Chances are if you are reading this you have been hired by a college or university as an online instructor or will be hired once you successfully complete faculty training. Congrats! The hours you spent filling out applications has paid off and you are now becoming part of the school’s faculty. In my eyes this is a big accomplishment because competition is fierce to land an online teaching job.
Now that you have passed the interview stage you are required to participate in online training to become familiar with the school’s Learning Management Software (i.e. Blackboard, Moodle, etc.). Depending on the school the training time and requirements can vary. For example, I participated in four weeks of intensive training for one school while I participated in self-paced training for another, which only took about four days. During training you learn how to setup your classroom, respond to posts, grade assignments as well as other valuable tools. It may seem overwhelming if you haven’t taught before but follow these tips and I promise you will succeed and survive online training.
Training for your new online teaching position can be time consuming. Make sure you set aside time to get the work done. Online faculty training is like being an online student. Make sure you have a quiet environment where you can concentrate and “do your homework.” If you don’t already have a designated workspace now is the time to create one. I converted a spare bedroom into my home office. It’s my own spot where I have all my tools and can easily close the door for peace and quiet to get my work done. Let your family know you have to devote time to complete training. Their support and encouragement will be a helpful asset.
Make a friend! It helps working with someone who is on the same journey as you are. You can lend each other moral support and bounce ideas off of each other. I found this very beneficial when I trained for one of the school’s I work for. My peers and I would email back and forth if we needed help with an assignment or simply vent our frustrations when we were worn out with the workload. It’s also a great networking opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are confused or uncertain about an assignment or task. Your instructor will be more than happy to help you.
I’m a big fan of having a yellow legal pad next to my computer to jot down information as I read through materials.
Throughout my training experience I have read many posts that say “please save this for your records” or “keep this document handy.” Not only do I save these documents to a folder on my desktop with the school’s name I find it beneficial to print these documents, such as a quick start guide to setting up your course room. I organize my documents into a binder and always keep it handy. For me, I find it easier to read certain documents on paper rather than on the computer. Plus, it allows me to make quick notes.
There will be a lot of information for you to read during the training process. Take your time and read everything. For those of you who have taught before, you may be familiar with the Learning Management Software the school uses. With this in mind, I encourage you to read everything in the course room because you may learn something new. Plus, it never hurts to refresh your memory!
In my recent training experience, the school posted a variety of videos about how to use Blackboard, such as creating a rubric and posting an announcement. I sat at my desk for over and hour watching all the posted videos. Even though I was familiar with Blackboard I learned new things as well as quicker ways of navigating through the course room. Videos are a great step-by-step tool to learn how to manage each section of the course room because it’s a virtual tutorial.
You did it! You’ve made it through the application process, interview, and online training. You are ready to teach your first course as an online professor. You should be proud of this accomplishment and celebrate this victory.
Don’t forget to add the training to your CV under your Educational Training section to show your dedication and commitment to training. Good luck and happy teaching!
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About the Author
Dorothy A. Miraglia, PhD earned her B.S. in music and sociology from Adelphi University (2004). She attended Hofstra University (2006) earning her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and earned a M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Phoenix (2011). Dr. Miraglia graduated with distinction from Capella University (2014) earning her PhD in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior.
Her dissertation is titled, The experiences of adult women ages 30-44 who log on to Facebook daily using their smartphone: A generic qualitative study. After graduation, Dr. Miraglia co-edited a book with dissertation mentor, Dr. Stephanie L. Brooke, titled, The Use of the Creative Therapies to Cope with Grief and Loss.
Currently, Dr. Miraglia is lead editor on her second book with Dr. Brooke titled, Breaking the chains of Violence and Bullying Through the Creative Arts Therapies.
Dr. Miraglia has over five years of online teaching experience and currently teaches humanities and psychology courses.