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Friday, October 8, 2010

Guest Post: Teaching At An Online College vs A Traditional College

Pros and Cons of Teaching at an Online College
It’s a form of education that is gaining in leaps and bounds, not just in terms of popularity, but also in terms of acceptability and respectability. No longer are online colleges the domain of people who cannot get into regular schools or who’re not qualified enough to secure admission to traditional colleges. Today, online degrees are sought after by most professionals and high school graduates as the best way to earn and learn simultaneously; and with even traditional and hallowed institutions like MIT offering online offerings, it’s only natural that this field is perceived as one that offers a host of opportunities.
So if you’re a professor, it’s not surprising if you’re considering venturing into the online world of education either full or part time. However, before you take such a step, it’s best to be aware of the pros and cons of this decision.
Among the advantages you stand to gain when teaching online are:
You learn more about the use of technology – with classes being taught entirely online, you must be tech savvy if you want to make it as an online professor.
You’re usually allowed to design your own lessons and modules because they need to include more than just text and be suited for the technology that delivers it. This helps you gain a better perspective of the subject and also broadens your experience.
You don’t have to worry about bad behavior, disrespect and unruliness from students because you’re insulated from them by technology. This makes online teaching an apt job for professors who know their stuff but are not authoritative enough to command respect in a traditional classroom.
But, on the downside:
Online classes are much more difficult to handle than regular ones – you have to do extensive research and be prepared to handle long discussions and deal with various questions from students who you interact with only through technology. This takes more time and effort, so if you’re not used to this kind of environment, you could find the going tough.
You will have to spend most of your time answering questions from students and helping them with any difficulties they may have – online learning is more of a student-centered activity than a teacher-centered one.
The remuneration you receive may not be as much as you would get at a regular institution.
Also, when you teach at a traditional college, you’re in line for tenure and your respectability gets a boost, something that is very unlikely to happen when you work at an online equivalent.
Some professors choose to do both – hold positions at regular colleges even as they take on part-time jobs at online schools. However, this works out well only if they’re adequately compensated and if they’re able to balance their time effectively.
This guest post is contributed by Carrie Oakley, who writes on the topic of online colleges . Carrie welcomes your comments at her email id: carrie.oakley1983(AT)gmail(DOT)com.


Ebie said...

I have a lot of on-line courses too. Even some masters degree courses. I think it is the trend nowadays.

Melissa said...

I think it is a trend that will only get bigger too. Not just for colleges but for public and private schools as well.

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