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My experience teaching online

April 17, 2007

Dean Dad beat me to a discussion of online teaching. His is in reaction to an article about CC’s moving into online instruction. Here is my take:

Most, about 80% if not more, of my adjunct experience has been online. Here are some random comments (more on my blog):

* almost no one (instructors that is) takes advantage of the publisher “cartridges” that go along with a book. These provide online-enhanced media that would add to the student experience.

* the attrition rate is due to the level of student more than the subject matter.

* asynchronous learning appeals to the challenged (deaf, wheelchair, etc.) as well as the isolated (in the sticks with no school around) or the deployed (lots of service men and women have access to internet services). In this way, teaching to this population is really rewarding.

* lots of recently-divorced mothers who are recovering from abuse are also attracted to online courses. Their personal narratives are sometimes the most harrowing and impactful.

* it is easier to automate online functions–even grading to a small extent (online quizzes and the like, recycling discussion questions, lectures, etc–it is not only the students who can cut and paste).

* the pay is on par with on-ground, and you can check in at your leisure.

* The students whine more. The online tone is much less formal…which can be a real pain.

* You never see the dean. That is nice. But, the dean has no obligation to assign you new courses, and with the relative anonymity of e-mail, he can ignore you at will. This does not bode well for job security.

* You cannot walk around and verify low enrollment. See the note about job security above.

* It is easier to ignore obnoxious students. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get your e-mail.”

* Not checking into your class is easy to note by the admin.

*Admin do not take the time to read your well-thought-out comments placed on the student’s Word document and returned to said student. So, most of your work will go unnoticed and unappreciated.

* Students do not take the time to praise…they do, though, take extended time to bitch.


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