Degree Programs Online

Degree Programs Online

Degree programs online have grown in number over the course of the last five years. They are a winning situation for prospective college students wishing to pursue a college degree while working full time. They are also a positive combination for colleges and universities wishing to maximize their expenditures for physical classrooms. It is an acknowledged fact that they represent the future of higher education because they increase the opportunities for more and more knowledge disbursement, By way of degree programs online, the more knowledge people will know, and the better suited people will be to grapple with the difficulties faced each and every day.

While traditional educational paths offered many opportunities for physical contact, they required the student to remain in one physical location for most of the year in order to attend classes each day. The program with this method of knowledge transference also has a heavy maintenance schedule that cost a whacking amount of money. Imagine the budget dent that air conditioning, paint, floor wax and the like makes each and every day. Further, the issue of mobility must b considered by both schools and students. The current economic meltdown almost ensures that people will have to have the freedom to move about the world. In the final analysis, degree programs online offer mobility to both students and the school.

Degree Programs Online Offer Mobility

Today, students and academic organizations need the freedom to move around. For example, employment opportunities for students may disappear suddenly and completely. In a similar vein, expenses for colleges and universities may go considerably higher because they receive less and less public funding, which is the result of people moving out of the community and not paying local or state taxes. As a result, it is important from an economic as well as an academic standpoint to be able to field and obtain knowledge on the move.

Mobility is key to survival in the current economic landscape, and do not make a mistake about it: education is economic value. After all, the primary reason anyone goes through the massive effort to secure a college degree is to increase his or her economic viability. There is, of course, the odd fellow or two who seeks knowledge for itself, and it is almost assured that the odd fellow will become an online teacher for any one of the hundred degree programs online.

Distance Learning

Distance Learning

Distance learning means knowledge delivered from a remote location to a remote location. Usually, but not always, this means using the Internet to deliver education. What was once the stuff of fancy is now a booming industry employing a growing number of college teachers who would otherwise find themselves on the dole. The next administration may want to increase the scope of distance learning to accommodate the coming spike in higher education student populations.

The question arises as to why college populations will spike in the near term. It is simply that unemployment will spike, and historically, unemployed citizens, especially the younger one, flock to digital college campuses during downturns in the economy. There seems to be little doubt that this new electronic academic medium will be the oxcart by which this crowed of eager aspirants will carried into the electronic education age. Simply put, the laptop as college campus is simply too cost efficient for any academic governing board to ignore. One is tempted to suggest that every new college student will be issued a spanking new laptop along with a login ID and a password.

Distance Learning as a Catch Basin

The next administration has identified two million Americans who could go to college, but for their inability to consummate the financial request paperwork. Apparently, the five-page, 127 questions form is too high a bar for these aspiring college degree seekers. There is little or no reason to quibble with this estimation because certainly the number of out of work citizens will zoom in the coming months and years, and what better place for them to spend their time than in an institution of higher learning. Surely, the state and the nation will much calmer if these hapless individuals are busy with distance learning.

Granted, the idea that colleges and universities are not catch basins for the nation's unemployed might gain some traction with gray beards and academic malcontents, but they and their ilk can be safely ignored as they will soon be put out to pasture. No, the future is coming, and with it comes educational opportunities for all by way of monetary help determined by last year's income tax form. If a prospective college student cannot navigate a five page questionnaire, the officiating bureaucrat can easily determine need by checking with the federal offices that record our annual income. In this way, the bureaucrat won't be bothered trying to read semi-literate scrawls.

Distance Learning is the Growth Area

It may be obvious to all and sundry, but in addition to the hordes of new college students on the way, there are tens of thousands of highly qualified college instructors in need of extra income. This is a marriage made in academic heaven. Public, private and for-profit institutions of higher learning will find this happy combination an economic godsend, and the general public, meaning prospective students, will be simply delighted at the sheer amount of activity distance learning will bring them in their pursuit of knowledge.

