Online Business Schools
Most instructors have a sense of the activities found in business schools. Students work through practice sets, study graphs on business trends for various commodities, plan marketing strategies for certain products. Accounting, math, sales, marketing, advertising-the rooms are abuzz with activity and energy. The instructor meets the class twice a week, lectures, shares a demo and quizzes students on their grasp of assignments. The focus is on the content of business components. If one compares this traditional picture of business learning and activity, then one gets a point by point similarity between systems. The content is virtually the same. What differs is the way the content is processed. Whether the instructor is teaching online paralegal programs, online college psychology or online schools, the content will not differ very much. The online arrangement stresses process.
It is how the learning connection is made that tells the difference in the two systems. In the traditional approach, the instructor must be physically present and must follow a schedule in which she physically shows up at a certain place at a certain time. Consider the challenges of Betty Ledger. She wants to teach three classes but she can only get hired by three individual colleges; she cannot get hired by one college to teach three courses in Accounting 101. So she has to fight traffic and red lights to drive across town to physically meet her classes in three different schools. This is a process that frames teaching in terms of real time and real space. Now, consider what happens to time and space when Betty adopts an online format to teach the same courses.
First of all, she need not drive across town to meet her classes in three separate colleges. She need not drive at all. She can literally stay in her pajamas and direct all three classes from home. To increase the number of courses she carries as well as to increase the pick of her interest, Betty can forget about the problem of distance. She can teach a course in Los Angles, one in New York and another in Atlanta. If she wants, she can use some of her saved time to add courses to her normal load. Let's say she ordinarily teaches three courses. Now she can teach six.
The flexibility of the online system is phenomenal. One can, at minimum, double one's earnings. Note that the traditional system requires 16 weeks to complete one semester; whereas, in the online system, the instructor completes two courses in this amount of time. The online courses run back to back for 7.5 weeks. Because of this time manipulation, Betty can earn at least twice as much in the online system as she can in the traditional system. She can now average around $50,000 per year. Some husband and wife teams earn twice this amount. But the point is this: one has a choice about how hard they want to work. And if they are willing to take on a great challenge, then the opportunity is there.
The technology built into the online curriculum speeds up production. For example, it is not necessary for the instructor to take attendance. This is automatically recorded when the student signs in. The lesson plans are predesigned for the instructor and students, as are the exams. With all these advantages, Betty cannot wait to sign up. It has been my experience that if one follows the steps, she will become an online instructor is a few months.
Betty must first update her CV. She should also obtain current letters of recommendation. Next, she should write to human resources at University of Texas for a list of schools committed to online teaching. There are thousands of such schools-enough to keep Betty busy applying for a while. Applying becomes her job. She must send out batches at a time. Betty is participating in a numbers game.
Once a response is received, Betty will get a call from an interviewer from the respective school/s. She will be scheduled for a telephone interview. If this goes well, she will go through a training, which may take a couple of weekends. is complete, she will be assigned a mentor who will guide her through the first few classes she teaches. This being complete, Betty will be assigned her first class. If this goes well, she will be assigned two or more the next semester. There is much to learn. She must master navigation of a new platform. The day arrives when she is on her own. She will be paid biweekly, usually by direct deposit. And the money is twice what she has been getting.
Betty will learn a new platform that is process based. When she signs on to her class, the monitor will show a symbolic representation of the processes in her course: Announcements, Assignments, Problems and Solutions, Discussion Thread, Conferences, Tutorials, Grading, Ask the Professor, and Student Lounge. All of these processes are emphasized. These constitute the glue that holds together the curriculum. One is always doing.
Announcements are postings of policy or the informing of emergencies, usually posted by the administration or the instructor. Assignments are spelled out in advance for the week and provide a rubric that shows point value for demonstrated competence. Problems and Solutions drive to the heart of the course in respect to its online nature. Much of the responsibility is turned over to the student and the student makes observations and deductions and shares these with the class. Discussion Thread shows how a lecture is converted into a participatory exercise with the students in charge. Conferences are guided by grades and Tutorials streamline the course by providing referrals for students having difficulty with basics. Ask the Professor increases dialogue for student teacher and Student Lounge gives a way for students to relate in a non graded environment. The hope is that out of this sharing bonding will emerge. If so, the students will have support beyond the course.
Teaching online for accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online master's degree programs can be an excellent source of online adjunct income for individuals with earned graduate degrees, a Ph.D. or master's degree. These university faculty positions are growing in numbers since many prospective post-secondary educators seek to become, for example, online adjunct elementary teachers. The online college degree programs are the result of the adoption of distance education technology by traditional post-secondary academic institutions. The growth of online degree programs makes teaching online college courses an intelligent career path for academically qualified and technically adroit post-secondary educators.