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As I look at the postings for online adjunct positions, they nearly all require experience in online teaching.  Do you have any advice as to how to gain such experience?  Is there one platform more popular than other–Moodle vs. Collaborate vs. ??

Thinking back to the jobs I post (and write 500 character blurbs for) I would say most schools “prefer” online teaching as opposed to requiring it.  In that instance, apply anyway with whatever experience you have.  If your CV otherwise presents you as a great adjunct teacher, you may not be at a huge disadvantage.  Don’t let the preference prevent you from trying, especially if you are a passionate adjunct instructor who has good experience teaching in traditional environments.

However, there are many schools that do “require” online teaching experience.  That’s the conundrum isn’t it?  Need experience to get experience.  Here is the advice I would give:

1)  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a series of articles for our AdjunctWorld blog about Subject Matter Expert (SME) positions.  Take a gander at that series.  Start with the 4 Benefits of Being a Subject Matter Expert article, and then read the related ones.  If you are interested in writing content for schools wanting to create repeatable, standardized courses in your discipline, this is a good way to break into online teaching.  To have SME work on your resume is a form of “online work” I believe.  We often post SME jobs to AdjunctWorld, so if you see one in your discipline, click on it.  I myself have just as much SME work on my resume as teaching and I think the SME work comes off as impressive.  Shows you understand the discpline and some elements of instructional design and have done research on what online classroom “lectures” should look like.

2)  If you have taken online classes in your own academic career, that often counts for something.  Highlight that on your CV when you apply.  A lot of jobs I post will say “Experience teaching or taking online classes preferred.”  I strongly believe that being or having been an online student is great experience toward being an online instructor.  You have empathy and know what students need in a good online teacher, for sure.  If you haven’t taken an online class, consider enrolling in one.  The experience would be good on a lot of levels–more professional development in your discipline plus online experience to boot.

3)   Moodle is certainly a very popular LMS.  Blackboard too.  Here is a link to the 20 Most Popular Learning Management Systems in Higher Ed.  You should be able to find online trainings for most of these, or books, or other tutorials.  The cool thing about Moodle is that its an open source platform, so a lot of the trainings are free!  Start your search on Youtube, you’ll find some great tutorials there.

I hope you find this information helpful.  There are also full online teacher training courses out there.  Several exist, but the only one I have experience with (and could therefore recommend–I’ve taught many sections of it myself) would be the Best Practices in Online Teaching series offered by the Learning House, Inc.  It is offered free to teachers who teach for Learning House parnter schools, but for a fee to anyone else interested.

As always, best of luck to you in your job search!

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