselling service to all staff through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (login required). To access this program, please contact Counselling Appraisal Consultants (CAC) on 1300 786 860 or email them at reception@cac.com.au. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For urgent after hours counselling, please call on 0431 119909

First aid:

Safety team:

Email safetyteam@rmit.edu.au or the Behavioural Risk Assessment and Management Panel.

Payment

Clarify with your Course/Program Coordinator the number and type of teaching hours that you are being employed for, and any other payments for duties outside teaching/tutoring.

Salary schedules and current hourly rates are available online.

Payslips and PAYG statements are available through Employee Self Service (ESS). For finance queries during the semester, please contact either your Course/Program Coordinator or the School’s finance team.

Further resources

RMIT induction

Information on RMIT’s induction program Ready Set Go is available online. For casual/sessional staff engaged for the equivalent of a minimum of one contact hour per week for one semester, RMIT offers paid induction and compliance education (up to 5 hours). As a minimum, you are required to complete the following online modules within your first month of employment.

You are paid for attendance at induction activities and completion of the compliance modules. Once you have completed the online induction modules, please complete the casual/sessional induction completion form available from the Human resources Forms page and submit to your Course Coordinator for approval.

Further resources

RMIT’s online systems

The Learning Hub is the point of entry for RMIT staff to online teaching and learning resources. Blackboard (RMIT’s learning management system) is accessed via the Learning Hub. Students access their online learning resources, including Blackboard materials, via the Studies tab in myRMIT.

Through the myRMIT student portal students see:

  • Online learning tools
  • Program and course content (including course guides for enrolled students (‘Part B’)
  • RMIT University Library resources
  • Results and academic history (in Enrolment Online)
  • RMIT student email
  • Official RMIT announcements
  • RMIT University student forms.

Sessional teaching staff can use IExplore (access required) to access basic student information (email only contact for students) and student lists by course or class.

Further resources

Students, study resources and student services

RMIT University has students from all backgrounds and prides itself on an inclusive approach to all aspects of learning and teaching. The Learning and Teaching website contains an overview of RMIT students.

The Student Charter describes student and RMIT responsibilities. If you have questions relating to general student misconduct please refer to the student charter or contact your team leader.

Further resources

Learning, teaching, professional development and research

Learning and teaching at RMIT encompasses a wide diversity of disciplines, materials, instruction styles and delivery modes. This is reflective of the diversity of disciplines taught in DSC.

As a sessional teaching staff member, you have access to a range of professional development opportunities. In particular, workshops on Learning and Teaching and RMIT Knowhow will provide a good introduction and assist you in your role. You can book into free workshops and access online resources through developME.

Get started with online modules on Learning and Teaching

Further resources

Teaching with technology resources

As a sessional staff member, you are entitled to apply for internally advertised University positions and participate in an application for internal funding opportunities, including grants and professional development funds.

RMIT offers support for your research including:

  • integrity and ethics advice
  • beginning your research
  • funding your research
  • managing your research
  • publishing your research
  • professional development.

Your School’s learning and teaching advisors

Each School has a Deputy Dean of Learning & Teaching and at a College level, a dedicated Senior Advisor of Learning and Teaching (SALT). While the course coordinator can provide specific advice on the course(s) you are teaching in, the Deputy Dean and SALT can provide further expertise and support on:

If you would like to discuss one or all of these issues or if you would just like to talk generally about good learning and teaching contact your Course Coordinator, your Deputy Head/Dean Learning and Teaching or SALT.

You can also check in to, visit, subscribe and contribute to weekly posts on learning and teaching at the DSC’s blog the teaching tomtom.

Your School’s Liaison Librarian and library essentials

School Liaison Librarians are experts at finding information in a particular field and can assist you with:

  • searching discipline specific data bases
  • using e-reserve
  • sourcing and ordering relevant resources
  • preparing reading lists
  • linking online resources to your course(s)
  • assisting in creating learning objects
  • individual one-to-one specialist consultations.

Further resources

Library guide for sessional staff in DSC

Understanding course guides and program guides

It is important to understand how each of the courses in which you teach fits into the overall program design.

