Information technology makes possible the advent of online adjunct jobs. But how is this so? If one considers a traditional class, the students and professor meet in a designated place, at a particular time. Conventional space and time are at the foundation of this way of organizing instruction. Locating a course in space and time is a mechanistic way of perceiving the universe. I can locate a course by identifying the university where it is conducted; I can narrow the existence of the course by its building location, section and time of meeting. I am chopping up space and time. Consider, however, how the course could be symbolically located. Using information technology, I can represent the course as being in cyber space. This does not correspond to real space. I am not located anywhere in particular in real space, or, to put it positively, I am wherever I can make an electronic connection. I can live in Los Angeles and make electronic connection with Dallas or New York. I can live in Los Angeles and teach a course that connects to Dallas and New York. I can travel around the world and teach a class that connects to multiple states in the U.S. I can stay in touch with my classes simply by signing on to my course which is symbolically representing the course and the elements of the course.
There are enormous advantages to this system. Foremost is its flexibility. One can avoid conflicts with work and with other courses. Further, the instructor does not have to fight her way through red lights and traffic jams. As long as she can make an electronic connection, she is there. She can sleep in and when she does go to work, she can stay in her pajamas. Moreover, there are built in time and labor savers. For example, in the online system, one does not have to take attendance; attendance is taken automatically when the student signs in. Grades are averaged for the instructor and available for student perusal at any time. All course activity is symbolized on the instructor's monitor. The monitor is divided into sections that are color coded and easily accessible. Some are: Announcements, Assignments, Problems and Solutions, Discussion Thread, Conferencing, Tutorials, Grades and Student Lounge. All of these divisions are action oriented. Announcements provide a way for the administration and faculty to communicate with large numbers of students in case of an emergency or a vital change to the forthcoming curriculum. Assignments include a broad range of skills and critical thinking. Here, the clear advantage is that the weekly assignments and quizzes are already designed for the instructor. This saves time and time saved is money saved, for now the instructor could add another course to her schedule in the cumulative time saved. Both group projects and specific behaviors are charted for the instructor. The student is challenged with research questions and at the same time they are building a knowledge base. In Discussion Thread, the students will trace a theme using a discovery process. If students need clarification of a concept, they can click on Ask the Professor or use the email function to communicate with the instructor.
Every phase of the program is streamlined to save time and energy. One can teach more courses in a given amount of time, resulting in making more money. In the traditional system, the instructor often cannot schedule as many classes as she desires. There is the persistent problem of conflicts with work or with other courses. But in the online system, one does not have to fight traffic lights or traffic jams; the click of a mouse connects the instructor, whether across town or across states. This means more money for the instructor. How? The average length of time in the traditional system is 15 weeks, whereas the average length of time in the online system is 7.5 weeks, and there is no break in between terms. This means the instructor can double the number of courses she teaches per term. Time is saved in other ways, also. For example, if a student has problems with using the correct case or number in writing, the instructor may refer the student to a tutorial on grammar and pinpoint the problem. The instructor is thus freed to proceed with the course and is not sidetracked by functioning as a tutor. The major role of the instructor in the online system is that of facilitator. For example, grades are automatically recorded and averaged. The student's performance is clearly visible to them as well as to the instructor. The grades may be used as a basis for conferencing with the student. Technology makes all of this possible. It frees ones time and movement in space. It makes possible the earning of more money than in the traditional system and it reduces energy expenditure. At the same time, it makes it possible to use some time for bonding with other students, so not all the student's behavior is graded. Contexts such as that used in the Student Lounge is a case in point. Grading is not relevant here. The students may share what they like, whether academic or personal. The hope is that they will bond and become a support to one another even beyond the course. The time saved in other functions makes this possible.
The online system of organizing curricula is gaining power and numbers every day. Major universities are now supplementing their traditional courses with a blend of online courses. The convenience and flexibility of online organization makes this possible. To get started on building a list of online colleges across the US, check out the list provided by University of Texas. Instructors may find comparable lists by surveying web sites of the colleges and focusing on Human Resources. Then, it is just a matter of assembling an updated CV and writing a good cover letter. Send out batches of applications at a time and look forward to a spirited interview.
As budgetary funds for traditional college and university campuses continue to dry up the administrators are making every effort to develop and deploy accredited online college degree programs that can be attended by students using an inexpensive laptop computer. As more online accounting schools open up on the Internet, for example, there will be a greater need for individuals with graduate degrees to fill the online instructor job openings. As time goes on and the accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online masters degree programs become more popular, the academic employment opportunities represented by online degree programs in online business schools will increase at an exponential rate.