The student as a colleague
My role in my teaching is that of a facilitator. One of the most fascinating aspects of teaching is the assumption that the instructor is not the center of the learning process, and what matter most is the collective work in the classroom, even in online education.
From the first class, I try to treat all students as one of my colleagues. Obviously, in a professional organization, everyone plays a different role, and I will be the teacher, but we are all colleagues pursuing the same goal, in this case, a continuous learning process concerning Media Law. What I expect from my students is a professional attitude, in which everyone has a shared responsibility for succeeding in the course.
A professional attitude is based on mutual respect, openness to the idea that my students are learning from me, as I am learning from them to become a better teacher and scholar. For this reason, I expect active participation and willingness to contribute to our working environment and respect the differences of opinions. I do not spend much time working with rules of professional behavior, such as being on time for the class, prepared, and reasonably using laptops and cell phones. I assume that everyone being late, unprepared or disruptive learn in different forms that they are unprofessional.
The second element is the promotion of diversity among students. Ethnic, racial and socioeconomic and other aspects of diversity are a big part of my personal vocation as a teacher. I take this as a personal goal, a part of the experience of being a member of a university: a place of interaction of different people ready to share their knowledge and respect each other.
Being my area of specialization free speech, I am aware that every opinion counts and should be protected. There are no bad or silly questions or wrong conclusions. Class discussions are a key element in my teaching, as they provide information, practical application of the course content, and opinion formation.
Particularly for courses that are mandatory for all undergraduate students at the School of Communications, diversity of academic interests is essential.
For these reasons, I highly value class participation. The class is not “delivered” by the instructor, but made collectively by diverse views and perspectives.
Outside the classroom
The third aspect is the compromise with students outside the classroom. I understand the efforts made by colleges and universities for student welfare. However, from my experience, teachers are one of the first University employees who sense the multiple problems of students that generally reflect their academic performance. I have been in contact with many students facing severe economic difficulties, mental and physical issues, discrimination, and academic stress, and as a teacher –particularly in a Catholic university—I understood as a priority. In this matter, my goal is to have an open-door policy, without prior appointment or office hours. Whenever is legally possible, I maintain the confidentiality.
Mixed teaching methodology
I combine teaching methods in the educational process to get as much as possible from the class. Teaching modules time is limited, students have different abilities, and studies in education show that there is no single method for college teaching. I try to combine traditional lectures for content systematization, real cases for application of the content, current debates for stimulating the student awareness, and class discussions.
I assess more solving-problem criteria, more than memorized content. However, as in other disciplines, legal language and terms require precision. For these reasons, the course assignments will also be a combination of reading comprehension, real or hypothetical case application, and independent research.
I provide rubrics for each assessment and try to anticipate my expectations before and after each assignment. I do not use grading curves or predefined grade averages for the course.