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Online Adjuncting: the Lecture

July 14, 2007

When you begin to teach online, the biggest, most time-consuming aspect is building your course materials. The college/university will know this, and many will provide you with “class copies” of materials. These are materials built by past instructors (with permission or without–I had a large portion of my class materials used without my permission, which is both flattering and insulting).

Depending on the C/U’s predilection toward centralized content, you may change, ignore or augment as you wish. I soon adopted a change what I needed and build as little as possible. With online publisher materials (ppts–which are not as bad as you might initially think), the ability to link, and other nifty features of the Web 2.0, there is more a need to collect than to create. Given the adjunct pay, this is the route most chosen.

The online lecture may, at first blush, seem daunting. It shouldn’t be. Consider your audience. They are not a committee of three approving publication. They are, for the most part, reading your lecture quickly and online. A few might print out, but you should not expect them to.

When composing to be read online, adopt business writing protocols:

  • Short paragraphs developed around a single idea
  • Judicious use of bulleted lists
  • Visually appalling layout, etc.

They will be reading quickly, so anticipate this. You may not agree with their approach. You may feel as if the student should spend large amounts of quality time with the material (you certainly have), but this is not really a fight you want to pick. You will lose.

More to come.

  1. working permalink
    July 14, 2007 11:31 pm

    So true, I’m lucky if the students read the syllabus, let alone the material ;).

  2. The_Myth permalink
    July 15, 2007 2:17 am

    Sadly, this is true even in face-to-face courses though.

    Minimum effort with expectation of maximum reward.

  3. Natalia permalink
    July 20, 2007 6:51 pm

    Yeah I find this to be true as well. I have found the ones who want to learn get a lot of out of it and the ones who would coast in the classroom have a harder time. I like being able to grade from home but miss the interaction of the classroom. But nothing beats grading and dealing with student concerns in your pajamas while eating ice-cream.


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