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Professional Development for Online Instructors

Have you considered becoming an online instructor? Reasons many educators choose to teach online include:

• Teaching is something they have always wanted to do

• They are stay-at-home parents who would like to work from home in addition to raising their children

• They have careers in a particular field in which they would like to teach

• They are retired and would like to continue working part-time to share the knowledge they have gained throughout their career.

• They are pursuing higher education and would like to gain experience in the field of teaching prior to becoming a professor

Whatever your reasons may be, once you become an online adjunct instructor there are certain requirements that will be expected of you, in addition to your teaching responsibilities.

Your obligations teaching in an online environment are similar to teaching in an on-campus environment. You are required to attend regularly scheduled faculty meetings, participate in “in-service training” activities, assist other faculty members who are learning the ropes, and complete a required number of professional development activities which will vary depending on the educational institution you support. In most cases, all of these requirements can be accomplished via a virtual environment designed for online instructors.

Professional development activities are necessary to ensure teachers continued growth in their area of instruction. For example, if an online instructor is teaching information technology, but have been retired for some time, how will the students benefit from the experience of the instructor? Technology changes rapidly; to ensure that instructors remain current with the latest changes and trends, they must be involved in learning activities on a quarterly basis or within a time frame mandated by the university.

Types of learning activities that are typically accepted by universities as professional development are as follows:

These are just some of the professional development activities you can plan on to fulfill your professional growth requirements when you begin teaching as an online adjunct instructor. Universities may request you select a different activity per calendar year. Formulate a goal of identifying four or five development opportunities each year, and continue with that goal each year to ensure you are current with changes in the industry in which you specialize and instruct.

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