Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

aleksander-vlad-jiVeo0i1EB4-unsplashEach week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 70 Online Adjunct jobs from 28 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

16 Online Teaching Positions – ECPI University

9 Online Teaching Positions – Grand Canyon University

5 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

 

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: AAPC, AIU Online, Capella University, Concorde Career Colleges, CSU Global, Eastern Oregon University, Fielding Graduate University, Fisher College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Maryville University, Northwestern College, Purdue University Global, Sacred Heart University, South University, Southern New Hampshire University, TCSPP, Trident at AIU, University of Arizona Global Campus, University of Jamestown, University of Phoenix, University of the People, Walden University, Weatherford College, West Coast University, and Western Governors University.

 

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, September 5th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

marvin-meyer-SYTO3xs06fU-unsplash (1)Each week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 44 Online Adjunct jobs from 16 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

11 Online Teaching Positions – Rasmussen College

9 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

5 Online Teaching Positions – AIU Online

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: American College of Education, American Public University System, Galen College of Nursing, George Fox University, Grand Canyon University, Indiana Wesleyan University, National University, Southern New Hampshire University, Umass, University of Arizona Global Campus, Walden University, Western Governors University, and Wilmington College.

 

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, September 5th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

lukas-blazek-GnvurwJsKaY-unsplashEach week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 40 Online Adjunct jobs from 20 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

6 Online Teaching Positions – Penn State (1 job listing, 6 discipline areas)

4 Online Teaching Positions – Western Governors University

3 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: American Public University System, Bellevue University, Capella University, CTU-Online, Florida National University, Franklin University, Grand Canyon University, Pacific College of Health and Science, Pillar Seminary, Profhire, Inc., Purdue University Global, San Joaquin Valley College, South College, Southern New Hampshire University, UMass, University of Arizona Global Campus, and University of the Cumberlands.

 

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, July 11th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

windows-VMPhyAoVqqk-unsplashEach week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 47 Online Adjunct jobs from 21 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

11 Online Teaching Positions – National University

8 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

3 Online Teaching Positions – Grand Canyon University

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: Bryant & Stratton University, Capella University, CTU-Online, Dakota State University, Drexel University, Herzing University, Hilbert College, Liberty University, Northern State University, Purdue University Global, Regis College, South College, Southern New Hampshire University, TCSPP, University of Providence, University of the Cumberlands, Wake Forest University, and Western Governors University.

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, July 11th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

matias-north-v8DSLoY80Xk-unsplashEach week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 43 Online Adjunct jobs from 20 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

9 Online Teaching Positions – Purdue University Global

8 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

4 Online Teaching Positions – Southern New Hampshire University

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: Bryan University, Bryant & Stratton College, Capella University, Columbia College, CSU Global, Elizabethtown College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Georgia Military College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Northwestern Health Sciences University, Parker University, Rize Education, Saybrook University, Strayer University, Texas A&M International University, Walden University, and Western Governors University.

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, July 11th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

surface-V_JGp9lnojw-unsplashEach week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 31 Online Adjunct jobs from 19 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

6 Online Teaching Positions – Purdue University Global

4 Online Teaching Positions – Southern New Hampshire University

3 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: CTU-Online, Florida Institute of Technology, Georgia Military College, Grand Canyon University, Herzing University, Joyce University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Life University, Loras College, Maryville University, Parker University, Saybrook University, University of California, Irvine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, University of New England, Western Governors University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, July 11th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

convertkit-RvPiAVE-zWo-unsplash (1)Each week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 54 Online Adjunct jobs from 27 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

14 Online Teaching Positions – Logan University (1 listing, 14 discipline areas)

4 Online Teaching Positions – Bellevue University

4 Online Teaching Positions – Joyce University of Nursing and Health Sciences

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: American College of Education, American Public University System, Bryan University, Capella University, CTU-Online, Dakota State University, Drexel University, ECPI University, Georgia Military College, Grand Canyon University, Murray State College, Northcentral University, Oral Roberts University, Purdue University Global, Saybrook University, Southern New Hampshire University, Strayer University, Unitek Learning, Inc., University of Maryland Global Campus, University of Providence, University of Scranton, University of Washington, Valley College, and West Shore Community College.