Online Faculty Position

Online Faculty Position

The availability of an online faculty position is dependent on the number of students enrolled at a particular school. This reasoning seems simple enough, but given the current economic circumstances, which can turn a person’s hair white on certain days, it is a bit of reasoning that bears closer examination. There are questions that are specific to the creation and sustainability of an online faculty position.

Is the Online Faculty Position Readily Accessible?

At first blush, the answer to this question seems self-evident. Of course there are many college teachers already in possession of an online faculty position. However, many if not most of those positions do not come with any sort of reasonable benefits. This creates an economic problem for the Instructor who has to consider the bigger question of whether there will be more work in the future.

It is all well and good to say that there is a relatively large number of teachers already in an online faculty position, but it more difficult to determine if the new administration will invest extra funds in the creation of more educational opportunities, which will, ultimately increase the sheer number of positions. It is possible that a college teacher will be able to survive in the face of the developing economic thunderstorm if he or she can actually find more work.

The current thinking is that the number of students will noticeably spike before the end of this year, and that next year, 2009, there will be a tidal wave of students attending college as unemployment mounts higher and higher across the land.

Have a Plan for Prosperity

Now is the time to decide just how to take advantage of the potential increase in college student populations. It may well be that the dollar amount paid for an online faculty position will not rise. However, this lack of increase in the pay per class might be off set by an increase in the number of classes.

Does this mean the college instructor will work more for the same money? Yes, it does in many instances. Still, it is preferable to work all the time as opposed to going without material advantages such as heat and food. It is entirely possible that the best a college teacher can hope for is more work. If expectations of material comfort are lowered, and expectations of working twelve hours a day grading essays are increased, college teachers, especially those that teach the liberal arts courses, can prosper accordingly during the coming lean years.

Online Classes

Online Classes

I am after my online classes this morning. I snapped awake at dawn and started grading essays, 40 of them, as soon as I could open my eyes after swallowing a quart of hot coffee. As usual, my stomach started gurgling like an old fashioned percolator, but I didn’t really have the attention to spare because one of the discussion group members at a Yahoo forum I subscribe to for online classes asked the following question (and I am paraphrasing for those nitpickers in the audience):

“How will students pay for online classes?’

That is a damn good question. See, students do not get a discount for attending college online classes. They pay the full freight, and the full freight is very high these days. I have read that tuition for institutes of higher education goes up at double or more the annual inflation rate. That’s some hike every year!

Online Classes: The Wherewithal?

Do you notice I’m asking a lot of questions in this post? In fact, I just asked a question to ask a question. No one seems to have any answers about the economy these days. I use to think I was the most clueless person on the planet in terms of how money works, and I took some comfort in the idea that there must be a herd of very smart people driving the American economy because if it were up to me, we would be in the mess we are in right now.

Well, much to my surprise, it turns out that there isn’t a herd, even a small herd, of people much smarter than myself running things. Nope. It looks like people like me are running things, and people like me, a witless, educated writer trying to make a very small living by teaching online classes and not doing a very good job of it at that since I’m dead broke and soon, apparently will be even deader broke, if I can write it that way, because if there really isn’t any money in the banks, then there won’t be any money to loan students who want an education.

Online Classes: Is This How They End?

It could be that no matter how many promises the federal government makes about raising the cap on the amount of money a student can borrow in order to pay for an education, there might not be any money to loan out.

Goodness, I can promise to cover loans all day, but when it comes time to actually hand over the cash, it can’t happen because there isn’t any cash to hand over.

Further, if students can’t borrow the money to pay for tuition for distance education because there isn’t any cash to loan, then how many classes will simply disappear off my class schedule?

I haven’t held a long-handled shovel in years, and at my age, being one of those aging baby boomers without two nickels to rub together, I doubt I would actually be able to shovel dirt or concrete for any length of time without experiencing a heart attack, and I sure don’t want a heart attack because I don’t have any health insurance, primary or supplemental, because I’m just an adjunct instructor teaching online classes.

