Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Post-MFA Jobs! Online Teaching

After graduating from Montana in 2008, I took a job the University of Phoenix, College of Axia, teaching basic writing classes. I’ve had various friends ask me about online teaching. So here’s a post about it. I’m happy to share my experience, but, remember, I am no expert. This is just one woman’s journey at one university.

Here goes.

Generally speaking, online instruction seems to be a huge trend, simply because it’s so cost effective (no buildings, no tenure track profs to pay, etc). It’s also convenient for students who aren’t in school for the “college experience” (Read: Jager Bombs). Many students are single moms, people with families/full-time jobs or soldiers abroad. A nice break, in many ways, I will say, from the whinging entitlement U kid.

Online is nice for us writers who need a flex job that we can do when we like. If I want to monitor the discussion board or grade a few assignments, at 2 am, or 8 am, or from my iPhone (if I had an iPhone) while in a traffic jam, or in my jammies, I can. I don’t have to dress up in “teacher clothes,” drive anywhere, struggle for parking, prepare lectures, or really, cultivate the same level of relationship I do with “live” students. Which saves a ton of time.

Online pays more than adjuncting. (Of course, what doesn’t?) Obviously, pay varies according to the institution, and your efficiency level (or if you actually put time into teaching versus phoning it in). UOP pays about $1750 per nine week class before taxes. (These pay rates can vary. Don’t quote me!)

There can be weirdness working for “McUniversity,” (Emoticons! Exclamation points! Motivating emails!) which has been criticized for abusing student loans for profit, i.e. students who mostly likely don’t have a real chance at graduation. The idea that “everyone” deserves a degree is nice, but doesn’t always work. I admit, that many students could barely construct sentences is really a tenth grade level English class. But as always, there’s those special students who surprise you.

Note: at McUniversity, the syllabus and all procedures are decided for you. You can tweak. But not much.

Also note: the trainings, etc. can take a while. So don’t expect to apply and be at work right away. I was hired in May, didn’t get my first paid class until October. But that was UOP.

And, finally, be forewarned that you remain, essentially, an adjunct with all the non-rights and non-benefits thereof.

You might like to know: How do you get these jobs?

Basically you search the University of Phoenix website until you fine where they list job postings and stalk it until they need English instructors. And UOP is not the only option. I’ve known people who taught at Kaplan or American Military University or other places. I have no idea how they got these jobs. I have no idea what they pay. There might be tenure track online jobs. There might be incredibly high paying jobs. If anyone knows more than me, or has tips, feel free to comment.

My guess is that if you just keep researching human resource departments of schools, or keep refreshing as jobs will crop up. From there, well, it’s a job.

1 comment:

Lisa Chaves said...

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