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What you can expect being an online adjunct

July 11, 2007

I say online adjunct because I know of no instructor who is full time with benefits (much less tenure) who teaches exclusively online. I am sure this animal exists in the wild, but sightings are rare.

The base rate for College B is $1500 for six week courses. This is a rate one has to work up to.

To teach online, you must go through a mock-up online course (5–6 weeks) unpaid. They expect you to jump through the entire student hoops (turn in assignments, log-on each day, “participate”, etc.). You are graded in that if you do not meet the expectations–usually the logging in daily part, they will not extend an offer.

Once through the prep course, you are to compile your online materials. Some, like the UofX, will push all of their centralized content to you. You have little room for personalization. In effect, you become a course facilitator (their word). This means you monitor the chat lines. The UofX does not use either of the popular course software (BlackBoard/WebCT) but their own website and Outlook Express for chat/list-serve-like threads. Cumbersome and annoying, the learning curve on this is steeper than most. If you are not technically proficient, this may prove a challenge.

Other full-time online programs allow a blending of your materials and theirs. Theirs is usually the lecture notes from a previous instructor. Sometimes they hired (paid a little extra) for a course to be populated with material. Sometimes the book(s)–not chosen by you–will have a companion web-site with extra materials (videos, ppts, etc.).

Once your materials are compiled, you upload. This takes the bulk of your online teaching time. Each week will have reading material (usually in a weekly folder–think of the folder tree in Windows) with uploaded materials (Word documents, ppts, etc.). There is also a weekly assignment folder with a breakdown of the week’s assignments. I also included reading quizzes (I mean, really, one has to check).

So, if you have six weeks, this uploading gets kind of involved. AND, few places are savvy enough to have you upload one section and then use that as a template for concurrent or future sessions. Potentially, you have to perform these uploading tasks (and defining the folders to open on a specific date) each semester.

BUT, once uploaded, you are smooth for the semester. Your time is then taken with communication and grading.

More on this next post.

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