Teaching distance learning

  1. I'm interested to hear from anyone who teaches exclusively online, especially if you have transitioned from brick and mortar academia. Pros, cons, major differences? What is the schedule like (are you spending more or less time preparing and 'teaching')? How does the pay compare? What is the student interaction like? This is not for research purposes, I am thinking of branching into this world.
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    About ProfRN4, MSN Pro

    Joined: Apr '03; Posts: 2,280; Likes: 1,397
    Staff Educator; from US
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    16 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    I am a full-time online faculty member. I do not have brick-and-mortar experience.

    I work for WGU so my experience is quite different as we have a disaggregated faculty model. I am a Course Mentor and spend 30+ hours/ week working 1:1 with students. I do not design curricula, I do not grade student work. I deliver content - it is all I do.

    Best.
    Job.
    EVER!
  4. by   ProfRN4
    Thank you for your reply. Looking at the website now, at the variety of positions that exist. Interesting; very different. Would you say the pay is comparable to an academic setting (or more or less)?
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    No clue. But I work from home and have a 15 step commute (up the stairs to my office). Benefits are great.
  6. by   llg
    I work part time as a "Mentor" for online classes at a different school (not WGU). I find it very unsatisfying as I didn't design the courses or plan the learning activities. I simply monitor them and remain available for students who have questions.

    However, students rarely have questions of a nature that require any actual teaching. Their questions tend to be things like explanations as to why they got a question wrong on a quiz ("If you look at page 123 in your textbook, it states very clearly that ....") or why they submitted their homework assignment late.

    I send the group occasional e-mails that give them a tip or remind them of something coming up to focus on -- always ending with a reminder to write or call me if they have any questions or concerns. But as I said, they rarely do. So I don't feel as connected to them as I used to feel when I taught face-to-face.

    I also grade their assignments -- which can be tedious -- but it is often the only chance to actually interact with most of them. My written feedback and a score is the extent of our "teacher-student relationship." As I said, I find it unsatisfying emotionally, but it brings in a little extra money and keeps a career path available to me in case my full-time day job elsewhere ever goes away.
  7. by   ProfRN4
    Thanks llg! I sent you a PM

    It seems that the structure/organization of faculty responsibilities is quite different in the online world!
  8. by   random_nurse12
    I have found it very difficult to find an online position. I would be happy with adjunct/part-time. There are so many people that want to teach online. WGU would be the number one place for a position that is entirely online. My understanding is that for me, it would be a significant pay cut that I don't know I could handle. I do wish they hired PT as I think it would be a great supplemental income. I have considered interviewing for FT just to find out for myself what the pay really is.

    I have said before, I work at a community college and I get applications all the time from professors that want to teach online, and we don't have an online program.

    At one time I was a "success coach" online, which is not quite an instructor, but I did all of the grading, none of the course design. It paid--wait for it--$400 for one course. On a 1099, so it is heavily taxed at the end of the year. It was a lot of work, and when I calculated it, I was making less than minimum wage for the time I put in.

    I would be very interested to hear from anyone successfully teaching 100% online for someone other than WGU. How did you get started? Do you have a PhD?
  9. by   nurse2033
    I have taught both online and in person and currently am teaching an online class. The class I'm teaching I built from ground up so I've have full involvement in it from the begging. If you add the prep time for the first class, the pay is quite low. But every time you teach it, you reap the benefit of having built it. The convenience is unbelievable; your own hours, and from your house. The most time consuming part is grading assignments. You do miss the "aha" moments of a live class and not much interaction with students but it makes sense for the money versus time spent.
  10. by   JBudd
    I've only been doing it for 3 weeks, but my experience so far is exactly what LLG describes. I miss the face to face but this is definately easier choosing my own time to work on it.

    I'm getting the same pay rate for course hours as on the ground.
  11. by   marigoldey
    Of the folks that already posted who are teaching online, do you have a doctorate? I am considering an MSN in Education as a terminal degree with a goal of online teaching. Despite all of the online nursing programs, I think it will be difficult to find an online teaching position.
  12. by   llg
    Yes, I have a doctorate -- but not everyone at my school does. Whether or not you will need one depends on your age as well as your level of aspiration. To be a "high mucky-muck" in academia, you'll need a doctorate. But if you will be content with the lower salary level of an instructor, you may not need one for several years. So, if you are older, you may never need one.

    But if I were a young person considering a career in academia, I would definitely consider the possibility that I would need a doctorate at some point if I wanted to have attractive career options.
  13. by   satisfiedwithURcare?
    Quote from llg
    Yes, I have a doctorate -- but not everyone at my school does. Whether or not you will need one depends on your age as well as your level of aspiration. To be a "high mucky-muck" in academia, you'll need a doctorate. But if you will be content with the lower salary level of an instructor, you may not need one for several years. So, if you are older, you may never need one.

    But if I were a young person considering a career in academia, I would definitely consider the possibility that I would need a doctorate at some point if I wanted to have attractive career options.
    I am 32 and will graduate with MSN in nursing education next summer. I'd like to thank OP for posting this question as I've had my eye on online nursing instruction as a possible career choice, and to llg for giving this career advice since I am looking towards my "next step."

    To those who work in online education, what experience are you looking for in applicants to instructor (or mentor or adjunct? so many distinctions!) positions in addition to a MSN in education? I feel like I will complete my program and not have a lot of teaching experience outside of the bedside to recommend me- makes me anxious!
  14. by   llg
    The folks hired by the school I adjunct for all have expertise in the subjects they teach (not just a year of two of staff nursing) and experience in teaching face-to-face -- either as a nursing instructor or as a staff development instructor.

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