Online Adjunct Instructor Job Openings: Preparation

Are you an adjunct instructor in a traditional program? If so, you already know the content you will teach in your field. How, then, will teaching as an online instructor differ from traditional teaching of the same subjects? In respect to the content of your curriculum, the subjects are very similar. What is different is the mode of delivery. Traditional delivery is the one you are most familiar probably lecture, hold discussion, etc. But all these processes take place in cyberspace. You must meet your class in a particular place and at a particular time. This is not so in an online program.

The subjects may be the same. A traditional program of study usually requires certain basic courses such as math, science, history, literature, foreign language, and computer skills. One can then specialize in a business emphasis and take accounting, economics, or in a medical emphasis and take more biology and chemistry. Online programs are structured in a similar way in terms of the selection of the content. The difference is real space and time and an asynchronous mode of time and space. As long as an instructor had a laptop computer, he could travel the world and still stay current in a course he is teaching. Nor, would he be restricted to real time. He could post his comments in the early hours of the new day and respond to the student's responses as they come in.

Online Adjunct Instructor Job Openings: Orientation

The new instructor would do well to explore the layout of the monitor which is transmitting a symbolic form of the class she is teaching. She will notice that the screen is made up of color coded panels, and that each panel corresponds to an aspect of the instructional process.

For instance, the orientation to the course is supported by the panel labeled as Announcements. Here, general policy and messages from the administration can keep things moving smoothly. If there is a change in the curriculum or in the next required courses, this will be indicated. Also, emergencies may be communicated via this panel. For the instructor, she may give her office hours here and state her policy on plagiarism and late submission of assignments.

Online Adjunct Instructor Job Openings: The Assignments

When we come to the assignment link, the task is spelled out and demonstrated, lectures are provided and the criteria of acceptable performance are stated. Moreover, the evaluation of work is expressed in the form of a rubric.

Great emphasis is placed on independent learning in an online program. For example, at the bottom of the monitor, we encounter a panel labeled Problems and Solutions. This panel is useful for the student in sharing a discovery he has made; for example, a new way of navigating to reach a target or destination. The student is encouraged to make such discoveries and to share her findings with the class.

The heart of the course for instruction is represented by the site called Discussion Thread. The instructor will start the process by introducing a prompt or a question and the students will respond. The instructor will often piggyback on what the student has said and move the problem from one student to another. The instructor will often share his experience of the prompt and then create interaction by having the students provide similar shares.

Grading comes next and this refers to the grades kept by the online adjunct instructor which the system organizes, provides individual performance and then gives cumulative averages. These records are useful in counseling with the student. They are also useful when a student becomes contentious about her grade. In this case, the session may include deans or legal representation in a meeting. However, this is very rare and most of the student-teacher dialogue is done in private. Email is a good place to start. You may use a chat room too, but be aware of the time difference. The chat rooms are not set up for asynchronous time. If a student wants to ask the instructor a question, he can do so even at odd hours, by clicking on Ask the Professor. Here, the student can expect to get a 24 hour turnaround.

The student can also access any number of tutorials that support the work she is doing. For example, if the student is having difficulty with subject- verb agreement, that student would be channeled to a tutorial on the grammatical rules covering agreement of subject verb. There may also be some exercises and automatic feedback. If a student wants to understand the procedures for use of the online library, there is a tutorial waiting for her. If a student wants to avoid plagiarism then may be useful for him. If documentation is the concern, then APA will be useful. There are tutorials on many other aspects of the offerings. All of these mini courses could also be part of a traditional format with the exception of the way they are taught. In a traditional version, the courses would probably be carried out in a lab. These are skills mini courses that are competency based and the performance is not averaged with the main course. The student works toward mastery, but there is no grade, but plenty of feedback.

Online Adjunct Instructor Job Openings: Bonding

In the link on Student Lounge, the students share time together, but there is no specific agenda. They are free to discuss aspects of the course or to share their feelings on personal matters. The goal here is to set the stage for bonding. If this takes place, the students may have mutual support from one another and to have this support throughout their academic career and perhaps beyond. This is the power of bonding. The online course does not grade this process because to do so may inhibit the students and create a tense atmosphere, where very little if any bonding goes on. So the students are left on their own.

It makes no difference in the bonding process if the students were exploring online adjunct faculty job openings or exploring some personal matter. Ultimately, what does matter is that teaching online for accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online master's degree programs generates multiple online adjunct income streams for academics that mater the dynamics of distance edcuation.