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, July 11th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Online Teaching Resources.

alexei-maridashvili-gqk2hoqGAL0-unsplashWhen you are about to teach an online course, and you have been told that you need to choose a textbook, feeling pressure is understandable. For students, a textbook is a major purchase, and usually an expensive one, and so your decision has consequence. If your online course is asynchronous, the textbook is going to have to carry the day—you’ll rely on it, as will the students. You may even second-guess your choice as the course progresses! What to do?

There are two approaches—at the very least—in considering your choice of textbook. Some of them are practical concerns, and others involve sound pedagogical research, both of which we’ll explore. Once you know some simple things—like, how long is your class going to actually last? How easy is it to actually get the textbook?—then the shape of your class can determine what textbook best fits it.

Let’s start with practical concerns and then move into the bigger ideas. In each case, one of the important things to note is that student perceptions of textbooks can be incredibly important.

Practical Advice on Textbook Adoption

Ask yourself these pertinent questions before you decide on a textbook:

  1. First, how long will your class be? Best case scenario, can you align the number of chapters in the textbook with the number of weeks in your course? If a course stretches over a semester, and the textbook has 14 or 15 chapters, then that means you can use one chapter a week, which makes planning easy for you and the schedule regular for students. Teaching an 8-week class? A 16-chapter book rounds out nicely to two chapters a week.
  2. What is a reasonable cost for the book? I mean, students are students, and students are already spending an enormous amount of money—why not relieve the burden a bit? There’s no need to choose an expensive textbook if you don’t have to—and ensuring that the cost is within their budget also ensures that the students will actually buy it!
  3. Can you make do with using a previous edition of the book? That will surely make the textbook cheaper, but you also need to make sure that the book would be available. If you were teaching a small class of, say, ten students, and if there were enough of the older version of the textbook available on Amazon (or any number of good used textbook sites!), then that will work. But if your class numbers something like 50, well, then that might not work.
  4. What formats are the book available in? Sure, you can get hardcover, but it may also be available in paperback, eBook, looseleaf download, audiobook, or even an eCopy that is rentable (and that is usually cheaper, to boot).
  5. What do the reviews of the textbook say? If there’s one good thing about Amazon—and other book sites may follow suit—you’ll get reviews of the textbook by not only the professors who used them but the students who read them. Think of this as “social proof data.” If a book is singled out for praise and puffed up with positive reviews, you may have yourself the best choice. In a 2008 study of forty-eight college students by Durwin & Sherman, the research strongly suggests that students who read one textbook vs. another perform equally well on comprehension-focused exams. There is a secondary implication here: students are accurate judges of text quality! In fact, there was a significant, positive correlation between a student liking a textbook and their reading comprehension performance. When you are deciding on a textbook for your class, you can ask a potential student or someone who might take a course like yours to give you some feedback. When students help you, you get to be the one who learns!

What this means is a bit of online shopping and research—just like for any other book you’ve ordered for yourself. At this point, online shopping in general is second-nature to most of us. Use it to your advantage!

Pros and Cons of Textbooks

usman-yousaf--AQ-P_R25aI-unsplashOne thing to consider is the fact that you can make a textbook required, of course. If you do so, there are certainly pros and cons—and that goes for both students and faculty.

In the 2013 book The Required Textbook: Friend or Foe? Skinner & Howes reviewed the literature on “the required textbook” and drew it all up in a list of pros and cons, accounting for both faculty and student perspectives.

To start, here are the pros of requiring a textbook:

  • Textbooks provide foundational knowledge in a consistent way across all students – a text serves as the “voice of the discipline.” Everyone is literally on the same page, and they will remain so after finishing your class.
  • They serve as a “tour guide” as students to get their feet wet with a topic or discipline. They tend to be broad, especially in those intro classes like English literature and psychology.
  • They meet standards for accreditation.
  • It can take quirks of the instructor—as interesting as they sometimes are—out of the equation, and that means students who use the textbook at one university will acquire the same knowledge as a student who uses the textbook at another.