Sessional staff work in a program and teach into a course, or a mix of courses. Sometimes you may teach across schools in different programs and to different groups of students. You may work with small numbers of students, larger classes, or with tutorial groups.

Effective teaching requires:

  • An understanding of the rationale that guides the design of a course
  • An awareness of the course and program learning outcomes
  • Knowledge of the graduate attributes your students are expected to develop and demonstrate.

Course guides

Part A of course guides contain an outline of the course content, an overview of assessment, resources and learning outcomes. Part B of the course guide is updated each semester and covers how the course will be delivered including the teaching schedules and assessment dates.

It is essential to familiarise yourself with the course guide to ensure it is consistent with other information you provide students.

Program guides

Program guides provide information about RMIT programs, including the academic structure, approach to learning and assessment, learning outcomes for students and graduate capabilities. Knowledge of the program guide will also help you understand how the course you are teaching fits into the program overall.

Please notify your Course Coordinator if there are any concerns with your course guide.

Further resources

Assessment

All academic assessment conforms to RMIT assessment policies and procedures.

If students are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date they are required to apply for ‘an extension of time’ or ‘special consideration’. Equitable assessment arrangements can also be made. Please refer to adjustments to assessment for forms and details.

Your School may also have agreed guidelines and penalties for late assessment without approved extension – please ask your Course Coordinator for details or advice.

Using the teacher tools like Turnitin and Grademark in the Learning Hub (Blackboard) for your course is one way to ensure that student submissions, marked work, grades and grading comments are held on secure RMIT servers.

You can maintain accurate records of students’ graded work (including comments) on Blackboard and final grades are either submitted to the course coordinator or uploaded online using Results Processing Online within the required timeframes.

Important points:

  • Ensure you do not mark the work of anyone known to you on a personal level and that arrangements are made through the course coordinator for another teacher/tutor to mark the work.
  • Arrange for failed assessments to be second marked by the course coordinator.
  • Refer assignments that you suspect are plagiarised to the course coordinator for review and escalation.

Further resources

Plagiarism

RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please ensure you are fully aware of the policy and process.

RMIT’s approach to the use of Turnitin is one of promoting academic integrity in an educative context. This is achieved by using OriginalityCheck in conjunction with supporting practices and attitudes, such as correct referencing and citation styles, copyright management, and information literacy. This approach is supported by the University’s Guidelines for using Turnitin.

When plagiarism is detected you must notify your Course Coordinator who will contact the Head of School. Staff should not in any circumstances discuss plagiarism with students whose work is under investigation. Results for such work should be withheld without comment. It is a serious and important issue. Please take the time to understand your responsibilities. Discuss this with the Course Coordinator if you need further information.

Access to teaching spaces

  • Ask for a School timetable to find out when and where you are teaching.
  • View the RMIT city campus map or Property Central building information and floor plans.
  • If you would like to book a particular room or have questions about the timetable or teaching spaces contact your Course Coordinator.
  • Get after-hours access to RMIT buildings and the library by getting your staff security access card.
  • Download a lost on campus app for finding teaching spaces. You may also like to refer your students to this app or online maps of campus especially if your class is held in multiple locations throughout the semester.

Further resources

Performance and feedback

It is not compulsory for RMIT sessional teachers to participate in a performance review. However, it can be an informal practice and your Course Coordinator may ask you to discuss your performance with them. You are encouraged at any time to request an opportunity to discuss your performance, to seek support, and to ask for feedback on your work.

A performance review is a two-way process. It provides you with an opportunity to raise queries and concerns. If you would like feedback on your performance and want to participant in collegial reflective practice you may wish to join the Peer Partnership program.

Student feedback

Your students will also have the opportunity to give you feedback on your teaching through the Course Experience Survey.

The online surveys are conducted each semester (for standard semester courses). Students receive email notification to complete the survey (reminders are sent via SMS).

RMIT Sessional Staff Teaching Awards

Higher Education academic staff, VET teaching staff, sessional staff and professional staff are all eligible for awards under specific categories.

You are encouraged to take this opportunity to reflect on the good work you do at RMIT and participate in the RMIT Teaching Awards.

Please refer to Category C – Sessional staff

Further resources