One of the most common questions we are asked here at AdjunctWorld (indeed, I received two emails with this question this week) is “I would like to gain online teaching experience, any suggestions?”
We have two blog articles that provide some answers to this question. In Getting LMS Experience – Where to Start? we list the following strategies:
- Take online classes yourself that use various LMS technology.
- Find online trainings for specific LMSs (there are a lot of these available. Moodle, an open-source platform, even offers a lot of free online trainings!).
- Make a connection (via LinkedIn or our AdjunctWorld community) with an instructor who uses the LMS you are interested in learning more about and pick his/her brain about the software and how to learn more about it.
In Need Online Experience to Get Experience? we echo these ideas and add the following: Seek SME work for online programs and add it to your resume. When you have been a subject matter expert, you not only demonstrate your expertise in your discipline, but you have gained some experience in instructional design and have done research on what online classroom “lectures” should look like. In short, you have a form of online teaching experience.
Since publishing these articles I’ve come up with an additional answer to this question that I’ll discuss here: Go to the LMS training department at the school you are already adjunct teaching for.
A lot of you are seeking online teaching jobs, but are already adjunct teaching in the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom. Since many traditional schools offer a distance education component, there is usually some kind of training center located on campus or at least an LMS guru of some kind to whom everyone on campus asks their LMS-related questions.
For example, I am going to be adjunct teaching an online class for a local university in the Fall Semester and I was referred to their Blackboard specialist for any questions I may have about setting up and teaching a class on Blackboard. This person works in a department on campus specifically tasked with supporting faculty in their teaching endeavors, online or off. I can’t believe the school I’m teaching for is the only school that has such a person/department.
Even if you are not teaching online for that university or maybe even if you are not currently adjuncting for a school you have adjunct taught with before, you likely still have access to this potential source of online training. Does this person/department have a training or sample classroom module you can access? Would they be willing to meet with you to show you how an online classroom works? Does the department offer faculty online trainings you might be eligible for?
Ask all of those questions, maybe one will yield a “yes”, and then you have a source for getting some LMS exposure that you can list on your resume, even if you can’t claim to have taught a class. In other words, if I sit down with the Blackboard guru at the school I’ll be teaching for and she shows me the ins and outs of a Blackboard classroom and how to manage it, refers me to a training website/module, or enrolls me in an LMS training class and if I follow through with those suggestions then I can legitimately say I’ve gotten some professional development in online instruction (at least with a particular LMS).
Worth a shot! Continued luck, everyone! Please feel free to comment below with any comments or suggestions for your fellow adjuncts!