Online College Degree

What is an online college degree and how does it differ from a traditional degree? The basic difference is the way in which both systems regard time and space. In the traditional curriculum, the instructor will meet her class in a certain room at a certain time and on a particular campus. In the online mode of organization, the instructor may fly around the world, go from their home in New Orleans to Bannock to Sweden and then back home, and all the while keeping up with her class on their laptop. In the former case, real time is the rule; in the latter case, the instruction takes place in cyberspace and in asynchronous time. The value of the online curriculum organization is its flexibility. Are there other advantages of the online system? The answer is affirmative. Many of the functions that must be completed manually are completed for you in the online system. For example, the grading is recorded and averaged for you by the system. The curriculum and the lesson plans for the week are pre-planned for you. There are many tutorials where you can refer students. You are not expected to be a tutor. Instead, you are a facilitator, bringing together the technology that will serve the students. And on top of these gems, there is the fact that the online system will earn you two times as much money as the traditional system. You see, in sixteen weeks, the length of the traditional term

So, if all this is available in the online system, how does one apply? You will first need a list of schools that sponsor online programs. You do not have to restrict yourself to established for-profit schools such as Argosy, Kaplan, Baker, Phoenix, and others. Online schools are often built into the non-profit universities and the community colleges. You can obtain a list of schools that offer online classes from University of Texas, for example as well as some other Universities. Email a query to Human Resources at a number of colleges and see if you can follow the thread. The list in hand, your next task will be to select the schools where you wish to apply. Assemble packets that you will email to the colleges. In the packet you will include an up to date CV, a cover letter, letters of recommendation, unofficial transcripts of your grades you earned in your degree, and, in some cases, you will be asked to supply a notarized verification of your identity. Send these out ten packets at a time. Remember, applications are a number game. Once you get a response from a school, they will probably want to interview you. They will want to know your philosophy of education and how you schedule your time. It is important to the college that you have enough time to do a good job. The work is compressed and you must keep up with the pace. If the interviewer approves you, you will be scheduled to go through training. If they then hire you, you will be assigned a mentor. Soon, you will teach your first class. The mentor is there to guide you. Once you master the navigation you may be offered two or more courses to teach. You will be paid biweekly. But then, what is the work actually like? When you sign on and scan your monitor you will see.

You will see how the course is formatted symbolically on the monitor. You will see a screen with color coded sections, each section representing an aspect of the course. The left hand column contains a representation of the entire curriculum and the first consideration is the panel labeled as Announcements. This panel is the place where urgent messages are posted. The administration may post the announcement of a major curriculum change for the next registration. Or, the teacher may announce office hours and policy on plagiarism and late submissions. The school may warn teachers and students about impending weather in certain regions where there are Argosy students living. In the next panel, the students are introduced to the pattern of Assignments per week. A number of tasks are evaluated, from timed objective tests, to documented essays, to participation in discussion threads, to demonstrations, to group projects. The criteria of acceptable performance are stated in the form of a rubric. We move on from here to the next panel and here we see that it is labeled, Problems and Solutions. In this panel the student is charged with the responsibility of discovering new aspects of their environment and acting upon where this observation logically leads. For example, the student may discover a new way to navigate the platform. The student then creates a mini-lesson for the other students and thus everyone is a winner.

The next panel is The Discussion Thread. Here, the instructor throws out a theme...a thread and the students begin to explore the thread...where it leads and what the implications are. It could be to compare online education with traditional education as illustrated here, or it could be a content problem in any discipline. The next panel is Ask the Professor. Students will post their questions here and the instructor will respond to them in 24 hrs. This panel is used exclusively for content questions. If the instructor thinks it necessary, he may refer the student to one or more tutorials. The tutorials are many. There are online tutorials on how to use the online library. The online library robot can lead the student through the online library. If the student has a personal issue, then the instructor will probably recommend a private conference. This is carried out on email, by telephone or in a private cell. Grading comes next and this is organized by the system. The grading function averages the grades for the instructor and provides a basis for conferencing. The final panel is the one called Student Lounge. This title does not sound academic and this is because it is not graded. It is designed to promote bonding of the students so that they build a support system that will last them throughout the course and beyond.

The maturing of distance education technology is creating a new academic labor model. About a decade ago the college and university administrators decided to employ adjunct faculty members to teach the new and returning college students. Unfortunately, these same administrators also decided to pay the college adjuncts as little as possible for teaching in the physical college or university classroom. However, digital technology emerged as a way for post-secondary academic institutions to develop and broadcast accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online master's degree programs. The result of the enthusiasm the college, university and community college students display toward online college degree programs is a proliferation of online instructor job openings that need qualified online adjunct instructors to fill them. The most productive method of discovering these online adjunct teaching positions is to visit the websites of the thousands of academic institutions and locate the faculty application section.