A Subject Matter Expert is a person with extensive training, expertise, and education in a specific discipline. In other words, if you are an adjunct instructor with a graduate degree and some relevant work experience you are the very definition of an SME. SMEs typically work closely with instructional designers as they develop standardized, reusable courses for online university programs.
As an adjunct, you may have noticed this trend. Less and less are adjuncts expected to create their own courses, instead being asked to facilitate pre-existing courses that colleges use term and term again. Who creates these courses? Instructional designers. But on whom do instructional designers rely to write the content? Subject Matter Experts…you!
There are many companies that hire subject matter experts to work with instructional designers to create standardized online courses that meet accreditation standards and lead to effective student learning. Study.com and Top Hat are heavy hitters in our AdjunctWorld database of jobs. Click here to see a list of online education content development companies. Some of these are open source, meaning anyone who is interested in learning can take the course. Some open-source companies are also partnered with university-based online programs to supply courses for their student populations.
Additionally, many universities and colleges (and departments within them) have their own instructional design departments that create their own standardized online course shells for their instructors.
I’ve been an online and on-campus psychology adjunct instructor for six years and have worked just as many years as a SME. Truthfully, it’s a fun, interesting gig that pays fairly and provides several benefits.
Have any questions about SME work? Want to discuss your SME experiences? Leave a comment below!
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