Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do Not Just Contemplate Teaching Online

Teaching via Skype
Teaching via Skype (Photo credit: shareski)
by Michael Greene

The current state of post-secondary teaching employment on traditional campuses is unreservedly poor as the percentage of adjunct college and university faculty members working in physical college and university classrooms increases at an exponential rate.

This should come as no surprise to any college instructor attempting to stitch together a living wage by providing instruction on two or three campuses and outright failing as a result of not being able to earn enough money to support a reasonable lifestyle that includes the time and space to engage in scholarly research activities.

More to the point, the emergence of more online classes each semester provides an object lesson in the thinking and actions of administrators scrambling to effectively serve college and university students with the rapidly decreasing budgetary funds available for that purpose.

Since there seems to be no end to the explicit transition to distance education over continuing to maintain traditional classrooms, it is past time for academics to simply contemplate teaching online as a smart career choice as opposed to learning how to use the online college degree programs to generate an academic income worthy of their educations and intellects.

While many educators with earned graduate degrees have earnestly considered teaching online there are not all that many who have taken the leap and learned that it is possible to generate a full time living from a personal computer accessing online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs.

Some non-academics would be stunned by the knowledge that in the face of mass layoffs in public education at every level a teacher with a Ph.D. or master's degree and decades of classroom experience would simply not be motivated to actively pursue online teaching a secondary or primary career opportunity, but those same non-academics are understandably unaware of the difficulty of transitioning from a public employee situation where all aspects of the teaching profession are managed by administrators to that of an academic entrepreneur responsible individually for the generation and management of income from the delivery of post-secondary instruction.

Of course, on a practical level this hesitancy on the part of languishing teachers is completely understandable in light of the sheer newness of distance learning and how it is literally changing the academic employment landscape.

To be fair, public school teachers, including traditional adjunct college faculty members, have not really been given the necessary tools during their intellectual voyage through graduate school to be successful as a self-employed academic.

This lack of essential understanding that creates the intellectual tools required to make the needed career adjustments prevents educators from taking even the first step to transition out of an employment arrangement that is no longer economically viable. In order to correct this problem the teacher needs to learn as much as possible each day about the technical navigation of academic websites and the online degree programs located inside them.

At the same time, it is of paramount importance to realize at a basic level that the first step to successfully building a complete online teaching portfolio is an acceptance that online teaching employment is the new academic brass ring.

Distance education technology is all the rage with academic administrators and new and returning college and university students for the simple reason that it is extremely inexpensive to deliver and maintain, which is in direct opposition to the high costs of maintaining physical college classrooms and university campuses, and is much easier and less costly for students enrolled in online college courses to access online college degree programs on the Internet than it is to use a motor vehicle to drive to a traditional campus on the edge of town in order to sit for long periods listening to a lecture and then having to drive back home.

The same convenience and cost-efficiency is available to the prospective online adjunct instructor that makes the serious effort to learn as much as possible about the availability of online teaching employment. After all, the market for an academic entrepreneur, an intellectual with the appropriate academic credentials and technical skills, is growing larger each passing day.

The administrators who are so eagerly deploying online degree programs leading to an online bachelor of nursing degree, an elementary education degree online or an online criminal justice degree, which they have no intention of teaching themselves, are desirous of large pools of academic labor than can be depended on to take control of multiple online college courses at the moment an e-mail is sent offering an invitation to teach online.

The college instructor that is ready to start teaching from a personal computer can develop a reputation for being able to manage the offered online courses and eventually experience more offers from administrators of online degree programs than traditional academic programs.

These offers will develop into individual income streams that collectively represent more money than can possible be earned by teaching in a physical classroom on campuses that can only be arrived at by traveling geographical distances.

The combination of growing student populations at the post-secondary level of the academy and the genuine need academic administrators have for online adjunct instructors that can immediately enter an online class and start teaching is the sweet spot, so to speak, for any educator wanting to acquire the mobility and financial prosperity associated with teaching online for multiple online degree programs.

While it is true that graduate school will not inform a teacher how to react to massive layoffs of public education employees, it is entirely possible for the alert intellectual to master the use of a personal computer and the associated navigation of the Internet in order to locate plenty of online teaching employment that will serve as an economic platform for increased prosperity.

Michael Greene is a full time online teacher. Greene has learned that the academic wanting to continue earning a living from teaching should recognize the growing popularity of distance education programs at the post-secondary level of the academy. His posts about online teaching as a career can be read here. The best advice about finding a variety of online teaching jobs is located right here and can be accessed with a simple click.

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