Online Adjunct Elementary Teachers
Training of adjuncts who will become elementary teachers can be carried out online. The subject matter, such as the skill of reading, calculating, and storytelling are the same. However, the emphasis in the online curriculum is that in the online format, the process is stressed, not the content. In addition to materials and methods used in teaching elementary students, the elementary teacher would also take courses in child psychology, statistics and research literature, curriculum planning...many of the same courses that one would take in a traditional program. Again, these courses would emphasize process and not just the content. Remember the course is set up so that you will communicate with your students, mediating through the computer. All you need to keep up with your teaching is a laptop computer.
What does your course look like when you peruse the monitor of your laptop? Well, you will find that the screen has been divided into sections. The sections are color coded and focus on such categories as Announcements, Assignments, Problems and Solutions, Grades, Conferences, Discussion Thread, Ask the Professor, and Student Lounge.
Announcements show postings that are vital to the function of the entire curriculum. The screen may show changes in the course offerings for the next term. It may show communication problems in geographic areas where the system is down. The monitor will most certainly show the instructor's office hours and the schools policies on plagiarism. Assignments are varied. They may include timed objective tests on a weekly basis. Participation in a group project is another mode of evaluation. Documented research essays are required as is participation in Discussion Threads. Discussion Threads emphasize exchange of reasoning and points of view. The instructor poses a problem and invites the students to come up with different interpretations. For example, the instructor may ask how to distinguish online instruction from traditional learning and teaching. Or, how to distinguish traditional grammar from transformational grammar. The instructor's goal is to involve the whole class so that continual response becomes the norm. Each student will get a chance to work in a group project related to her interest. The idea is to teach the student to work in teams so that they are prepared for collaborative work when they finish formal schooling. The student's work is evaluated according to a rubric which converts qualitative work into a quantitative numeric score. When it comes to keeping track of grades and calculating averages, the online grading system comes into its own. It categorizes grades and computes averages. The students may see their cumulative scores at any time, although they may not see their fellow student's scores. These scores become useful in student instructor conferences. Conferences are usually private, with only the instructor and the student present. The only time another would be present would be a case of contention between instructor and student and in this case there may be legal representation on both sides.
It is readily apparent that what is being stressed here is not content, but process. The idea is to draw the student out, to bring forth her creative potential. For example, she may discover a new way to navigate a particular search and then teach the class how to perform the navigation. This fits with the goal of emphasizing problems and solutions. If a student wants clarification, she may click on Ask the Professor and post her questions. The instructor will return an answer in 24 hrs. The information and mental processes are posted so that all the students can profit from it. If the student requires tutoring, this can be readily provided. There are tutorials on grammar and composition, on research, on how to avoid plagiarism using Turnitin.com, on and on how to organize a research essay using APA style manual (American Psychological Association). Finally, there is at least one section of the processes that is not graded. It is Student Lounge. This is intentionally not graded. The idea is to create a space in which the students engage with one another in the spirit of a quest for understanding...understanding in respect to content and also in respect to personal issues. The hope is that bonding will take place and that the student will build a support system that will last beyond the course.
We can now see how the two curricula organizations work and how they contrast, with one placing emphasis on content and the other placing emphasis on process. We can readily see how the online program has a great deal to offer in an operational sense. However, when we learn that one can earn twice as much money in the online system as in the traditional system, then one may ask ...how do I sign up?
Start by updating your CV and obtain current letters of recommendation. You will also need to obtain a list of schools that offer online courses and degrees. Write to the human resources departments to make a list of such schools. Then check off when ones you want to work for. The location is probably immaterial because you will be operating in cyberspace and in this sense you can be anywhere at any time. Once you get a bite from a school, you will probably be set up for an interview. If the interview goes well, you will be invited to go through the school's online training. This may take a couple of weeks, but the great advantage is that you can take the training at any time of the day or night and you can travel while you are taking the course. You could travel from New York to Argentina and still keep up with your course. After you have completed training, you will be assigned a mentor. Your mentor will stay with you throughout your first course and perhaps your second and third. He is there as a support, as a coach. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you need help; that is why he is there.
New and returning college and university students are very comfortable with their electronic devices, so enrolling in an online bachelor degree programs or online masters degree program is a smart move for them. Of course, each and every of the thousands of online college classes must be taught by a qualified online adjunct instructor. This means that there is serious growth in the numbers of faculty online positions and that increase represents a serious academic career opportunity for individuals with earned graduate degrees, a Ph.D. or master's degree, that master the use of a personal computer can certainly take advantage of this situation. As of now, there are many for-profit colleges that offer their students an online registered nurse degree, an online law degree and an online master in teaching, and the traditional post-secondary academic institutions are not far behind them in terms of utilizing distance education technology to meet the educational demands of their college and university students.