Online Teaching As a Career: Advice From a Modern Educator

There is a gold rush going on now in the field of online learning and it is the pursuit of teaching online. There are new master’s degree programs that are focused on teaching with technology, along with degree programs related to instructional design. There are authors that tout the seemingly endless opportunities available for teaching online courses, and one set of authors that want you to believe you can earn a six figure income as an adjunct online instructor.

There was a time not too long ago when online learning was gaining popularity, that there were plenty of opportunities available to teach online. But that time has changed, especially due to the increased number of schools that offer online classes. Potential students have a wealth of schools to choose from now when they want to earn a degree online. In addition, there has been a decline in enrollment for some of the for-profit schools because of intense scrutiny by regulators and the student loan crisis. What is needed now more than ever is a realistic overview of online teaching, from someone who is been highly involved in the field as a Modern Educator.

A Perspective about Students

I have been involved in the field of online learning now as a Modern Educator for over nine years. I have taught online courses for traditional colleges as well as for-profit universities. My perspective is not limited to just one school and I have also worked with online faculty development and online curriculum development. There are a few generalities I can make based upon this experience and the first is about the online student base. With the for-profits there generally is not an entrance exam or evaluation made of the skill sets that potential students may have (or not have) and that means the doors are wide open. With for-profits they have to compete for new enrollments and as a result they will accept those who are not well-suited for this environment and those who are grossly academically underprepared. To get students enrolled the value of a degree as to be sold and it is often over-sold with highly creative ads. And the real indicator of the underlying problem for online learning is the retention rate, which is 30% on an average for undergraduate students.

A Perspective about Faculty

Several years ago, when there were numerous adjunct opportunities, a master’s degree was accepted as a minimum qualification for teaching undergraduate students. Now there is a large pool of adjunct instructors, a significant number of people who want to teach online, and many who are seeking a degree so they could teach online – with fewer job opportunities available. Now it is not uncommon to see a job listing with a doctorate degree stated as the preferred minimum credential, even for undergraduate courses. In addition, when a job opening is listed there will likely be hundreds of resumes sent.

Once you are lucky enough to get on board as an adjunct there are never any guarantees made about your continued employment. You could be a long-term employee and without notice find yourself let go as departmental priorities change. There’ve been some full-time positions teaching online, but those jobs are even fewer and very difficult to obtain. Preference may be given to internal employees and current adjuncts may have to compete with external candidates. And then there is the issue of salary. Some full-time positions may require advanced degrees and pay a marginally acceptable rate. Some for-profits also prefer to hire instructors with minimal experience, simply to keep the cost of salaries down.

Managing Your Expectations

It may seem that I have painted a very bleak picture of the industry I am in – and that is not my point. What I want to do is to help manage the expectations about teaching online. If you are student now and have little to no teaching experience, and believe you will gain a full-time job earning a six figure income right out of school, you have very unrealistic expectations. If you want to teach online because it sounds easy or likely fun, you believe it will provide steady income, or you teach well now in a traditional classroom setting, you will still need to manage and possibly adjust your expectations.

Online teaching requires a significant investment of time if you want to be good at it, and it requires a specialized skill set to teach in a technologically enable environment. If you want to teach online because you are interested in helping others learn, and you are willing to learn and adapt, you will be more successful if you accept to working without future guarantees. The key to successfully teaching online is to make a commitment to your ongoing professional development and building a resume that demonstrates your interest in and capacity for online teaching.

Strategies to Build a Career

– Continue Your Professional Development: Earning a graduate degree is an important step taken for your career. However, as an educator you know the value of ongoing development and the need to keep your knowledge base current. Your commitment to the field of education means that you need to continually update your skills and strategies. While some schools have mandatory professional development requirements, you can make it a regular practice. For example, many online associations offer webinars at little or no cost. The point is to stay current in the field of online learning.

