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10 Tips from Dr. Dani Babb to Get Your First Online Teaching Job

December 21, 2012

One of my goals as an adjunct instructor — and reasons for this blog — is to share the pedagogical and professional knowledge I’ve gained through my experiences.

To that end, I have blogged about celebrating my fifth year as an adjunct instructor and how I began my career in academia — along with insights into using social media to find a job.

As we approach the start of a new year — and now that it’s clear the Mayans were, in fact, wrong about the end of the world — many of you might be curious about starting a new career as an adjunct instructor.

This blog post is designed to help you understand your options and leverage resources so you can do just that. To help you achieve your goal of becoming an adjunct instructor, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Dani Babb.

An author, professor, and TV commentator, Dani is the Founder and CEO of The Babb Group, a provider of  resources and consulting for online professors, business owners and real estate investors.

Her website, TheBabbGroup.com offers an array of  resources for online students and online teacherscurriculum vitae templates, professional CV writing services, an online teaching newsletter, and more.

One very helpful resource is a service that distributes monthly online teaching job leads via email. For $7 a month or $75 for a year (paid via PayPal) subscribers receive leads several times per week.

Each lead includes the name of the school, the area of specialization, and the link or contact info to apply. All leads are verified by the Babb Group and you can cancel at anytime.

According to information provided to me by Dani, the emails are a successful job search strategy:

  • Within Six Months:
    • 88% of subscribers with a doctorate degree find a job.
    • 55% of subscribers with a master’s degree find a job.
  • Within One Year:
    • 94% of subscribers with a doctorate degree find a job.
    • 77% of subscribers with a master’s degree find a job.

Additionally, in the video below, Dani shares the most frequently asked questions about getting your first online teaching job:

In summary, her advice (along with some of my additional insights) is to:

  1. Network with Online Teachers (0:21): The Babb Group manages two resources, a Facebook Group and a Yahoo Group, which are tools you can use to develop relationships with more than 6,500 online teachers. Another resource is the Chronicle of Higher Education Forums.
  2. Prepare Your Curriculum Vita (0:45): Unlike a typical professional resume an academic curriculum vita — commonly called a CV —  is a comprehensive accounting of your entire career. A CV should include your work history, education, special training, honors, publications, presentations, community service, and other related information. Write as many pages as is needed to communicate your experience, abilities, and interests.
  3. Strengthen Your Letter of Introduction (1:19): Summarize your strengths in a way that is relevant to the opportunity, highlighting areas of your expertise that position you as the perfect candidate. Be sure to include your letter in the body of your email (don’t attach it).
  4. Research the School and Position (1:31)If you are working from a canned introductory letter, research specific points about the school and include those. Know about the position along with the school, its students, and its educational approach.
  5. Think of Related Experience (1:42): If you have never before taught online think about ways you have experience educating adults. Have you helped others understand a new technology where you work? Have you guest lectured? Have you been an online student? Don’t overlook any angle you can use to illustrate relevant experience.
  6. List the Learning Management Systems You’ve Used (2:11): Include clearly in your CV a list of all learning management systems (LMS) you have used — as a student and instructor.
  7. Disregard Doctoral Degree Requirements (2:26): Even if a position requires a doctorate and you have a master’s degree apply anyway; you might satisfy the position’s requirements in other ways or there may be another position open at the university for which you are qualified.
  8. Be Persistent (2:36): Getting a job teaching online is a numbers game. The market is highly competitive, and there are more online adjuncts today than ever before. Persistence pays off, however: sometimes it can take more than 100 applications to get your first online teaching job.
  9. Use a Job Lead Service (3:00): If you don’t have the time to hunt for jobs, consider using the Babb Group’s service that distributes monthly online teaching job leads via email (described above).
  10. Have Transcripts and Recommendations Ready (3:10): Have transcripts and letters of recommendations ready when  human resources or a dean calls; demonstrate your responsiveness and responsibility with actions!

In conclusion, as Dani explains in her video, even if you’ve never taught online, there’s no time like the present to start. We’ve all had no experience at one point, so why not start your online teaching experience now?

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