As the year comes to a close and contracts wind down, the break can be a welcome reprieve from late night grading and long work weeks. It can also bring anxiety to online professors who may not have their January contracts yet, and may wonder if they will get one. This is one of many reasons I advocate staying in touch with your bosses/deans/supervisors throughout the year. One way to do this is to send a holiday greeting by email or a snail mail greeting card, and to offer to do additional work for your boss to get ready for the New Year.
Taking on additional work while you are “off for the holidays” may seem counterintuitive (and you may genuinely prefer a break), but sometimes working a couple of extra hours can help secure your contract for the coming year. To get a sense of the projects deans and managers at online universities need extra hands for around this time of year, I asked deans and supervisors. Here are some of the responses:
Course syllabi review – End-of-year course reviews that need to be conducted with syllabus updates as warranted. Pay ranged from $0 (with the possibility of becoming lead faculty for that course) to $100 per syllabus.
Textbook update – Faculty work through the syllabus, lectures and assignments and align them with the updated version of the text. Pay ranged from $200 to $1000.
Course alignment review – Reviewing courses to ensure alignment with program outcomes, including possibly filling out documents showing what was reviewed and what is and is not in alignment. Pay ranged from $50 to $200.
Update course content – Many courses (such as math and English) may not have many changes in course content, but some do – and often. Courses in technology for example require frequent changes in examples, case studies and emerging technology. Faculty can update course content to have relevant current examples. Pay ranged from $100 to $500.
New course development – This is the time many schools have determined what new programs they will launch in the coming year. Often the dean will have the blueprint but not the developers, and may be waiting until January to assign them. Pay ranges from $500 to $5000 (or more), depending on requirements.
If you find yourself with a little extra time, you may want to send an email to your boss indicating you have time in your calendar, and are available to take on any number of responsibilities from the list above (or others), and asking him or her to consider you for opportunities over the holidays when staff may be reluctant to take on additional work. This is not only a great gesture of your commitment, but will help you stay on the schools radar as the coming year approaches, courses are assigned and contracts are renewed.
What else do you get paid to do at schools? How do you help your department this time of year? Please share with us at www.facebook.com/groups/onlineprofessors!
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Contact the author Dr. Dani Babb