Author Topic: Online adjunct professor as side job?  (Read 6404 times)

Cornmuffin

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Online adjunct professor as side job?
« on: July 16, 2014, 02:11:52 PM »
Hey everyone, I've been reading MMM for about a year now but this is my first time posting!  I was reading through the recent large side job thread: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/who-has-a-side-gigjob-that-brings-in-extra-cash-share-with-us!/ and noticed a few adjunct professors.  I have been thinking about picking up an adjunct position as a side job and was wondering if any of my fellow mustachians had any experience doing this for online universities.  I know the pay isn't great and I have mixed feelings about for-profit colleges, but an online university would allow me to do the work from home (or anywhere with an internet connection...).  I would actually prefer a 'stricter' place to start with where I have to follow a specific curriculum, since I am not currently comfortable creating my own (yet).  So, if anyone has experience, good or bad, with being an adjunct at any online university, I would love to hear it.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 02:41:38 PM »
Do you have a master's degree? What field is it in?

Cassie

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 02:46:35 PM »
Regular universities also hire adjuncts because many offer some online classes. The pay really varies from crappy to very good.  I teach one class online a semester & really love it.  If the class is already developed you teach it as is. If not you need to develop it.

CommonCents

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 02:50:06 PM »
I've taught adjunct in person 3 terms (for 2 different classes - Ethics & Business Law, with a class load of 2-3-3) and taught an online Health Law & the ACA Coursera class.

Pay is low.  Hours can be long, particularly if you have a lot of assignments or a field where you need to grade things often.  I found online that students were incredibly demanding at times (although some quite knowledgable and interested), which can be frustrating.  Like when I didn't respond to a question w/a few hours, when I notified them I wouldn't be available for 24 hrs because a bomb went off in my town (Boston marathon).

That all said, a bonus paycheck is nice, I like knowing I'm helping educate students, I find I learn along with them at times.

I'd do it again after considering: pay / number of students / amount of grading / course design required (it's fun, but also time consuming)

ETA: The in-person was while I was on unemployment.  Sadly, working many hours only netted me a small extra amount over what I would have gotten on unemployment, but at least I had something to do, gained some exp and resume line.  Was a lawyer, so teaching was a voluntary move out of my field I didn't have to do and ironically, forced me to attend a hearing for my benefits near the end when I left for a full-time job.  The online was last year, while working full time I applied for the Coursera gig through my old university that paid me for it.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 03:03:07 PM by CommonCents »

Cornmuffin

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 03:14:12 PM »
Do you have a master's degree? What field is it in?


Yes, Bioinformatics.  Not something often taught at the undergrad level, particularly at an online university.  However, with the Biology/Computer Science components of it plus my double major Bachelor's in Biochemistry/Computer Science (along with 5 years work experience and TA positions in both fields), I think I could teach in either field.

Regular universities also hire adjuncts because many offer some online classes. The pay really varies from crappy to very good.  I teach one class online a semester & really love it.  If the class is already developed you teach it as is. If not you need to develop it.

Do you teach entirely remotely, i.e. do you have any other affiliation with the university or have any sort of on campus presence?  I ask because I just assumed most regular universities would try to fill their online classes with existing faculty/postdocs.

CommonCents:  Thanks for the info, the time commitment is something I worry about.  I figure 1 class at a time shouldn't be too demanding, but I do work a normal 40 hour 9-5.  I have no children or other responsibilities so it hopefully wouldn't be too bad and worth the effort.

 

Cassie

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 03:34:17 PM »
I teach entirely remotely.  The students & I never meet.  As I said the pay really varies & I am lucky to be paid very well.  I looked into a few for profit but they do not pay enough to make it worth my while. 

Freedom2016

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 04:06:04 PM »
I have been an 'in-person' adjunct at 4 universities, never on-line, and I have experienced wide variation in pay as others have described. For me, grading is the single hardest aspect of teaching. Last fall I had 57 students across two classes and all assignments were essay/analysis papers. I wanted to kill myself at the end of the semester with all the end-term assignments. I have since negotiated to cut my student load in one class by 50% - for the same pay. :)

So keep in mind that online courses are usually designed to accommodate lots of students at once -- which will typically translate into a high grading workload. A colleague of mine who led an online course said it was awful or that reason, and she wouldn't do it again.

Cassie

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 04:26:08 PM »
Where I work they limit the class to 35 with a possible 4 overload if necessary to let people graduate.  I absolutely love answering the student's questions & helping them learn.  I do not mind the grading at all.  When you teach online you are expected to give every student feedback with every assignment.  Most of the students are very respectful although you always have a few that are demanding, a pain, etc.  I so love teaching this way.  Ask yourself if this is something you would enjoy or just doing it  for the $?

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 04:33:52 PM »
I'm an adjunct, but in-person, not online.  What I love about teaching is actually being there and feeling those moments when the class discussion is really good, the shy kids start participating, and people laugh and really learn something.  I don't think I'd get that online.  The work is really, really tough, either online or in person.  I am teaching again next spring, but have to take fall semester off just to keep myself together for the rest of the year.  It's incredibly hard.  In the NY metro area, colleges pay between $4K and $10K for a semester.  Since I'm doing this for much more than the $, I wouldn't do it if it were just online.  I'm learning a lot about how to speak publicly, how to speak with authority, etc., by teaching.

Cassie

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 05:09:19 PM »
When you teach online you have the class discussions on discussion boards. It is different then in person however, I feel that I get to know many of the students through online communications which are frequent.  I teach one class each regular semester and I don't find it difficult at all.  I find it inspiring, energizing, fulfilling. By the end of the summer I can't wait for the fall semester to begin.  The Fall will be my 4th semester teaching.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Online adjunct professor as side job?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 07:31:19 PM »
Do you have a master's degree? What field is it in?


Yes, Bioinformatics.  Not something often taught at the undergrad level, particularly at an online university.  However, with the Biology/Computer Science components of it plus my double major Bachelor's in Biochemistry/Computer Science (along with 5 years work experience and TA positions in both fields), I think I could teach in either field.

I asked because in previous positions I have hired adjuncts to work in an Engineering Technology program. People constantly thought they were qualified to teach because they had a bachelor's degree in Engineering and a random master's degree (business, management, etc), plus work experience. I can promise you that universities hands are tied no matter what your work experience and bachelor's degree are in. You need 18 graduate level hours in the subject you want to teach. Also, online positions at a university normally go to people already affiliated with the university, as you suspected. You could try to teach at night though and work your way into online. Good luck to you!