Online College Faculty Positions:
Have you ever thought about teaching online? What would it be like to have an online faculty position? If you have ever done adjunct teaching, then you have done the first step of what it is like to teach part time, but what about the dimension of teaching online? In this article, my goal is to give you an idea of what this would be like...to put you into it so to speak.
When you teach online, you have to rethink how you use space and time. In online teaching, you will operate in cyberspace and in asynchronous time. It is like this: In conventional teaching, you must be physically present, in a particular classroom, on a particular day and time. In online teaching, you can literally roam the world and as long as you have a laptop or access to a computer, you can keep up with your class.
So, just imagine this is your first day of teaching online. You are seated before a laptop computer and you have just signed into the course you are assigned to teach. You survey the computer monitor and see a screen full of color coded sections, clearly demarcated. The first one is labeled as Announcements.
Inside Announcements you see postings, one from the administration noting a change in course offerings for the next term, and two describing the policy on plagiarism. Important information is posted on Announcements almost every day; it is imperative that the students read these postings when they sign on.
You move on and come to Assignments.
Here are the lectures for the week. Here are demonstrations and clear statements of objectives for the students to produce certain results. The criteria of acceptable performance are given in the form of a rubric. There are multiple tasks for the students to perform: timed objective tests, projects, demonstrations, critical analysis and submission of documented essays, and participation in Discussion Threads.
Here, the instructor introduces a topic and gives his own impressions and then passes the problem to the students. For example, give a case where changed punctuation results in changing the meaning of a statement to its opposite meaning: Woman, without her man, is a beast. Change to: Woman! Without her, man is a beast.
Can you think of other examples?
Problems and Solutions:
In this phase, both critical thinking and creativity are called for. The students are encouraged to note novel ways of navigating the platform and then sharing their discoveries with other students. This frees up instruction to reward students for their insights and not just focus on a regurgitation of information. And, this leads to a broader spectrum of grading.
Grading is practically calculated for the instructor in online teaching. The instructors enter the grades such as the essay and the objective tests and the program calculates averages. The students may peruse their grades at any time but they cannot see their fellow student's grades. The instructor can see all the grades. The comprehensive grades and the specifics make up what becomes a useful tool in conferencing with the students.
The students may ask for a conference or the instructor may call for a student teacher conference. Private conferences are carried out in email, by telephone and via chat room. If privacy is not necessary, then the students may click on Ask the Professor.
Ask the Professor:
Here, students may post a question to the instructor and expect a 24 hr. turnaround. The question and answer are shared with the class. Sometimes the question is complex enough to warrant the instructor's recommending a tutorial.
The student has access to a broad range of tutorials. Suppose, for example, that the student does not grasp the difference between singular and plural nouns and verbs. A tutorial will painlessly take the students through the grammar rules covering this. Or, the students may have difficulty navigating the online library. A tour of the online library is available.
Not all of the processes require content mastery. Some are designed for other purposes. For example, in Student Lounge, the students are not graded on their informal sharing of ideas and feelings. The purpose is not the mastery of content, but to build a context that promotes sharing...sharing which may lead to bonding and thereby a support system that goes beyond the course.
To summarize, it should be obvious that the above outline focuses on process and not content. All the phases are action oriented and have specific targets. The students get in the habit of asking, what do I do next....instead of what information must I memorize and feed back? In all of this, what are some advantages of the online system over the traditional mode of organizing the curricula? Take a look at the comparative organization of the courses in terms of weeks. The traditional mode is done in 16 weeks, whereas, the online version is complete in just 7.5 weeks. You are paid by the course in both cases. So, in the same time period you would earn nearly double the income from the online course. Next you should consider that in the online course, many processes are completed for you. For example, you are freed from calling attendance. When the students sign in, they are electronically counted. The entire curriculum has already been designed for you. Your role is not as a teacher in a traditional sense; you become a facilitator. You do not have to organize courses; you do not have to provide lesson plans; it is done for you week by week. Grading becomes easier to manage. Averages are computed for you. Both the instructor and the students are free to travel or to schedule more complex activities that would ordinarily block their freedom. One is not bound by space and time, as in the traditional system. One operates in cyberspace. All you need is a laptop or access to a computer and you are in business.
Any traditional adjunct faculty member that is tired of the low pay for teaching in a physical college, university or community college classroom can harness the power of distance education technology and increase the numbers of college classes in the teaching schedule. The numbers of new accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online master's degree programs are necessarily creating many unfilled online adjunct positions that require individuals with earned graduate degrees, a master's degree or Ph.D., to fill them as soon as possible. Student populations at post-secondary academic institutions are literally exploding due to the need for a college degree on the part of many currently unemployed citizens. The technical schools, community colleges, universities and for-profit colleges that offer these students the online bachelor degree and the online master's degree are attempting to meet the educational needs with online college courses leading to an accredited online college degree. Of course each online degree program generates online adjunct faculty job openings that can be applied for by simply visiting the websites of the thousands of schools and locating the faculty application section.