Professional Development for Online Teachers

Professional Development for Online Teachers
Many online teachers must complete professional development courses to teach undergraduate or graduate programs.

Teaching in an online environment is similar to teaching in an on-campus setting. You must 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. You can accomplish these requirements via a virtual environment designed for online instructors.

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

  • Curriculum Development: As an online instructor and subject matter expert, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with other faculty members who are developing curricula for new courses. Try to take advantage of these opportunities and consider them a learning experience to add to your curriculum vitae as well as satisfying a professional growth activity.

  • Online Self-Guided Courses: These courses are usually available at the university where you teach and may require a registration fee. Check with your university to see if faculty discounts or reimbursements are available.

  • Continuing Education: If you have obtained your master's degree and are pursuing your Ph.D., you can use one of the Ph.D. courses to comply with one of the professional development goals as long as the Ph.D. discipline parallels the area you instruct.

  • Area of Employment: If your career is in the field you teach, consider that professional development activity.

  • Membership in a Professional Organization: There are many professional associations available for a variety of disciplines. If your area of discipline is Information Technology, then joining an association of information technology professionals is an excellent way to receive newsletters on the latest trends and the latest journal publications.

  • Conferences and Symposiums: Attending a conference is a great way to network with others who are in the same field or who share similar interests. The investment you make to attend can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and possible opportunities.

  • Certifications: Certifications qualify as a professional development activity and provide the instructor with credibility. If you teach in the area of Cyber Security, acquiring a certification in Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) would greatly enhance your knowledge.

These are just some professional development activities you can plan on to fulfill your professional growth requirements when you begin teaching as an online instructor. Develop a plan of identifying four professional development opportunities per 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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This content was written by Patricia Pedraza-Nafziger. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dr. Patricia Pedraza-Nafziger for details.