Online Adjunct Instructors
What exactly does an online adjunct instructor do that is different from an on-ground adjunct instructor? If we look at the courses they teach, we see little to no difference: Math, Composition, Literature, Science, Economics, and Languages. The difference is found in the way the courses are delivered. The traditional method of face to face teaching in real time contrasts with the online method, which is not restricted to space and time; it is asynchronous.
Let's consider an example of the asynchronous mode of teaching. As we enter the domain of the first screen, we see that the administration has posted on Announcements some curriculum changes and some warnings about bad weather in certain areas where students are registered. This is a signal to the instructors who are teaching these students to be particularly sensitive to students in this area.
The next phase stresses student leadership and creativity. In this stage, some students will begin to discover alternate ways of doing things and will share these discoveries with their peers. This represents how the curriculum encourages the students to make discoveries and to share their findings.
As we move down the screen, we come to Assignments. Here, the students are given lectures and examples of application and a rubric to show them the number of points available for each facet of their assignments.
At the very bottom of the screen, we see a panel labeled Problems and Solutions. In this format we see how the students are encouraged to identify problems and to solve them. The students may have discovered a new way of navigating the platform and this is shared with step by step instructions to their peers. Critical thinking is an essential part of the curriculum.
In the middle of the monitor, the new instructor will see a panel called Discussion Thread. This application has the instructor introducing a thread of thought and encouraging the students to explore that thought. The instructor will share his thought and experiences in regard to the thread. The idea is to get students to respond to one another and to trace the thread of thought.
Grading is next. Being present is part of the grading and the useful design of the online teaching rests in the fact that the instructor does not have to call roll. This is done for him electronically. The grades on objective tests, projects and participation in the discussion threads are organized and given individually and as averages. This documentation is useful to the student and teacher in conferences. Most conferences are private and carried out in email, chat room or by telephone, but occasionally, there are others present. This could be the case when there is contention between the student and teacher and others are brought in to help resolve the matter. Deans and legal representatives may be present in such cases.
Adjacent to the Grading panel, we find Ask the Professor. Here, students may post questions for the instructor and get a turnaround in 24 hours. This is a public forum, so that the responses are visible to all students.
Some questions require tutoring and the online system is adept at providing this. The student may wish to know how to use the online library. In this case, he will be taken on a tour of the library. If the students want to know how to organize term papers, they will be taken through the online APA (American Psychological Association) style manual. If the problem rests with avoiding plagiarism, the students will be taken through the function of turnitin.com, wherein any text submitted by the student will be scanned and compared with millions of similar texts for identical passages. A matching percentage is given. Or, a student may have difficulty with grammar, in which case she is taken through a grammar review with particular focus on the problem at hand.
Online Adjunct Instructors: Student Lounge
The student lounge is provided to give students the space to share both content and personal issues. The idea is that by sharing in a non-graded environment, the students will be more likely to bond. This can be a support for the students throughout their career.
If the foregoing looks interesting to you and you want to know how to become an online adjunct instructor, then the following steps may be useful.
- Make a list of schools where you would like to teach online. Most traditional schools offer some of their courses online, but if you want to make sure you are on target, obtain a list of schools that are serious about online instruction. U. of Texas offers such a list.
- Strengthen your CV and make copies.
- You must prove that you hold at least a master's degree in your teaching field.
- Order your academic transcripts and make copies.
- Obtain notarized proof of your identity.
- Obtain at least three letters of recommendation. These letters should glow with praise for your performance.
- Write a strong cover letter. Make sure your letter states your strengths relevant to your job interest
in the first paragraph.
After you have assembled your packages, send them out in batches of ten. If you wait for individual responses, you may wait a long time. Remember that applications are, in part, a numbers game. If the colleges like what they see, they will contact you and set up a phone interview. If the interview goes well, they will request your documents and set up training for you. The training may span two to three weeks. Upon completion, you will be assigned a mentor who will support you throughout your initial teaching experiences. If you have questions at any point, your mentor is the person to ask. You will probably teach one course in the beginning and, as you gain more experience, you will be assigned two or three courses at a time. One aspect of online teaching you will probably like is that you will earn two to three times the amount of money as in a traditional on the ground program.
There is no longer any doubt about emergence of accredited online college degree programs as the new digital academic landscape. Distance education technology has evolved to the point that teaching online for a variety of online bachelor degree programs is now how a college teacher can increase the annual income from the intellectual labor required to instruct university and college students enrolled in online college classes. Of course, with the rise of distance education as a post-secondary academic vehicle, there are many online adjunct jobs that need technically qualified online adjunct instructors to fill them. These university teaching jobs online will certainly pay more than the few physical classes an adjunct professor is able to teach each day.