I have one online graduate class I’ve been teaching since July 2005. As of today, I am being paid the same money I was paid back in July 2005. How much less can I purchase in terms of good and services today than I could in July 2005?

Makes one think again about the problems of online classes.

Online Degree Programs Among Extra Income Ideas

There are many, many extra income ideas, such as online education, floating around today, and, yes they do generate extra online income. However, it remains for us to ask just who is really benefiting from the extra income from online teaching. Let’s face it: the economy is in very hot water, and the reason online degree programs, along with the necessary online adjunct faculty positions are growing like mushrooms on a wet lawn, and it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out, is that the main part of tuition and fees students have to pony up comes from borrowed money.

Even though I am separated from my students earning online college degrees by physical distance, I am still able to identify their position on the food chain. It has occurred to me that most of my students are from economic backgrounds that do not traditionally provide the cash required to attend online degree program. They have to borrow the money, lots of it, by the way, to attend their chosen online degree program This borrowed money makes a first rate extra online income for the schools.

Online Degree Programs Control Extra Online Income

Given that online degree programs are relatively new, and that most online degree programs are able to hire an almost unlimited number of teachers seeking to supplement their meager incomes, it crosses my mind that online degree programs could be a way to keep both under employed college instructors and unemployed young citizens off the streets.

If you are a college instructor managing, say, a dozen online adjunct faculty positions, you hardly have time to go to the bathroom, much less consider in any serious way that you are being grossly underpaid, or that you are inside, literally, an electronic sweatshop that requires you to continuously seek more and more extra income from online teaching. This is not to say that the education experience offered by online degree programs in general is worth less than an on ground degree program, or that the education offered by those in online adjunct faculty positions is less than high quality, but the economic reality is unavoidable once some perspective is gained by both parties.

The Sweatshop Economic Model

The vast majority of educators have little or no idea how the educational economy actually works against them. Because of this ignorance, teachers may be uncomfortable initially because they do not know how to sell and manage their skills effectively on the open market, and, therefore, they are unable to view students as customers and to gauge their reactions to feedback. Perhaps the best approach in the beginning is to understand that undergraduate education today is a retail operation. The instructor is simply a clerk hired to serve the public. A strong grasp of this reality will help them tailor their lectures or tweak their online classroom performance. Intellectual practice does helps, as does practical experience, and techniques such as envisioning the student audience as customers in a shoe store, replete with smelly feet and unreasonable demands may help with initial discomfort. It goes without saying that teachers could condition themselves for these eventualities in a regular classroom, but the online format encourages students to respond much more vigor and in greater depth than a time-constrained classroom discussion. The simple fact of the matter is that it pays in the long run for a teacher in an online degree program to be resigned to getting the hands a little dirty learning as they adjust to the grim realities of how difficult extra income from online teaching really is once the computer is glowing.

Online instructors set the emotional and intellectual tone for their classes. It does not pay to begin teaching by expecting too much in the form of financial reward. They must make plans to consistently integrate the sweatshop model into their learning activities. Teachers in distance learning settings need to design deliberate methods to find out how well students are learning to be passive receivers of electronic information whizzing by at an ever increasing rate. Online instructors actually demonstrate how to behave in a learning environment designed to enrich the online degree programs themselves, and they have a responsibility to do this without tipping their mitts, so to speak, and letting on that there is something fundamentally wrong with an educational system that pays an a person with a graduate degree in an online faculty position so little money.

Online Faculty Position

Extra income from online teaching can be earned on a regular basis, but in order to secure a classroom it is first necessary to qualify for an online faculty position. The only way to even be considered for one of these positions is to first earn at least eighteen graduate hours in a specific academic discipline. To be completely honest, it is best to have a Master’s degree in the discipline in which you apply to teach. Earning a graduate degree is costly in terms of both time and money. However, if you want to earn income from online teaching, it is imperative to earn the necessary academic badges before applying for any online faculty position.