– Develop an Engaging Online Presence: If you are an online educator you can transform into a Modern Educator. This means you teach online and you can engage with a much broader academic community online. There are several options available for establishing an online presence. LinkedIn allows you to join professional groups. Twitter is a helpful networking resource that allows you to connect with the global academic group and share resources. Whatever options you choose, be certain to carefully manage your image and be aware of the digital footprint left behind with everything you post.

– Become Published with Articles, a Blog, or E-Books: The traditional route for a college professor is to conduct research and publish articles in scholarly journals. As a Modern Educator my primary focus is publishing work that can immediately reach other educators and students – and I have done this through a blog, online articles, and e-books. I recommend you take the same approach and find a platform to share your knowledge and expertise, whether you offer it for free or you monetize it.

– Develop a Professional CV with Impact: If you are going to apply for online teaching jobs then you should know there will be strong competition. This means your CV will not only represent you, it needs to provide a clear indication that you are highly qualified. Make certain that it is well-edited, well-formatted, well-written, and demonstrates your commitment to the field of online learning through associations, professional development, and sources of your work as a published author.

– Acquire Teaching or Training Experience: There was a time when a master’s degree and a little experience was all someone needed to secure an online teaching job. Now that the number of jobs available is in short supply, and the number of applicants as increased, every aspect of your background will count. You will need some experience either in teaching or training so look for opportunities to do this. For example, look for opportunities to teach a class at your local community college. Or perhaps there is a local association that would allow you to conduct training classes. The purpose is to demonstrate that you are capable of teaching adults how to learn.

Demand for Modern Educators

I have worked for a variety of institutions that offer online classes. Some treat their employees well and offer regular classes to teach and others treat their adjuncts as disposable instructors and keep them sidelined until they need them. It is understandable that enrollment numbers are going to fluctuate and so too will be your teaching assignments. However, the lack of consistency and appreciation for good instructors is an ongoing problem for some institutions. I have been fortunate to work for online schools that value their faculty, including their adjunct instructors. And I worked hard to establish myself as a highly engaged instructor. The point of this is that when you are able to gain an adjunct position you want to make certain that you have the time necessary to meet and exceed the facilitation requirements. If you are provided with an opportunity to take on leadership roles or faculty development, do so as it can help bolster your CV.

Is online teaching a lucrative career? As an adjunct it is possible that over time you will develop more options for your career, especially with ongoing professional development, but you won’t always have complete job security or regular benefits. If you are able to secure a full-time teaching position you will likely gain a better degree of job certainty. The best advice I can offer is to develop your interest in online teaching as a career strategy and carefully manage the development of your role as a Modern Educator. With time and professional development you will likely be able to get your break. Just be sure you manage expectations and establish a realistic purpose for this type of work as a career choice.

Education in Theory and Perspective

What is the meaning of education?

Webster defines education as the process of educating or teaching. Educate is further defined as “to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of…” Thus, from these definitions, we might assume that the purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of students.

It is also defined in Oxford that education is the knowledge, abilities, and the development of character and mental powers that are resulted from intellectual, moral, and physical trainings. So, it can be said that someone who already got education will have additional knowledge, abilities and change in character and mental power.

While in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, it is stated that:
Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization). Education means ‘to draw out’, facilitating realization of self-potential and latent talents of an individual. It is an application of pedagogy, a body of theoretical and applied research relating to teaching and learning and draws on many disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, computer science, linguistics, neuro-science, sociology and anthropology.

From the quotation above, it is assumed that education does not merely transfer knowledge or skill, but more specifically it trains people to have positive judgment and well-developed wisdom, better characters and mental powers. Through education, someone will be able to search through their natural talent and self-potential, empower them and finally will result in gaining their self-esteem and better life.

The history of education according to Dieter Lenzen, president of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin 1994 “began either millions of years ago or at the end of 1770”. Education as a science cannot be separated from the educational traditions that existed before. Education was the natural response of early civilizations to the struggle of surviving and thriving as a culture. Adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on.