The cons of requiring a textbook were:

  • Instructors (like you) felt like it took a lot of time to choose textbooks – for a lot of general education subjects, there are way too many to choose from. It’s hard enough shopping online for shower curtains—try shopping for something like a textbook!
  • Students felt that required textbooks increase college expenses that are already, let’s face it, high to begin with. That, coupled with the fact that students may find that the textbook is not always valuable to them, makes it a grudging purchase.
  • Unmotivated readers may simply not benefit from a textbook purchase at all.
  • Visual aids in a textbook are nice (who doesn’t like a book with “pictures”?) but textbooks are rarely entertaining.
  • Textbooks demand a lot of time—and the reading falls outside of class time, and so they impede of student time.
  • They lack technological interactivity (although, since 2013 when this book was published, this is changing. A lot of textbook publishers are now integrating interactive web technologies to go alongside their textbooks – MyPsychLab and MyMathLab from the Pearson publishing house are examples).

With all that in mind, you can make an informed decision about choosing a textbook at all. If you choose a textbook, really pay attention to how well it acclimates the student to the subject—and allows them all to be on the same page in terms of understanding. Avoid high cost in both money and time, if possible—and with adult students, who are understandably busy, this is critical.

What Does the Research Say about Evaluating Textbooks?

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to use a textbook, there are some fine points to consider—and researchers have been looking at these points for decades.

Armbruster and Anderson (1988) pointed out that “’Considerate’ content area textbooks are ‘user-friendly’—they are relatively easy to read, understand, and learn from.” The three features of that consideration are structure, coherence, and audience appropriateness.

In terms of the structure of a textbook, the better organized it is, the more likely readers will remember the information in it. One of the strongest ways a textbook can be structured, they write, is through signaling: titles, preview words, headings, and summary statements all clarify the structures of passages and chapters, and the reader can more easily organize the information into a coherent structure for themselves.

ux-indonesia-8mikJ83LmSQ-unsplashThe authors suggest looking at the structure of the textbook: is its structure reasonable, and given your own knowledge of the subject matter, is the information structured soundly and appropriately as the discipline demands? Look for a well-signaled text, where headings and subheadings are informative, where everything from page layout to graphic aids reinforce the structure and create coherence. Look for signal words like “First…Second…Third…” and so on—they “signal” the movement of ideas.

Coherence means that the ideas of the textbook have clear relationships to each other. The greater the coherence in the organization of the textbook, the greater the coherence of ideas the student will make cognitively for themselves. Much of this can be simply grammatical; look for connectives like because, since, therefore—each of which describes the relationships between ideas. Transition statements help the students understand the movement from one idea to the next. The chronology of ideas should be easy to follow.

Is the book suited to your students’ knowledge and skills? If so, then it is audience appropriate. Reading comprehension and memory are dependent upon building upon students’ prior knowledge—and the main ideas should be clearly identifiable. This is reinforced by simple things like highlighting main ideas with italics, or bold face; preview or summary statements of main ideas—even making sure the topic sentence of a paragraph is the first sentence!

All this may sound obvious, but the fact is that researchers found many textbooks lacking considerably in structure, coherence, and audience appropriateness. “Admittedly,” they conclude, “the process of selecting textbooks using the criteria we suggest is more art than science at the moment.” All that’s demanded of you, really, is to be a critical reader yourself. judge a textbook accordingly—and it’s often the case that textbook suppliers offer free copies for teachers to review.

There are, as we have seen, many factors to consider in selecting your textbook, from cost to accessibility. What you can do is shop carefully and draw on what others have to say—whether professors or students—to make an informed decision. Review a book closely to determine whether it is coherent, and also whether it will fit your class’s length and course structure.

The rewards of your attention will result, as research shows, in student understanding. The buck stops there!

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

surface-8rS5UgAc5iw-unsplashEach week we will summarize all the online adjunct jobs we’ve added to AdjunctWorld during the week for easy reference.

If you’d like to be notified right after we post a new online teaching job in your discipline area, giving your application a jump start, consider becoming a Premium Member!

This week we posted 38 Online Adjunct jobs from 23 schools.

We at AdjunctWorld wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Brooke for more information.

This Week’s Online Teaching Job Summary

5 Online Teaching Positions – Purdue University Global

4 Online Teaching Positions – Western Governors University

3 Online Teaching Positions – Strayer University

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: Albany Law School, American College of Education, California Institute of Arts & Technology, CSU Global, Emmanuel College, Frederick Community College, Grand Canyon University, IUPUI, Laurel Ridge Community College, Life University, Los Angeles Pacific University, Murray State College, Northcentral University, Rasmussen College, Southern New Hampshire University, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, University of Maryland Global Campus, University of the Cumberlands, Wake Forest University, and West Shore Community College.

 

Online Teaching Certificate Course

OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching

Space is limited! Register today!

samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOT101 is our 4-week, asynchronous, instructor-led certificate course that provides training in today’s best practices in distance education. Upon successful completion of OT101, you will receive a certificate to document your achievement which can be highlighted in your job applications and CV.

To date, we’ve graduated nearly 450 members of our community (read testimonials here). The next run of OT101 starts Monday, July 11th. Enrollment is now open, space is limited.

OT101 normally costs $249, but use coupon code SAVE30 at check out for 30% off, bringing your price down to $174.30. Premium members will notice an additional 25% off taken at check out ($129.48).

REGISTER FOR OT101 HERE

 

Premium Membership

premium buttonWould you like to be alerted to the jobs in your discipline(s) right after they are posted on AdjunctWorld, rather than waiting for this weekly summary? Over the past week we’ve sent out hundreds of daily job alert emails to Premium AdjunctWorld Members.  Click here for a description of all of the Premium Membership benefits and how to subscribe.

Thanks for being a part of the AdjunctWorld Community!

Posted by & filed under Online Teaching Resources.

jeswin-thomas-wRdYnqXtyYk-unsplash (1)When faced with literally hundreds of college courses, all of which make a pitch for the student’s attention (and eventually their attendance), how does a student choose which course to take? Course descriptions. Remember course catalogs when you were in college? You’d “shop” through them and see what struck you as interesting, pertinent, or just plain fun. As the University of California at Irvine has stated, “Course descriptions are a driving force behind the enrollment decisions our students make.”

Though there are many cases where a college will write a course description, there will be other instances where you will need to craft your own course description. You need to summarize the content of your course to intrigue students—and get them to sign up—and there are some basic guidelines to do so.

We’ll look at some of those ideas in brief.

The Basics of Writing an Online Course Description

Algonquin College has a helpful page for the writing of course descriptions. Let’s highlight some of the key points.

First off, the whole idea of the “course catalog” as you may remember it has changed. Much of the course descriptions—and this would be something transfer students and incoming freshmen would be privy to—will be online. “Therefore,” the college writes, “information must be clear, current and accurate.”

When you’re sitting down to begin writing a course description, ask yourself three questions: why, what, and how.

First, why are you offering this course? What is its point? The purpose and rationale for the course should be convincing—and also clear. Second, what exactly will students learn? Finally, how will they learn this content? What will be the activities?

Now, take these three points, in this order, and you can write at least a draft of a course description. Keep some style aspects in mind: present tense; active voice; simple sentence structure; avoid jargon if possible. Now, how to refine it?

Let’s move on to specifics.

Length of an Online Course Description

hannah-grace-j9JoYpaJH3A-unsplashThere’s a lot of ways to think about how long your course description should be, but one way that seems unerring is this: less is more.

Like anything else you write, you can certainly start long and then edit down to essentials. A few sentences. Probably less than 100 words. Remember, you want to keep these “bite-sized” for students who are looking to set their schedule quickly and want you to get straight to the point.

You could certainly think of the course description in terms of “marketing.” After all, you are trying to sell your class, really. The goal is to get students in the door. (Even if, being online, there is no door per se!) The course description acts as a kind of “advertisement” from the student’s perspective. Think about what it is you’re selling.

Focus on the Student

Mohawk College in California also offers a few tips on writing course descriptions. They lead off with this: “Be student-centered.”

Write for the student’s sake as opposed to writing “teacher-centered” or even “course-centered” descriptions. It’s not about what you the teacher are trying to get across, or what your meticulously designed course aims to do, but rather what the student will get out of it. What will be the outcomes for the student? What is it they will learn exactly? How will this move them forward?

You can write about what a student might expect from your class, but as the college points out, don’t frame that in cliché language. Avoid sentences like “Students should expect to…” blah, blah. At the same time—even though you are marketing the class, essentially—don’t write it like marketing glop. “This class will change your life…” Well, maybe, but don’t stoop to that level.

“Try to refrain from making yourself or the course itself the subject of your sentences,” writes the University of Notre Dame blog. Stick to how the student will benefit.

Active Verbs

Utah Valley University, among many other colleges, offers an interesting take on how to make the writing active in your course description: use Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Your course description draws on course learning outcomes, and those outcomes should be clear, measurable, attainable, and at course level. The action verbs you use will “explain how the student will show their knowledge upon completion of the course.” All of our English teachers, we hope, drove into us the need to write with active verbs, and this is no exception.

Some of the action verbs they recommend include define, interpret, create, summarize, and hypothesize. The “non-action” verbs, by way of comparison, include things like learn, understand, appreciate, and know—these are words open to too much interpretation.

eden-constantino-EGaf5ojV6n4-unsplashThink of the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy of 2001. The action verbs draw from each level of the taxonomy: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and, at the peak, Creating. As teachers, we always want to be aware of using Bloom’s pyramid as we structure the class itself, and we certainly want to use it as we simply describe the class, too.

In considering your audience, and when using verbs that are active and indicate the learning that will happen, you can consider, too, that these course descriptions are read by more than just the students! They are read, as the university points out, by the general public—and that includes parents, other colleges, and businesses.

Where should the verb fall, by the way, in the sentence? Right at the beginning.

Here’s the opening sentence from an example of a Secondary Education Science course description: “Examines objectives, instructional methods and curriculum for teaching science in the secondary school.” Here’s a sentence from a course description of Public Speaking: “Develops competence in oral communication through performance, the development of critical thinking skills, arrangement of ideas, and use of evidence and reasoning to support claims.”

Straight and to the point, in language that any student, parent, or business manager could understand.

The Body of an Online Course Description

The University of Notre Dame, in a blog on writing course descriptions, goes on to point out what should be in the body. Once you’ve got an attention-grabbing, active verb opening, get specific and detail what the learning experience of a student will actually be like in your class.

What are the learning objectives? Tell the student what they’ll take away of value. What will be your teaching methods? You may use close reading or group discussion in your online class. What will be some of the course content? It may be readings, or videos. What will be the final accomplishment? Perhaps a portfolio, or a peer-reviewed essay.

“Keep the lists to a minimum and focus on the bigger picture,” says Notre Dame. And at least one aspect of the bigger picture is how your course will affect your student’s life, both educationally and professionally. Think of it like this, as Carnegie Mellon University puts it: “How will the course help students develop as scholars, learners, future professionals?”

That is the ultimate question—and it is likely the one that students, in the end, will be most concerned with.

What Are Your Adjectives, Anyway?

Before you write a course description, you will have to be clear on the course objectives—and the two shouldn’t be confused, says Dr. Babbi J. Winegarden of UCSD School of Medicine. “A course description simply tells what the course is about,” she writes. “You might consider the GOALS of the course to be linked to the course description; they are broad educational statements fitting the mission and description of the course. Specific measurable objectives, however, tell what the learner will be able to do upon successful completion of the course. Begin with the end in mind…

glenn-carstens-peters-RLw-UC03Gwc-unsplashSome of her points clarify a lot of what we’ve said here. Active verbs, for example; not only should they fit Bloom’s Taxonomy, making clear to students what they will do, but they will be verbs that are not open to interpretation: active words like write, identify, solve, construct, compare/contrast are specifica student can generally tell what they will do when they read these words. These are much different than a word that describes your course far more loosely like, say, “You will learn to appreciate…” or “You will come to understand…

What does “appreciate” look like? Or “understand”? But writing and solving is far more specific.

A second rule is to address these three characteristics:

  • Performance; what is a student expected to do?
  • Conditions; what are the conditions in which the student will do the tasks you set out (in an online class, think discussion board, for example)?
  • Criterion; how well will the student be expected to accomplish the task?

When considering all this, your course description should be unambiguous in the objectives of your class, the activities that will help students accomplish those objectives, and how they will be evaluated in their work.

Bringing it All Together

If you keep a student focus, use active learning words and inviting adjectives, emphasize value and how your course helps students reach their goals, and ultimately arrive at a digestible length, you know you have written a terrific course description! It’s always helpful to look at examples and to use your inner barometer to gauge whether what you are reading is a model of what “to do” or “what not to do.”