Have you ever considered becoming an online faculty member? How? You will find out what it involves as you apply for the position. For example, you know that you are going to have to spruce up your CV. You know that the university to which you apply is going to want to see your transcripts. So you can work on getting that all together. You know that you will be required to write a cover letter; so take care of that in advance. You can write a general cover letter and fill in the details depending on where you apply. Another problem: How are you going to locate places to apply?
It so happens that many universities can supply you with a list of community colleges and universities that hire online instructors. University of Texas publishes a comprehensive list. Go ahead and order this list, then survey it for where you want to apply. Next step is to put together some packets, either online or hard copies. Send out ten at a time. It is largely numbers games, so you have to put yourself out there. Some Schools require that you prove your identity by having a form that they supply notarized, but this comes a bit later. You don't have to act on this until you get the form and the request, but you can locate a convenient notary just to have everything ready to go.
Once you make contact with a potential employer, you will more than likely have to go through their training. This takes a couple of weeks and is just a matter of staying alert and completing the training. Once you complete the training you will be assigned a mentor. The mentor will introduce you to your first class and explain how to navigate the platform. Your mentor will stay with you throughout the course.
Imagine now that you have signed into your class and you are looking at the monitor of your computer. You see before you a number of color coded panels. Each panel represents an aspect of the course. The focus is on process, not content. Be aware, however, that content is not excluded. Students may still take courses in math, science, history, composition and languages, but process is emphasized, not the hoarding of information and parroting it back to the instructor. The first panel in the upper left of the screen is labeled as Announcements.
Here you will note that urgent information is given. The administration might make an announcement about how the offerings will be changed for the next term. Also, weather announcements are often made. Realize that in an online program you will be connecting to many actual time zones and they all get consolidated on your laptop. This space can also record the instructor's policies and office hours.
A variety of assignments is offered. Timed objective tests are used every week. Essays are required and a deadline date is given for submission. Participation in Discussion Threads, research, attendance, is required. Note that most of these are processes, but content is included and may vary. The criteria for acceptable performance are given in the form of a rubric.
Problems and Solutions:
In online instruction creativity and critical thinking are emphasized. The students are encouraged to make discoveries and to share those discoveries with other students. They could, for example, discover a new way to navigate a search on their platform. When they share their discovery, everyone profits.
Grades are recorded, organized and averaged,and,as attendance may be included in grading, this is done for the instructor. As soon as the student signs in, their presence is recorded. This is a big time saver for everyone and the summary of information provides a basis for student teacher conferences.
Most conferences are private and are arranged by telephone, email or chat room. In a few cases some others may be present if the meeting is to resolve a dispute. In this case legal counsel may be called in on both sides. The conference is typically about the academic standing of the student in class. If it concerns a content question, then Ask the Professor would be more appropriate
Ask the Professor:
Any content question may be posted on ask the professor. The information is made public to the whole class. This way everyone profits from the exchange. If the question requires tutoring, the instructor may recommend a particular tutorial.
Most online programs contain a variety of tutorials, from lessons on grammar to lessons on APA and Turnitin.com. so that one can organize grammatically correct essays that are properly formulated and avoid plagiarism.
Discussion Thread is the heart of the course, the processes which will call for the student to respond to other students, to enter a dialogue. The instructor shares his/her feelings on the matter, and various themes or threads will be examined.
This section is not graded. It is a free discussion between students and the idea is not to evaluate the student's performance. In a sense, there is no performance. The Idea is to encourage sharing of both content and personal issues. The aim is to promote bonding so that the students support one another beyond the bounds of the course.
The foregoing provides an outline of the kind of activity to be found on an online course. Note that the stress is placed not on content, but on process. There are many advantages of this curriculum design.
In the online curriculum design the students and instructors are freed from the constraints of time and space. For example, one can participate fully in the courses yet travel to other states or countries. All one needs is a laptop computer or access to a computer. One's schedule is freed up for travel or to commit to other responsibilities. Taking attendance is done automatically. The curriculum is mapped out for one. Lesson plans are provided along with lectures. Grades are recorded and averaged for the students and the instructor. The trade off is that the students and the instructor must learn the platform and how to navigate it.
As traditional post-secondary institutions such as state colleges, four-year universities and community colleges move to make an online masters degree in education, a business management degree online and an online bachelor of nursing degree available to their new and returning college and university students, the number of available online professor positions will continue to grow at the same time. The for-profit schools that award their students the bachelor degree online and the master's degree online have had a great deal of success with distance education technology and the state schools are intent on emulating that academic success by developing and offering their own accredited online bachelor degree programs and online masters degree programs. As a result of this effort, and also as a result of the realization that distance education is much less expensive to offer college students when compared to the cost of maintaining physical college classrooms, the numbers of online education jobs will dramatically increase in the coming months and years. This is an opportunity for an online adjunct instructor to earn a very nice online adjunct income from an online teaching schedule.