Add to this the prospect that a driven academic can teach as many as a dozen classes online at a time, and it is easy to understand that an online faculty position is certainly a prize catch. Further, since there is no guarantee at all that another online class will be offered after one ends, despite successful completion of the class by the instructor, and the same driven academic is constantly trying to develop extra income ideas to shore up what could very well be a constantly disappearing extra online income.

The Online Faculty Position Is Actually Scarce

The reality is that there are a lot of qualified college teachers with loads of classroom experience trying to snag the elusive online faculty position. To put it country simple, given the great number of people with graduate degrees today, all but a few college teachers need extra income, and extra online income is quite attractive because if nothing else it does not require the purchase of gasoline.

The vast majority of college faculty teaching, say, English, composition or remedial writing and reading in 2008 are academic drifters, so to speak, picking up as many classes as possible at as many campuses as possible. The shear cost of maintaining and fueling a car or truck to take them to their various classrooms is enough to destroy the meager pay they receive for their efforts to teach difficult subjects. Therefore, the prospect of an online faculty position and the lure of extra income from online teaching are very attractive.

However financially attractive online adjunct faculty positions may seem at first, the brutal reality is that they do not provide access to health care or retirement.

The Online Faculty Position Does Not Provide Benefits

When teachers try to generate extra income ideas, and today most do so because they are forced by economic circumstances to at least try to generate extra online income, they often do not know that they will be perceived as throw away workers by the very schools that hire them for online adjunct faculty positions.

The run of the mill online faculty position does not provide access to group health insurance rates. While one can earn extra income for online teaching, one will not be offered any sort of retirement package. Indeed, it is a good idea for anyone seeking an online faculty position to read again The Grapes of Wrath.

These often painful truths are hard to endure, but they are the core realities of trying to earn extra income from online teaching.

Online Degree Programs

Online Degree Programs

Online degree programs can, if you have the academic credentials, pad your income in the form of thousands of dollars of cash each month, and could very well ease the financial pain of having to choose between food and fuel in these parlous economic times; I would be overjoyed to tell you it would be as easy as turning on your computer and logging in to an online classroom to start the money train.

Sadly, I simply don’t have an easy answer to the question of how to obtain extra income from online teaching. My experience is that there are no quick paths to being an online professor. It will often take a year or more to even receive a response to your application to a school that offers online courses. Further, you will be required in almost every case to spend four to six weeks of your time without pay training to teach for each school.

Even after you successfully complete the training, for which you will not be paid a dime, you will have no guarantee that you will be offered a class.

Teaching for Online Degree Programs is Difficult

It is not a matter of just asking for the work and hauling in the cash. It is hard work that requires you to put in many extra hours after you have already put in a full day at the office. In many cases, schools that offer online classes require you to answer student emails and telephone calls every day. Of course, there is also the matter of mind-numbing administrative tasks, such as filling out spreadsheets containing information about student attendance.

Overall, online teaching is hard work that will consume your free time and tie you to a chair in front of a computer.

Don’t make the mistake that many have made and assume that online adjunct faculty positions are easy to find, or that the life of an online adjunct instructor is about dancing and drinking. By and large, the schools that offer online courses view online adjunct instructors as disposable labor, and that attitude leads to indifference on the part of academic management, which leads to a rough road for those seeking extra income from online teaching

Online Degree Programs Produce Razor-Thin Incomes

I have taught online for over three years. During that time, I have discovered that online teaching is professionally fulfilling and personally enjoyable, and I have discovered that extra income from online teaching is actually pretty thin in terms of purchasing power. I look at money from the view point of purchasing power. I am always wary of inflation. My experience is that online schools do not award raises to their online adjunct instructors, while ever increasing the number of students in the classroom.

I do not want to discourage you from seeking ways to earn extra online income, but I also do not want to give you the impression that you will soon be drinking fancy cocktails poolside while the money flows into your bank account as a result of having an online faculty position.

Not to put too fine a point on my thesis, but being an online adjunct instructor in online degree programs is about working very hard to learn time management skills in order to bring in extra income from online teaching.