The education of an individual human begins since he was born and continues throughout his life. Even, some people believe that education begins even before birth, as evidenced by some parents’ playing music or reading to the baby in the womb to hope it will influence the child’s development. For some, the struggles and triumphs of daily life provide far more instruction than does formal. Family members may have a profound educational effect – often more profound than they realize – though family teaching may function very informally.

Education: the purpose, function and in practice

Theorists have made a distinction between the purpose of education and the functions of education. A purpose is the fundamental goal of the process-an end to be achieved, while Functions are other outcomes that may occur as a natural result of the process- byproducts or consequences of schooling. To elaborate these terms, it can be seen in reality that some teachers believe that the transfer of knowledge from teacher to students is the main purpose of education, while the transfer of knowledge from school to the real world or the application of what has been transferred is something that happens naturally as a consequence of possessing that knowledge; it is called a function of education.

Here are some quotations taking from The Meaning of Education:
“The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort” ~Ayn Rand

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think-rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.” ~Bill Beattie

From the above information it can be said that the purpose of education is to prepare the students to be able to face their life by facilitating them to develop their mind and equip them with “hard skill” and “soft skill” to deal with reality. As the result of this education, they themselves will be able to think, to understand, to integrate and to prove their ability.

Talking about the purpose of education, there are some overviews about it. There are different outlooks between autocratic and democratic regarding education. It is quite clear that each type of world outlook demands its consistent type of education. The autocratic wants the education in the purpose of making docile followers. So, that is why they prefer a type of education whose purpose is to build docility and obedience. In the other hand, Democracy is different from them. Democracy wishes all people to be able and willing to judge wisely for themselves. The democratic will seek a type of education whose purpose is to build responsible, thinking, public-spirited citizenship in all people.

This is also different for the authoritarian society. For them, it is just enough for the leaders to know what they want without thinking about what their people want. It is quite in contrary to what a democratic society wants. For the democracy society, the leaders and the most important – the large majority of the people must see clearly the aims/purpose of the type of education they have. In other words, in a democracy it is essential that the leaders and people have clear philosophy of life and a clear philosophy of education.

What Radiology Continuing Education Means For You

Continuing education is an important part of any career in the medical field. By its very nature, the business of diagnosing, treating and preventing illnesses and injuries is a rapidly changing field. Because significant developments take place literally every day, medical professionals accept that ongoing training and education is a necessity for anyone working within the health care arena.

For radiology technologists, continuing education is necessary to ensure that job skills and knowledge are consistent with the latest findings and developments within the field and to ensure compliance with current industry best practices. Advancements in medical imaging are ongoing; and new diagnostic equipment is constantly being developed. Without ongoing training, a radiology technologist’s skills would quickly become obsolete.

Continuing your education also demonstrates a commitment on the part of the radiology technologist to providing the best possible care to patients and the most effective services to the medical community. This education is emphasized and required by two of the nation’s largest accrediting bodies and is a key component in upholding their jointly endorsed Code of Ethics. In fact, some states require technologists to complete a mandatory number of radiology continuing education courses each year in order to maintain their licenses.

So what can radiology continuing education do for you? Quite simply and most importantly, continuing your education in radiology will ensure that you are equipped to do your job. Without up-to-date skills and training in how to use the latest medical imaging equipment, you would quickly become a liability to your employer. Were you to lose your job, your outdated skills could render you non-hireable within your own field of expertise.

Radiology continuing education may also help to better position you for advancement within your current company. If you are unhappy in your current role, continued education may help you to find a better job elsewhere. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in the field of radiology is expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate in the coming years, and continued education or advanced training may help you to increase your earning power and secure a position at the upper end of the pay scale.

There is a wide variety of options available for radiology continuing education, including hospital training and college degree programs. If you prefer a self-paced program, online or university correspondence courses may be the best options for you. Online programs are generally less expensive than other options and in most cases may still be counted toward state continuing education requirements for radiology technologists. Should you wish to pursue further training in order to advance your career, a continuing education loan may be available to help you manage the costs associated with your courses.