College, technical, and vocational instructors teach adult students of all ages and academic backgrounds. Some students may have very little formal education. Others may be experienced individuals who want vocational upgrading or retraining.
Duties vary depending on the type and size of the post-secondary school, the subject area, and the level of instruction. In general, however, instructors:
- Develop curriculum
- Research and prepare lessons
- Use instructional techniques such as lectures, demonstrations, laboratory work, and hands-on training
- Provide instruction in the form of case studies, independent or group projects, field assignments, field placements, and multimedia technologies (including online learning)
- Provide instruction tailored to the individual and tutorial or remedial instruction
- Prepare, administer, and mark student exams
- Evaluate student performance and assignments
- Consult with students on specific academic or vocational concerns
- Maintain and submit program or student records
Instructors also must keep abreast of developments and changes in their fields. To do this they maintain contact with industrial or business sectors. Attending workshops, seminars, and refresher courses is part of the job.
Some instructors have assistants who help prepare materials, set up laboratory and audiovisual equipment, gather research data, mark assignments and exams, and perform other non-instructional duties.
College instructors may teach a broad range of courses, from academic upgrade courses to applied degree programs. They may teach in fields such as:
- Communications studies
- Community and health services
- Business and computers
- Technical, vocational, and trades training
- General interest programs
Instructional responsibilities and required qualifications vary with different programs. Instructors who teach university transfer programs may have responsibilities similar to lecturers who teach undergraduate programs at universities. Career certificate programs often are taught by instructors with industry experience in specific fields.
Technical institute instructors provide technically oriented instruction to adult students. Studies may relate to:
- Business (accounting management)
- Commercial and service occupations
- Engineering technologies
- Medical and health sciences
- Life resources
- Media and information technologies
- Mechanical, manufacturing, and building sciences
- Industrial and commercial trades (including apprenticeship courses)
Technical schools provide technical in-school training for over 90% of Alberta’s apprentices. They also provide academic upgrading for students wishing to fulfil entrance requirements for further technical studies.
Vocational college instructors provide instruction in programs such as:
- Basic literacy
- Academic upgrading
- Short, intensive vocational training programs relating to business, health, trades, and service fields
These programs provide unemployed or under-employed adults with academic and employment skills they need to enter or re-enter the work force. Instructors may teach students who: