Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

kari-shea-apcUIqOPEIo-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! In addition to online teaching job alerts, you will also receive big discounts on our professional development courses – like our online teaching certificate course (OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching) as well as OnRamp: A Practical Guide to Landing an Online Teaching Job.

This week we posted 31 Online Adjunct jobs from 10 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

7 Online Teaching Positions – Houston Baptist University

6 Online Teaching Positions (1 listing, 6 disciplines) – Southern New Hampshire University

5 Online Teaching Positions – Western Governors University

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: Capella University, Contemporary Technology University, Liberty University, Provo College, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland Global Campus, and University of the People.

 

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 AdjunctWorld Resources.

joanna-kosinska-B6yDtYs2IgY-unsplashMost of us remember March, 2020 as being the month where—as far as education goes—pretty much most brick-and-mortar classrooms were empty. Classes, as we knew them, transitioned nearly entirely online. How did history classes fare? Here’s what the American Historical Association said in their news magazine: “History classes, in particular, are generally more adaptable to an online format than many other courses, precisely because the skills we value involve words and critical reflection—the ability to read closely, identify and weigh evidence, engage in informed debate and discussion, and write analytically and persuasively. These are qualities that are readily transferrable to the digital realm.”

To put it simply, it’s easy to post readings online and have discussions around those readings, also online. Students write and those writings get uploaded into a learning management system for the teacher’s perusal. It so happens that teaching college history courses as an online adjunct is a job very much in demand. Like any other course, it has its challenges to master, but history is a class that readily adapts to the online environment.

So how can you become an online adjunct history professor? Where are the available jobs? And what can you expect to do as an online history teacher? Read on to learn more.

Can You Teach History Online?

College history is one of the main courses you can teach online. As the American Historical Association suggested, history is suited for online learning.

The AHA points out three areas of learning: reading, discussion, and writing. The online, asynchronous format can allow for all of these—in many ways, at the students’ convenience, and certainly at the instructor’s convenience, as well.

british-library-Gw_UOoFk4Wk-unsplash (1)Readings, for example, are easily posted online through a learning management system, an LMS, and students can quickly download them and read them in their given time. Discussions in online classes are easily held on discussion boards, where students can respond to questions and hold debates, while the teachers themselves can respond as needed. Writing, as well, is easily posted to an LMS, making it easy for the instructor to download, evaluate, and upload thoughtful comments.

The nature of the history class, therefore, absent of things like “labs” where a student really would have to be present, makes it easily translatable to the online environment. If you teach history—or want to—then the online forum will allow you a lot of latitude, notably minus the commuting and the need to be in certain classrooms at certain hours on certain days. Your schedule (and the students’) is entirely up to you, at least within the parameters of the semester.

One of the benefits that accrued during the mass of online classes due to the pandemic was that new resources and tactics were drawn up by professionals like yourself and shared. The University of Washington, for example, posted a page of resources and best practices that is still available (as of this writing). A professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education likewise posted some thoughts and ideas.

What Do You Need to Be an Online History Professor?

So you’re thinking, this sounds good. What do you need to begin?

  1. First, you’ll need the right college degree. As far as the degree requirement goes, the baseline will generally be a master’s degree in history. In some cases, that master’s degree—in your discipline, of course—will need to be accompanied by graduate credit hours in the teaching discipline; eighteen hours is a general number. Conversely, you could hold a master’s degree in the teaching of history. You could also have a master’s related to history, so long as you have eighteen graduate hours in the discipline itself.
  1. Many colleges, particularly large schools, will look for experience in an academic environment—that is, they want to know you’ve actually worked in a college before. However, that does not mean you need to have worked as a “professor” before, or even an instructor. It could mean having been a graduate assistant, or even a tutor at a college. Don’t underestimate such experience! Anywhere you have worked as a student or with a professor is game for your application.
  1. In the case of online teaching, you will benefit from having online teaching experience. Not every school will require it—and some may even offer training in online teaching, sometimes required or sometimes not—but if they do, again, this need not have been in a college. You could have taught an online course for middle school, or of your own devising. Be creative with your experience; many things count as good work experience, and a college in need may readily accept the experience you have to offer.

I should mention here that, depending on the job the college is offering, you may need a Ph.D. to teach. Graduate schools needing adjuncts will require this. But there are frequently jobs at both the undergraduate and graduate level, so you needn’t be limited.

How Do You Become an Online History Professor?

The question here is, now that I know I want to teach history as an online adjunct, what do I actually need to do? First, you’ll need the right materials. All of these materials, now that we’re firmly in the 21st century, can easily be done online, uploaded to a college’s job site.

  1. As I said above, you’ll need your graduate degree, but you’ll also need your college transcripts; definitely transcripts of your postgraduate work, although have our undergraduate transcripts handy as well.
  1. You will likely need a letter of application—a cover letter, basically. In that letter, which should not go over a page, you’ll have to cover some ground: what is your academic experience as a teacher, especially online? Have you used an LMS, and if so, which one? You can offer, too, a brief but concise teaching philosophy (and in some cases, a college may ask for a separate document containing your teaching philosophy).
  1. You will need your curriculum vita—aka your vita, or just plain CV. Detail your education, where you graduated from and when. List your job experience, including any online teaching experience, or else traditional teaching. Have you had publications, grants, research? They are not required of adjuncts for the most part, but you can add them—showing your enthusiasm in the discipline can only help.
  1. Some colleges will ask only for references with contact information, and others will ask for three current letters of recommendation. Always have those ready.

Note, too, that some colleges maintain a “pool” of applicants, from which they draw according to need (which is to say, they may not always have enough classes to teach). Others will hire for a specific position altogether. Their websites will make this clear.

A quick look at a college—Kentucky State University, a Historically Black College and University, hiring for adjuncts in history—shows exactly what they are asking for of applicants. The minimum qualification is a master’s degree, with eighteen hours in a history content area, where a specialization in African-American History is preferred. Applicants must submit a letter of application, including graduate transcripts, a CV, and three letters of recommendation.

Adjunct History Professor Jobs are Online

A general search for online history teaching jobs quickly turns up a number of postings. Indian River State College in Florida set up a post that is helpful in that it details expectations, responsibilities, and more.

IRSC’s requirement to teach is a master’s degree, though they prefer a doctorate. They want to know not only that you have teaching skills (and they prefer two to five years, but it is not a requirement per se) but that you appreciate cultural diversity—Florida is very diverse in population, as you might imagine. Experience with computers and technology across the board is needed. They want you to meet the credentialing requirements for the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools.

cristina-gottardi-GeKoZualPmA-unsplashAside from general teaching expectations—grading papers, assigning grades, and so on—you must maintain posted office hours and participate in department and adjunct meetings.

Trine University in Indiana has a posting for teaching social sciences, history, political science and government—all online. They have “minimum technology requirements” and expect enthusiasm to be conveyed to students. As if you wouldn’t! But it’s good to know they value that.

Rock Valley College in Illinois has their own LMS, called EAGLE, and expect as a minimum only a master’s degree in history—and because this is the bare minimum, a college like this may be a good place to start. You can begin building teaching experience, if you’ve never taught before, that you can carry on to other schools.

It’s clear that history classes are made for online delivery. The future promises that all online programs will grow, and history is no exception. The move to online college coursework is historic—if you’ll forgive the pun. Well, and if you can forgive another pun, by taking on courses as an online adjunct history instructor, you can essentially be a part of that history. You might even make history—isn’t that what teachers do, daily?

AdjunctWorld adds online teaching jobs to its database every day, and this is an excellent resource for finding the perfect teaching position in history. Now is as good a time as ever to begin a career as an online adjunct in history—the discipline has found itself a comfortable niche online, and it looks as though it’s there to stay.

Posted by & filed under AdjunctWorld Resources.

priscilla-du-preez-F9DFuJoS9EU-unsplashIt may seem counterintuitive, but teaching psychology online is a rapidly growing field. You’d think that psychology constitutes teaching some pretty extensive information, including interpersonal soft skills —and it does—but this in no way limits it from being taught as an online course. In fact, teaching psychology online may even be ideal. No wonder so many colleges are doing it!

You can begin a career as an online adjunct psychology teacher because colleges routinely hire for such classes given the demand—psychology is in the top ten most popular college majors in this country. Like any other job teaching college courses as an adjunct, there will be certain requirements you will need to attend to: these include your college degrees, expertise in the field, and in some cases, your teaching experience.

Even those requirements are a generalization. It seems that there are plenty of jobs, and you can likely secure one without having an enormous amount of experience.

Wait, Can Psychology Actually Be Taught Online?

If you’ve ever taken a psychology course in a physical classroom, especially as an undergraduate, you might have noticed that such classes can be quite large. Introductory courses at big institutions, especially, can have more than a hundred students in a session! Such courses may rely very much on lectures, and so it’s easy to imagine transitioning such a course to an online environment.

How do you go about teaching psychology online? There are resources available online.

Walden University, which frequently hires for online adjuncts to teach psychology (they offer a Post-Master’s Online Teaching in Psychology Certificate), offers some tips. Use content that would engage and educate a student who is logging in using a learning management system (LMS), including readings, videos, and audio files. Communicate what your expectations will be in the online environment you’ve created. Be available to students, especially through the learning management system (the LMS) and by email. Finally, evaluate your performance—“nothing beats introspection,” the authors write.

chris-montgomery-smgTvepind4-unsplash (1)The Society for the Teaching of Psychology (a member of the American Psychological Association) offers a webpage teeming with peer-reviewed ideas. The APA themselves offers a page that includes resources for teaching undergraduate, graduate, and even post-graduate students. The Association for Psychological Science makes resources available, as does the Social Psychology Network on a page maintained by a professor from Wesleyan University. And there are even more resources than these, so keep looking! (And you can join a group like the APA and learn even more from colleagues.)

Given the parameters of an online class—posted readings, a discussion board to pose questions and consider answers, or teleconferencing a lecture—the online environment can be a comfortable experience for both teacher and student. There are many ways to serve up information, and many psychology courses will be just that—a lot of information rather than labs or other activities.

How Much Do Online Psychology Professors Make?

Now that we’ve addressed the question of whether teaching psychology online is a possibility, one of the next obvious questions you probably have is, how much can I make? As with all adjunct positions, the wage varies.

If you just go by search engines in your quest to find salaries for teaching psychology as an online adjunct, you’ll probably find a variety of answers. Glassdoor, for one, reports that the national average salary for an adjunct instructor of psychology is $74,985—this number was based on over 5,100 salaries submitted anonymously.

Zippia, on the other hand, writes that an adjunct psychology professor makes $49,160 a year, or an average of $23.63 an hour. Some colleges will say upfront what they offer, and it’s only a matter of visiting their human resources page or reaching out to the HR department of the college.

In either case, contacting the college themselves to clarify is important. We’ve also written a little bit about online adjunct salary in our article titled: How Much Money Does an Adjunct Make Teaching Online?

Are Online Psychology Professors in Demand?

Zippia’s research suggests that between 2018 and 2028, the career of teaching psychology as an adjunct will grow by 11% and create 155,000 jobs along the way in the U.S. If that’s the case, then there’s never been a better time to get a foot in the door.

eric-prouzet-B3UFXwcVbc4-unsplashThe website Recruiter offers similar numbers. Since 2004, they write, vacancies in postsecondary psychology teachers (and by now, this number will include online adjuncts, as well) have increased by nearly 25%, an average growth of about 1.5% a year. Recruiter projects that more than 50,000 new jobs will need to be filled in 2029 alone.

It’s interesting to note that they chart where the need lies. Some states—New York, Texas, and California—have far more postsecondary psychology teachers than other states, sometimes in the thousands. The states with the least resources include Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, and Montana. Those states may be a good starting point for the job search; if they offer remote positions, all the better.

Do You Have to Be a Psychologist to Teach Psychology Online?

The minimum qualification for teaching psychology is having a degree in psychology, and a master’s is more likely to be the base. A doctorate will be even better, depending on what position the college is looking to fill. But you in no way have to be, or need to have been, a clinical psychologist, a researcher, or anything like that. Education is frequently enough. (However, in the case of teaching something like statistics or research methods, you will need that experience; Indiana Wesleyan University asks that applicants have “involvement in quantitative research and statistical analysis.”).

Is it helpful to be a clinical psychologist? Do some schools require it? Yes and yes. But not being a clinical psychologist isn’t a deal breaker if you are interested in pursuing a career teaching psychology online.

By analyzing over 1,000 resumes, Zippia found that 43% of adjunct psychology professors have a bachelor’s degree, and that just over 40% have a master’s. Those with doctoral degrees stand at almost 13%. Some initial career experience you can draw on outside of your degrees includes internships and being a research assistant.

So as far as those degrees go, what do you want your degrees in? Basic psychology, clinical psychology, even school counseling can all work for you. All of these need to be taught.

That said, if you do have experience in the field, then you can emphasize this in your curriculum vitae and your cover letter. It couldn’t hurt, on the one hand, but on the other, it may give you a big leg up. After all, your being able to apply that field experience in the classroom—online or not—gives students an advantage.

Can I Find Online Psychology Adjunct Jobs?

A quick Google search for jobs teaching psychology as an online adjunct—a search taken right here in Louisville, Kentucky—quickly turned up jobs at major colleges and universities right here in the state.

I saw right away that two colleges in my state’s community college system were hiring for online adjuncts to be part of their faculty pool. I also saw that one of our state’s large universities  was hiring for six different graduate programs, including Counseling Psychology, Art Therapy, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling and Educational Psychology, and more.

A smaller state university, at the time of this writing, is looking in part for online instructors to fill a number of courses, including introductory General Psychology and upper-level courses in Theories/Methods in Developmental Psychology, History & System of Psychology and/or Research Methods for Behavioral & Social Sciences.

rabie-madaci-eo6t2CSxXhc-unsplashTo the east, The University of the Cumberlands is looking for online adjuncts to teach from nine psychology course offerings—and what an interesting set of offerings! Forensic Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Learning and Memory, all ranging from 200- to 400-level.

And these jobs are just local, with Google picking up on a regional search. At the present moment, casting the net wider, I found over 250 jobs teaching psychology as an adjunct. AdjunctWorld posts online teaching jobs daily, so that is a good place to start looking!

Credentials Needed to Teach Psychology Online

Like any other area of teaching, requirements will vary according to the college you apply to. But here are some basics you can expect.

  1. For many of these jobs, you can expect to be asked for a higher-level degree. A doctorate will guarantee you get your CV looked at; however, a master’s may also suffice, given you have enough credit hours (say, eighteen) in the teaching discipline. That master’s will likely be a minimal. In either case, be prepared to send your college transcripts.
  2. Whether you have online teaching experience matters. In the case of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, however, preference is given to those who have taught an online course before, but it’s clearly not required. They indicate that they use Blackboard as their LMS, so knowledge with that system will help.
  3. In some cases, you may need to upload your college transcripts, as well as a current vita or resume. Three current letters of recommendation should always be on hand; some colleges may not ask for them, but some—like I found Kentucky State University does—will.
  4. Some colleges, like Cincinnati State University, might ask for “industry experience,” which could well mean working at a practice, for schools, or in a state agency.
  5. Your subject matter expertise is always valuable. Think about your expertise as you craft your CV and cover letter.

In brief, psychology is a popular college program—after all, you went through a psychology program yourself, and can attest to that. You’re part of a pool of psychology graduates, many of whom are working clinically. Not all of them will look to teach, but for those who do—like you—there are more and more psychology students at every level, undergrad through post-grad. Colleges need your help.

Teaching psychology online is a job that’s not reserved for academics. If you have been working for a private practice, or for a school, or for the state, you have the experience to teach because you have real-world experience. And that experience can be applied online, several states away. As these programs grow and multiply, the need for teachers will grow—remember, not every psychology graduate is an academic; that is, they didn’t all go into teaching! If you’ve never taught before, or have only taught a course or two, you are not at a disadvantage.

I’ve seen some suggestion that there are not enough people to teach psychology courses, and with the increase in students—and the proliferation of online courses—working toward teaching these courses seems like a smart move. There are jobs across the country, and those jobs promise to grow.

Posted by & filed under AdjunctWorld Resources.

linkedin-sales-solutions-Kfzfd8ksE10-unsplash (1)So you have what it takes to teach online college courses. You have the right college degrees in your discipline. You have some teaching experience. You’re pretty good at using the technology that the courses will require. Maybe you even have some experience with learning management systems, like Blackboard or Brightspace or Canvas. You’re as ready as you’ll ever be. Now what?

You can get an online teaching position by preparing a CV, cover letter, and Statement of Teaching Philosophy, searching online for jobs, and then applying for an interviewing for those jobs – with full knowledge of the college’s expectations and the goals of distance education. Know in advance what the responsibilities of the job are, and whether the college is building a faculty pool, and you’ll be prepared to take on online classes.

Thanks to the Internet, your job search can be done from your desk. Colleges post their job boards online, and that includes postings for online adjunct teaching positions. A basic search, utilizing any search engine, will turn up jobs quickly. A lot depends, too, on when you look. You’ll also need to have your materials in order.

Narrowing your search on the Internet will help you find teaching positions: where do you want to teach? Knowing at what point in the year the college hiring windows are open will help, too. It just takes a little detective work. And with your polished application materials in hand, you’ll be ready to apply!

First, Assemble Your Materials

Before you really begin looking for jobs and preparing for interviews, you’ll first want to make sure that your important documents are in order. Let’s begin with two that will be asked for consistently: your CV and your cover letter.

Your curriculum vitae, the CV, will need to cover a lot of ground. Aside from making sure your name, email address, and phone number are all at the top of the page, you’ll need to include the information a hiring committee most wants to see.

Your Education is paramount. List the degrees you’ve been awarded, where they’re from, and when you got them. It may be enough to include only your postgraduate degrees, the master’s and Ph.D. degrees that will be required for the jobs.

Your Work History is just as relevant. Show where you’ve taught, what you’ve taught, and how long you taught there. If you had a job title, list it. If you were a Teaching Assistant, a TA, get it on paper. Did you tutor? Include it.

In your Professional Summary, be sure to show off your qualifications and indicate how you want to grow as a teacher. What do you have to offer? Be explicit. Remember, the “professional summary” is the hook for an HR manager to keep reading. You can also detail a section on Skills, an excellent place to demonstrate your proficiencies. Which technologies you have used in your online classes, as well as the kinds of students you’ve worked with (undergraduates? adult learners?) can be detailed here.

Next, you’ll want to make sure you have an excellent cover letter. Aside from being sure to explicitly state which job you’re applying for, now is your time to shine. If the CV has grabbed a hiring manager’s interest, then your cover letter should follow up with more details. How do you evaluate student progress and assess their work? How have you used technology in the classroom in order to further student learning?

In both cases, the CV and the cover letter, it is important to do research of posted online adjunct teaching jobs and looking closely at “duties and responsibilities.”

joao-ferrao-4YzrcDNcRVg-unsplash (1)Be prepared to submit your college transcripts. In some cases, you can submit unofficial transcripts at first, though you may be asked to submit official transcripts later.

Finally, you will want to prepare well-written Statement of Teaching Philosophy that captures the essence of your approach as an informed online instructor. A full description of what a Statement of Teaching Philosophy entails warrants it’s own article, which we will provide shortly, but in sum have a 1-page, well-edited essay that describes your student-centered approach to distance education at-the-ready. Not all schools will ask for this, but you don’t want to limit yourself to only those that do not. Write one!

Using Search Engines to Find Online Adjunct Jobs

It’s safe to say that everything is online now—including job postings for just about every industry I can think of. Teaching is no different. All colleges have websites with pages dedicated to job postings. It’s just a matter of finding them. Let me give an example.

I started by typing “online adjunct teaching jobs Kentucky” in the search bar. Right off, I found that Bluegrass Community and Technical College, a public college, is hiring online adjunct faculty for a number of positions, including psychology, family studies, social work, developmental studies, human services, computer information technology, and medical insurance technology. I find that the pay is $725 per college credit hour.

Now that I’ve found a job, what will I need to apply? According to the posting, eighteen hours in the teaching discipline and a master’s degree. I find that preference will be given to applicants with prior experience teaching online (I also learn that BCTC uses Blackboard as their LMS).

So what do I need to submit? My current CV and college transcripts. I can apply directly through the BCTC site, too. I would also need to complete the “online teaching inquiry form” to be considered for future online positions.

markus-winkler-afW1hht0NSs-unsplashMy online search actually turned up some out-of-state jobs, too. Specifically, two jobs teaching online for Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, one in Healthcare Innovation and another in Healthcare Informatics. So what are their requirements?

Interestingly, MCPHS requires a bachelor’s degree, though a master’s is “preferred.” They want to see previous experience teaching to graduate students (specifically, students planning on a career in health and/or business) and experience using Blackboard. What do you need to submit? A CV and a cover letter.

When you’re typing in the search bar, try everything you can: “online instructor,” “online faculty,” “online adjunct,” or “remote learning.” Broaden your chances.

At AdjunctWorld we do a lot of this work for you – we hand-scrape the web every day for online adjunct teaching positions and list them in our database. Schools also post positions on our website, too. So, consider us your partner in this endeavor and use our search function to source online teaching jobs in your discipline area.

The Interview Process

In an interview published on TheBestSchools.org, Sarah Eilefson, Ph.D., says that her interview process took place entirely over Zoom—as did her orientation and onboarding later on. That’s unsurprising, given the pandemic.

So what kinds of questions might you expect in an interview for an online teaching position? An article on Owlcation.com provides some insight. Author Rhonda Malomet offers some of the questions she was asked.

One of the most important questions—and one you will sometimes have to provide as part of the application process—is, What is your teaching philosophy? She says that online teaching falls into two domains—”humanistic (focused on the individual) and behaviorism (focused on outcomes)”—and you should align your answers with these two types of teaching. Ensuring that you come across as a student-centered instructor (a guide on the side vs. a sage on the stage) is important as well.

You will be asked, she continues, about your experience with technology and learning management systems—if you have taken a course yourself that utilizes either or both, that counts! If you’ve had to troubleshoot, then that, too, is an opportunity to show your adaptability and flexibility.

You will be asked, naturally, about your teaching experience. She was asked to talk about a time she used creativity in her teaching. She was asked a common question about how she motivates students, as well as how much time she would give to a student. You could be asked how you interact with people online.

Into the Pool

You will probably find that at many colleges, there is a faculty pool from which departments draw their teachers. In many cases—Bluegrass Community and Technical College, which I mentioned here, is one—you will be given not so much a job as a place in the pool. If there is a high need, it is more likely you will be chosen to teach a class.

elissa-garcia-ckVjMurwKIs-unsplashSo “landing a job” sometimes means “landing a place in the pool,” and you’ll find that other teachers have seniority in that pool. What’s important is that teachers are drawn from the pool depending on need—and that need is dictated by how many students are signing up for a particular course, and therefore how many sections of the course will be open to teach. In the case of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, this is the case; the language used on their jobs page is “Posting is open-ended and will be filled according to need.”

The same is the case for Indiana University. A quick look at a job posting for an online adjunct instructor of math says that “Applications will be reviewed by the department as need for instructors arises, and candidates will be notified if they are chosen to interview.”

But this is not always the case. Indiana Tech, for example, is hiring for adjunct faculty in psychology—with online teaching experience preferred—and no mention is made of a pool. The same holds true for a position teaching online in their Global Leadership doctoral program.

When to Look for Online Adjunct Jobs

The best times to apply for online adjunct teaching positions is well in advance of the start of a new term—especially if you are applying to a faculty adjunct pool. Courses will be determined—and the need for instructors solidified—within the weeks before a new semester starts.

When you think “semesters,” you’re really thinking about two different times: fall and spring. Applying in the summer in order to be ready for the fall semester is a good idea, and applying by no later than the fall semester for the spring term is also a good idea. Is one better than the other? It depends on the course.

Take English composition, for example, typically a 100-level course. It is true, at least in some colleges, that most of the sections dedicated to Composition 101 will happen in the fall semester. Why is that? As I was told by English faculty, that’s when most of the incoming freshman sign up for the course. Therefore, there will be far more courses to teach in composition, and it will be more likely to ensure you classes to teach. In the spring semester, those same courses dwindle, and it may be the case that more faculty are trying to teach less classes—and getting a class to teach becomes more competitive because of that.

Therefore, it is probably best to really start looking for adjunct teaching jobs in the late spring or early summer to ensure you can teach in the fall. It is more advantageous for colleges to do a lot more evaluations of CV’s in that time—after all, they’re not teaching. By the time the winter rolls around, they will also already have a pool of faculty to draw from!

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply for spring term classes to teach. But regardless, you will want to start at the best time—now. Begin with your standard job application paperwork: compile a CV, write a cover letter, secure some letters of recommendation (at least three), and make copies of, at least, your unofficial college transcripts.

Start applying for the jobs after searching online—most of your work will be uploading those materials. If you are contacted for an interview, prepare your answers based on what you know about teaching, working with students (of all ages!) online, and your skills with technology.

You don’t have to limit this process to your region, either. Use search engine terms to isolate jobs that are online that can be taught from anywhere. Whereas the successful candidates for a job with the College of Western Idaho will have to reside in Idaho by the first day of class, that is not necessarily the case with a great number of colleges.

With all these factors in mind—your application materials, a sense of how to answer interview questions, applying at the right time, and knowing whether you are applying for a position or a pool—you should have everything at your disposal to work toward landing an online teaching job.

We cover the process of landing an online teaching job in our 4-week, instructor-led course called OnRamp: A Practical Guide to Landing an Online Teaching Job. Participants leave class prepared for interviews and with a fully and professionally reviewed CV, Cover Letter, and Statement of Teaching Philosophy. See our OnRamp Course Description and FAQs page for more information and for upcoming schedule of classes.

 

References: 

TheBestSchools (2021). How To Get a Job Teaching Online. https://thebestschools.org/careers/career-guides/online-teaching-jobs/

Malomet, R. (2019). Ten Sample Interview Questions for an Online Instructor. https://owlcation.com/academia/Sample-interview-questions-online-instructor

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

courtney-wentz-gJWjS_NAjM0-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! In addition to online teaching job alerts, you will also receive big discounts on our professional development courses – like our online teaching certificate course (OT101: Fundamentals of Online Teaching) as well as OnRamp: A Practical Guide to Landing an Online Teaching Job.

This week we posted 40 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

10 Online Teaching Positions – Southern New Hampshire University

4 Online Teaching Positions – Western Governors University

3 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: Bellevue University, Capella University, Columbia University, CTU-Online, Eastern Oregon University, Florida Technical College, Gordon College, Grand Canyon University, Hussian College, Kaplan, Penn Foster, Salve Regina University, South University, St. Louis Community College, University of Phoenix, and Walden University.

 

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 AdjunctWorld Resources.

ashkan-forouzani-ignxm3E1Rg4-unsplashOver the past decade (at least) there has been, and continues to be, a great deal of controversy in the case of the employee benefits that an adjunct instructor is often denied. Benefits, as defined in the lives of the adjunct faculty, revolve largely around health benefits—health insurance—and pensions. In either case, benefits are far too often lacking for adjunct faculty.

Colleges often do not offer benefits, either through health insurance or pensions, to online adjunct faculty. But some do—and peace of mind is a matter of finding those colleges. The reason this is so lies in the fact that adjuncts typically do not—or cannot—work the hours required for an employer to provide health care.

Colleges all too frequently limit the amount of hours a single adjunct instructor can work, falling beneath the requisite 30 hours per week that guarantees—by federal law—the provision of health benefits. Pensions, too, are left out of the conversation. There are, however, exceptions, and those exceptions are worth exploring.

Under What Circumstances Will a College Offer Benefits?

In 2013, the federal government issued provisions specific to adjunct faculty in the Affordable Care Act, the ACA, which determines the standard by which employers must offer health care to employees.

The federal government set hours-based equivalents for teaching classes, and they differ from the credit hours a college affixes to a class. Under ACA guidelines, for each “classroom hour” taught by an adjunct, a college must count 2.25 work hours (this accounts for not only classroom teaching time but prep work, as well) (NACUBO, 2014). A typical 3.0-hour class (meaning, the class meets for three hours a week) means that the hours worked would actually be 6.75. The federal guidelines also stipulates that a college must add one additional hour per week to cover office hours. In all, for a single 3.0-hour class, one would work, under the ACA definition, 7.75 hours a week per class.

A full-time employee, under ACA rules, must be provided health insurance benefits. A full-time employee, the ACA stipulates, works 30 hours a week (Internal Revenue Service, 2021). If you taught four classes, each 3.0 hours, for one college, you are considered by law to be a full-time employee.

If you find yourself in this position, the college is obligated, by law, to comply with ACA rules or face penalties. But as we’ve found, colleges will simply restrict the number of hours that an adjunct can work, and by that strategy they will not be required to offer benefits.

How Many Credits Can You Teach?

michael-skok-xCbD8Gi0Lck-unsplashShortly after the announcement of the new ACA rules, the American Federation of Teachers released a list of nearly forty colleges or college systems in twenty states that restricted the number of classes an adjunct could teach. Many colleges on the list limited adjuncts to teaching only 9 credit hours per semester, amounting to three classes (remember that teaching four classes, or 12 credit hours, requires health benefit coverage). In some cases, colleges limited work hours to 29, or even 29.75 hours a week (30 hours requires health benefit coverage).

The list came from newspapers, human resources documents, and even faculty whistleblowers across the nation. No matter the case, at these colleges—at least at the time—one could not expect health insurance benefits. At many, this is still the case.

Despite that fact, and beyond the controversy generated by compliance with the ACA in terms of adjunct teaching, there are colleges that offer health benefits—and more.

Who Offers Benefits?

Even a quick online search turns up, on the search engine’s first page, six colleges that offer benefits to adjunct faculty.

The Grossman-Cuyamaca Community College District in California—which at the time of this writing was hiring online instructors—offers a health, dental, and vision plan.

The City College of New York (CCNY) offers benefits to adjuncts who have taught at least one course for two consecutive semesters, who maintain at least six teaching hours per week, and are not otherwise covered by another job, a spouse’s job, or a government entity (like, say, Medicaid). They can enroll in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) so long as their current appointment is for at least 45 hours.

The Community College of Philadelphia likewise offers a health insurance plan. Adjunct instructors are offered two choices: they may elect coverage offered by the college and pay a portion of the premiums, or they may choose to hold their own plan, for which the college will reimburse a portion. Depending on the pool one falls in, the college will pay either half the coverage or even 75 percent of the coverage! They also offer prescription drug benefits, a dental plan, and basic life insurance.

vitaliy-nqyK3NuwC6E-unsplashIn some cases, benefits might be defined as something broader. According to their website, the Community College of Philadelphia offers, in addition to these benefits, a basic 403(b) retirement plan and one week of paid sick leave per semester. They also offer tuition remission for one course per semester and a computer loan program.

Does this go for online adjunct faculty, as well? It does. At the time of this writing, for example, CCP was hiring for online psychology instructors. The adjunct can teach up to two online courses.

Some schools simply offer the opportunity to enroll in healthcare benefits regardless of the number of hours work. This, however, does not mean that the premium is low or consistent with what you might pay as a full time employee. In other words, you will have the option to enroll in benefits, but it might be the case that nearly your entire paycheck each month goes to cover your insurance premium. For some, this may not be a bad thing – teaching at one school to offset the cost to one’s family for health insurance might seem like a fair trade. To others, it may seem like highway robbery; it depends on your perspective.

Realities to Consider

According to an October 2017 report by the U. S. Government Accountability Office, barely over 35% of part-time college instructors have health care through a work-provided plan. That number varies by state, of course; in North Dakota, the report found the number to be 9.1 percent, and in Georgia only 7.1 percent.

What this means is that you should be prepared to give deep consideration to health insurance coverage. In order to be covered, that means you can do one of two things outright: one, look for teaching assignments at colleges that offer health insurance and other benefits to contingent faculty; two, be prepared to cover health care costs yourself, which may mean looking for teaching assignments that pay the highest.

Granted, you may have insurance through a spouse, or you may even have governmental assistance. If such is the case, you are fortunate. If not, you will have to plan in advance to be sure you are covered.

Granted, you may have insurance through a spouse, or you may even have governmental assistance. If such is the case, you are fortunate. If not, you will have to plan in advance to be sure you are covered. You may search for, and end up finding, colleges where contingent faculty are allowed to or even encouraged to work over 30 hours a week, qualifying you for benefits. Do your research. Find what will sustain you.

 

References:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (2021). Identifying full-time employees. https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/employers/identifying-full-time-employees

Government Accountability Office (2017). Contingent workforce: Size, characteristics, and work experiences of adjunct and other non-tenure-track faculty. https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-18-49.pdf

National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers (NACUBO) (2014). Affordable Care Act: Final rules on coverage for adjuncts and students. https://www.nacubo.org/News/2014/2/Affordable-Care-Act-Final-Rules-on-Coverage-for-Adjuncts-and-Students

Posted by & filed under AdjunctWorld Resources.

linkedin-sales-solutions-VtKoSy_XzNU-unsplashWhen considering becoming an online adjunct teacher as opposed to a traditional adjunct teacher—which is to say, teaching in an online forum versus teaching in a regular classroom—it’s obvious that there are notable differences in the two approaches. Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. But online teaching has its share of perks, though also its share of drawbacks.

The pros of teaching online as an adjunct include factors like saved time and expenses, as well as a conspicuous lack of constraints imposed by a regular classroom setting (for the teacher and the students). Cons include limited interaction with students, the various costs of implementing technology, and keeping students motivated.

Our purpose here is to find a balance between the pros and the cons so that you can make an informed decision. Is becoming an online adjunct instructor the right choice for you? It depends on the value you place on the pros and how you can alleviate the cons.

The Pros of Teaching Online

To begin, you have to imagine what’s required of you to teach before a classroom—and if you have already, many of those requirements you may be taking for granted. For one, you need to physically travel to a classroom, and you have to be in that room for a given duration, perhaps an hour or even three; that means commuting, and it also means making your way across campus, oftentimes to numerous classrooms, if not numerous buildings.

Secondly, you need to have materials, which means—and every teacher rues this fact, I’m sure—the possibility of making copies, and so waiting in line for a printer or copier. You will need to deal with technology, setting up your computer and thumb drive in a classroom in order to present visual aids like a PowerPoint presentation. Along with textbooks, student papers kept in manila folders, and perhaps your travel mug of coffee, you’ll be carrying a lot of materials.

tim-mossholder-8R-mXppeakM-unsplashThirdly, you will most likely have to maintain some office hours; a college may ask for one hour for each class you teach. As many adjuncts know, office space is usually limited. In many cases, a college may not even have space for adjuncts to meet with students.

Many of the pros alleviate these challenges and frustrations. Here are just a few “pros” to consider as you contemplate becoming an online educator.

 

Saving Time, Energy, and Money

One of the major pros of online teaching is that you do not have to commute. You save the commuting time, for one—and that time will be put into other areas of your life, even into the work you do for the class. You also save money: you will use no gas, and you will avoid wear and tear on your car. Additionally, you’ll simply save energy and stress that comes with traveling, sitting in traffic, hurrying, and so on.

Geography is Not a Limitation

Teaching online means two things: for one, you can teach anywhere, and two, you can teach from anywhere. In the first case, you can teach online classes at a college that is ten miles away or a hundred—or more. Many colleges hire online adjunct instructors from other states, or at least they explicitly allow for that. Secondly, you are not constrained in where you teach from. You can do your work at home, surely, but it’s not unreasonable to think that you can also do it from a cabin in the mountains, a hotel on the seashore, or simply sitting at your favorite coffee shop.

Teach at Your Own Schedule and at Your Own Pace

This means, really, you can essentially make your own schedule—as long as your syllabus makes clear what that schedule is. You are not bound to a specific meeting time, necessarily, depending on how the class is set up—and if that class is asynchronous, you may have a great deal of freedom. Your class may call for a video lecture, or it may not. The point is that many aspects of a typical online class—including discussion boards, where students, too, can work at their own pace—allow a lot of flexibility for the teacher and the student.

Technology Makes Things Easier

The fact that geography, as mentioned above, is no limitation is due to the fact that technology is eminently portable. All you need, really, is a laptop. Maybe a thumb drive. When students upload assignments, you don’t even need to print them; you can download them onto your hard drive, write your comments right into the document, then upload them back into the system where the student can access them. No printer needed (unless you want to)! So long as you have Internet access, you can operate your class.

Accessibility and Availability

The bottom line is that online classes are proliferating—and for good reason. The fact that online classes are accessible opens them up to people who may not be able to take normal, sit-down-at-the-desk classes. That includes working adults, students in remote areas, and people with disabilities. Because online classes work for such populations—and working adults looking to further their educations and careers are a major population of students—those classes are increasing, making them more available as an option for teachers looking for online work. With advances in technology, online classes will only increase in the future.

Giving Yourself Time to Respond

When a student emails or leaves a comment or question on a discussion board, you have time to respond. You do not have to quickly jump on a concern the student has—or even a complaint—but you can instead think it over, take a walk, and then write back. It’s the same for students; rather than taking on the pressure of answering a question coherently in a classroom, they can research, organize, and draft their thoughts carefully before submitting an answer to a discussion board or an assignment. The anxiety it lifts from their shoulders will be the same it lifts from yours.

The Cons of Teaching Online

hello-i-m-nik-zYdYz7JlevE-unsplashOf course, we all know by now the limitations of technology. Zoom meetings are pretty cool, but they can often be wobbly in execution—and they can crash at the worst times. Video conference calls are phenomenal as a concept, but they lack the deeper levels of friendship and interaction that come with face-to-face meetings. In short, technology lacks intimacy—and things like body language, an important signal in the bonding that happens between student and teacher, frequently get lost.

Limited Interaction

It should be obvious that it will be difficult to get to know a student—including their needs as a learner—when the student lives a thousand miles away and you interact only over email or perhaps an occasional video chat. The classroom atmosphere we would normally be used to is therefore substantially missing. Helping students in their long-range goals, too, is difficult if you don’t live close to them and can’t help with networking for the student. All of this can lead to the class feeling entirely impersonal. That is, if one isn’t savvy in online teaching best practices for developing an engaging community online.

Student Motivation

Motivation issues follow hot on the heels of a lack of interaction. Dhirendra Kumar of North Carolina State University points this fact out in a 2010 white paper on the pros and cons of online education: the student must be self-motivated and disciplined in their own right in order to be successful in the class; it is hard to motivate students in a class where they may never actually even see you or hear your voice.

Technology Problems

Although you can do your classwork from any coffeeshop with free Wi-Fi—and the students can too—there will be problems. Computers crash and important files can get lost. Internet connection can go down in an outage at critical times. Video feeds can freeze. There are also simple financial costs: you will be required to have both a computer—you can assume it will be at your expense—and high-speed Internet in your home, which you will pay for. Any software you might use, like Microsoft Office, will need to be paid for by subscription, unless—and this is the case at some colleges—such software is provided to adjuncts, free of charge.

Time Zone Differences

If you do teach an online course in another state, any difference in time will have an effect. If you live on the East Coast and teach a class in California, then a student may have a question at 9 PM at night—while you’re sleeping. Due dates, especially in terms of what precise time they will need to be turned in by, will need to be closely considered.

Lack of Benefits and Security

Like their adjunct counterparts teaching in physical classrooms, the online adjunct will most likely find that the college offers them nothing in the way of health benefits or pensions. The ACA dictates that an adjunct working 30 hours a week must be provided with an option for health care, but the online adjunct is contingent faculty, working part-time, and therefore the college is not required to provide such benefits to them—especially if their hours are limited to less than 30. This, and the fact that contracts to teach online are semester to semester and can be cancelled with little notice, makes this career at times a challenge.

Distraction

It should be said for any work-at-home gig that distraction is the enemy. How much time is wasted scrolling through social media or wandering YouTube? If you get stumped in devising a lesson plan, would it be easier to do the laundry? How do you grade papers thoughtfully if you have kids? These questions are no different from anyone’s who works at home. Though setting a strict schedule can work, it may not fix every problem. Be aware that, especially working on computers, your attention is always being threatened with distraction.

Rethinking What “Employment” Means

I’ve written before here about the benefits of the online adjunct instructor thinking of themselves as an entrepreneur. Holding this mindset means being your own boss—and with this approach, the benefits of being an online adjunct become evident.

eric-rothermel-FoKO4DpXamQ-unsplashBeing your own boss means making your own schedule. Whatever the constraints that a college imposes on the class they assign you to teach, you can still shape the syllabus to benefit yourself—and your students. That means being able to take time off when you need it: for family commitments, for traveling, and for other work. It also means adjusting the schedule to align with your own productivity. If you do your best work in the morning, and if that is the time you are most motivated and alert, then set your schedule to fit that.

Keeping costs down, especially in regards to time, opens you up to more. It may be the case that you are not afforded health care by the college you work for, but reducing travel time—let’s say, at a conservative estimate, three to four hours a week that you would normally spend commuting to and from a campus—opens that time up to, well, a lot. You can do other paid work. You can invest more in the class you are teaching. You save time, you save money (the car stays in the garage), and you also save yourself from stress, and stress is one of the highest bills you pay throughout the day.

As for the cons, there are solutions. Granted, working at home all the time can be lonely, so make yourself time (with the time you save from commuting and making copies and wandering campus) to meet up with friends and family. Technology issues can be resolved with foresight: make sure the computer and software are updated and check your internet connection frequently. Have a backup plan if the connection wavers. Make friends with the college’s IT department—even their Help Desks are online, where all you need do is submit a ticket to resolve issues with, say, a learning management system.

Knowing that students may feel disconnected, make an effort to create activities where they can interact. Let them share work. Make time for a Zoom conference with each student, even if only for ten minutes. These up-front solutions can alleviate problems that can fester over the course of a semester.

The Power of Working Together

Many discussions of the pros and cons of online learning, including a page from the University of Illinois that is devoted to the issue, point to the power of synergy and dialogue. In the online course, everyone contributes and responds—and this can do much to motivate the instructor. “The online format allows a dynamic interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves,” the UI page reads. “Resources and ideas are shared, and continuous synergy will be generated through the learning process.”

Dialogue, says the university, is also strengthened, because the students (and, notably, the instructor as well) can reflect before responding. The structure of an online class, which affords everyone ample time to think and respond, “allows students time to articulate responses with much more depth and forethought than in a traditional face-to-face discussion situation where the participant must analyze the comment of another on the spot and formulate a response or otherwise lose the chance to contribute to the discussion.” Again, the same goes for the instructor.

Note that, to be successful, the University of Illinois makes clear this point: “Successful on-ground instruction does not always translate to successful online instruction. If facilitators are not properly trained in online delivery and methodologies, the success of the online program will be compromised.” So it could be said that one of the biggest cons is that nothing will work if you don’t know what you’re doing!

It can only benefit you, therefore, to work at online teaching. The better you get, the more those “pros” will shine.

 

References:

Kumar, D. (2010). Pros and cons of online education. NC State Industry Expansion Solutions. https://www.ies.ncsu.edu/resources/white-papers/pros-and-cons-of-online-education/

University of Illinois, Springfield (n.d.). Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Learning. https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/tutorials/online-education-overview/strengths-and-weaknesses/

Posted by & filed under Job Listings.

brooke-cagle-g1Kr4Ozfoac-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 24 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

8 Online Teaching Positions – The King’s College

4 Online Teaching Positions – Capella University

3 Online Teaching Positions – CTU-Online

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: American College of Education, American Public University System, Bryant & Stratton College, Campbell University, Central Texas College, Florida Technical College, Grand Canyon University, Middle Georgia State University, Northern Arizona University, Northwestern College, Rize Education, Salve Regina University, Saybrook University, Southern New Hampshire University, Strayer University, United States University, University of Arizona Global Campus, University of California, Irvine, University of Maryland Global Campus, University of Phoenix, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

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 AdjunctWorld Resources.

brooke-cagle-nuyCCp8jleU-unsplash (1)By now, you have a good idea of what an asynchronous discussion is. You’ve read about the benefits of these online discussions, and you probably have an idea as to how to facilitate them. So far, so good. Now comes the next question: what does the asynchronous discussion actually look like? Or, to put it simply, what do you ASK in an online discussion?

There are elements to an asynchronous discussion to be familiar with, and there are considerations when you’re shaping your own discussions. There are some steps that will help familiarize the students with the discussion forum, and there are questions to ask that will generate the responses that will help shape learning and make the class a positive experience for both student and professor.

We’ll start with being clear on the role of the discussion board, and then get into how to craft a great discussion prompt.

First Step: Writing an Effective Discussion Prompt

Iowa State University uses Canvas as its learning management system, and it’s there that its discussion tools are located. The ISU Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has provided a handy page with some general information that can get the ball rolling: first, what should the asynchronous discussion activity do?

“A discussion activity often works best,” they write, “when students need to articulate their understanding of course concepts, unpack a complex idea, research and debate some information, think through a problem more intensely, or focus on a particular reading in greater depth.” Critical inquiry, reflection, and dialogue: these are the components of any discussion in any fashion, online or in-person. So how to do it?

First, says ISU, you need to write effective discussion questions. They should be short, and it would be best to answer only one question at a time. Make it visually clear by using a large font and bold type. Keep question prompts clear and specific—so that the objective is equally clear and specific. Don’t ask leading questions, meaning don’t bring any personal biases to the discussion.

So what might the questions look like? Here are some question starters that ISU provides:junior-ferreira-7esRPTt38nI-unsplash

Analysis questions can begin with, “How would you explain…?” or “Why is this significant for…?”

Compare-and-contrast questions such as, “How does this compare to that…?” and “What is the difference between a and b?”

Cause-and-effect questions are an old standby, such as “What are the causes of x on y?” or “What are the effects of x on y?”

Finally, clarification questions such as “How do we know that…?” or “What does it mean for this to be true?”

Remember that factual questions—questions with single answers, or even “yes” or “no” answers—will not stir debate or critical thought. Make the questions more open ended.

Alexander et al. (2010) offer another interesting and easy-to-remember system for developing effective discussion board prompts. Read our article on their Four Questions Approach for more information.

Next Steps: The Process – How Asynchronous Discussion Work

When you’re introducing a discussion topic, remember to put it into context—how does it relate to the course objectives? Be equally clear with your instructions: how should students answer the question? How should they offer responses? Be explicit—there should be no confusion for the students.

Keep students engaged by encouraging them to respond to each other’s perspectives. Be present: show your interest in student’s ideas by responding and, if the response is particularly insightful, say so! Likewise, if a response is inaccurate or undeveloped, offer your advice. Be timely. Setting clear expectations as to how student responses will be assessed, what the deadlines are, and how long student responses should be is critical.

Breaking the Ice in the Asynchronous Discussion Forum

I would be hard-pressed to think of a teacher who didn’t use some sort of icebreaker. In a face-to-face class, you can easily see why this would work well. In an online course, it’s enormously helpful!

An icebreaker will create connections, and not only between you and the students but between the students themselves. Depending on the class or the question, the teacher can answer, as well! Students want to know about their teachers, their attitudes and opinions, their experience and stories. Share them.

ISU offers fourteen icebreakers—and you can undoubtedly find many more. They do not have to be content specific, either. At the top of their list is the “Bucket List” question. What does the student want to accomplish in life? Let them offer a “Top Five,” explaining why each one is on the list.

aaron-burden-RgTI2KaQ5N4-unsplashIn the case of the “Dream Job,” you can draw them even more into the class by asking not only what their dream job might be, but how this particular course will get them there. Down at the bottom of the list is the question, “What is your most beautiful moment in life?” In both of these cases, imagine how this would stir the imagination of the student. They are “warm-up’s” in the best possible way—they help students warm to each other, and to you.

You can offer several questions and have students choose one, having them respond at length (at least two paragraphs, say) and even have them comment on each other’s responses—and why not? Note how this simple device can get the students warmed up to the expectations of the class, too.

We offer more ideas for icebreakers in our articles titled 5 Creative Icebreaker Assignments for the Online Classroom and 5 (More) Creative Icebreakers for the Online Classroom.

Online Discussion Questions – The Essentials

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe published a book in 2013 titled, fittingly, Essential Questions—and it is these questions you can shape your discussion threads around. To get at true discussions, shape your assignments to these essential questions, which are:

  • Open-ended questions, those without a single, definitive answer
  • Thought-provoking questions, which stir reflection
  • Questions demanding of higher order thinking, like analysis and synthesis
  • Questions related to course concepts
  • Questions able to raise even more questions for the students
  • Questions that require evidence and justification
  • Questions that recur over time

The ISU page cites the University of Wisconsin with offering a number of examples of actual questions you could pose. Let’s look at a few.

A question to promote discussion may look like this: ask the students to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of just about anything. Social media, say, which given the time we live in is an ever-present topic anyway, and so likely one that students think about. Online shopping—which could stir discussion into everything from corporate giants to small businesses to how different the malls on holidays might look if we did that—and so the nature of employment becomes a topic.

To get students to engage with readings, have them relate a specified concept in their reading to an illustration that can come from their personal experience. If the class was psychology, and the topic was clinical depression, then the student can discuss their experience—either from their own lives or even from the news or other media—to create meaning. This makes the class material personal.

windows-w79mIrYKcK4-unsplashEngage students with the library, and remember that this includes digital and virtual aspects of the library as well. Have students seek out an article that relates to a concept being studied, then discuss its relevance to both the topic at hand and even their own lives.

Have students refer to other sources—post an article and have students evaluate it, critically, drawing support from the article to craft an argument, and then have them find sources that support their stance. Be sure to teach them what a credible source looks like!

Another will stimulate student collaboration. In this case, say you’ve assigned students to come up with a research topic—and many classes, especially composition courses, will do this. You can direct students to respond to each other’s proposals, comment on them, and help each other find appropriate, thoughtful topics.

Finally, you might have students post assignment drafts on the discussion board and do peer reviews. This is something that works on paper—that is, in actual classrooms, where students can trade papers and read each other’s work—so naturally this will work well online, as well.

Facilitating Online Discussions – Being the Guide on the Side

The asynchronous discussion board is clearly not the place for the “sage on the stage.” Instead, you can act as the “guide on the side” and guide student reflection.

One area in which to guide students are the areas where they can share: their struggles, their questions, their discoveries, and so on. “What is one thing you struggled with this week? How have you overcome it, or how will you?” That is a good question, and one that may ultimately help other students, as well, were they to read each other’s responses.

Having students think about their own thinking—metacognitive strategies—as well as how their thinking has developed over time will give them a clear sense of measurement of their own capabilities.  Ask students to make inferences about what they have read, and then ask students to think about why they might make these inferences and, finally, how their thinking on the topic has changed over time.

The “Levels of Reflection” that ISU references comes in four steps:

  • Reporting and responding, where a student can observe, ask questions, and form opinions, but also provide evidence to support their conclusions
  • Relating, where students draw connections between content and other content, or content with their prior learning and even personal experience
  • Reasoning, where students engage in analysis
  • Reconstructing, where students imagine how the content and their learning can be used in the future

These are methods that enable students to articulate their understanding—and the fact that they are writing these responses will help them when it comes time to write more extensively, as in research papers. They can understand complex ideas by relating it to prior learning, using evidence in their responses, and even compare to other students’ ideas. They can research and then debate entirely on the online forum. They can think problems out more thoroughly because they have more time and even space—it’s not always easy to drop two paragraphs out loud in a classroom setting, given the time constraint—to construct their written responses. They can focus on readings intensely and draw deeper conclusions because the online discussion allows for more depth.

Crafting Writing Prompts

To cite another authority, Dr. Nicole Wallack of Columbia University, there are six categories of prompts that encourage deep engagement.

  • Have students simply describe their responses to an assigned reading; what was the experience of reading it like? What came up for them?
  • Ask students to think about contradictions in the reading, any ambiguities or nuances
  • Have students approach the reading through a very specific lens, or have them focus on an issue that the reading can be applied to
  • Have students reread an article, even if only a section: what new insights can be drawn form it?
  • Ask students to consider the context of the reading, who its intended audience might be, and how that shapes the information
  • Finally, make connections of this reading to other readings, other information

Studies have long shown that memorization is not especially effective—but processing what one learns is. It is the way a student organizes their ideas, their ability to draw conclusions and to identify important information, and to see clearly what they don’t know and still need to learn that makes for educational success.

Provide students with a reading, or something they can respond to. Next, have them reflect on it—your questions will aid this. Then encourage them to create their own understanding, their conceptualizations of the ideas you are teaching them. Finally, give them feedback and point to how they might push their understanding and test their ideas.

These things need not be singular student responses; they can also be done as a group.

Small Group Work

small-group-network-hRScHZGXkTA-unsplashBard College offers some ideas for collaborative work—and small group will be best. Groups of three, for example, which would be an excellent size.

Groups can work together with a reading to do several assignments. They can craft a question that the rest of the class can attend to, based on what they see in the readings, and then, in the discussion forum, pose the questions. The point, as Bard notes, is to encourage students to think analytically and then to work together to answer the questions.

Groups can do close readings together of a posted text. The instructor can model this in a single lesson, and then put students to work in small groups to draw out meaning. The idea of small groups, here and everywhere, is to maintain everyone’s contribution—no one can disappear in a small group! Everyone must contribute.

These ideas have been tested by various colleges, and they are rooted in research. This is a start toward your creation of a discussion forum. With practice, and with clarity as to what you want students to know—and what you want them to remember years down the road—you can encourage your students to think deeply and work together efficiently.

References:

Alexander, M., Commander, N., Greenberg, D., & Ward, T. (2010). Using the four-questions technique to enhance critical thinking in online discussions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 409-415. https://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/alexander_0610.pdf

Bard College, Institute for Writing and Thinking. Writing-Rich Ideas for Teaching at a Distance. https://tools.bard.edu/wwwmedia/files/4467673/1/IWT%20Practices%20Online%20Revised%20Paginated.pdf

Correia, A., & Baran, E. (2010). Lessons learned on facilitating asynchronous discussions for online learning. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 3(1), 59-67.

Iowa State University, Center for Excellence in Online Teaching (2021). Discussions. https://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/teaching-with-technology/instructional-strategies/discussions/

Iowa State University, Center for Excellence in Online Teaching (2021). Create an Online Icebreaker Discussion. https://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/teaching-with-technology/instructional-strategies/discussions/icebreaker/

Wallack, N. (2009). Focused freewriting: How to do things with writing prompts. In T. Vilardi & M. Chang (Eds.), Writing-Based Teaching: Essential Practices and Enduring Questions (pp. 25–52). SUNY Press.

McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2013). Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding. Alexandria, Virginia, USA: ASCD.

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

sj-objio-8hHxO3iYuU0-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 49 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

4 Online Teaching Positions – University of Maryland Global Campus

4 Online Teaching Positions – Southern New Hampshire University

4 Online Teaching Positions – Grand Canyon University

…as well as online teaching opportunities at: Blinn College, Bryant & Stratton College, Capella University, CSU Global, Franklin University, Georgia Military College, Kirtland Community College, Naropa University, Northcentral University, Northeast Electric Power University, Pierce Mortuary Colleges, Rasmussen College, Savannah College of Art and Design, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, St. Andrews University, Syracuse University, TCSPP, The University of Scranton, University of Arizona Global Campus, University of New England, West Georgia Technical College, Western Governors University, and Wilkes University.

 

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!