Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adjunctworld....Professional job search for adjuncts.

I don't subscribe to many services but recently a broke out the credit card and changed my account with Adjuctworld from their free basic to their paid premium. The cost is $12.00 a month and of course it is a write off as a business expense.

Adjunctworld offers a one-stop-shop for adjunct job searches. The site is very clean and Matt Cobb, the owner and me have been sharing each others tidbits of wisdom on being an online adjunct for some time. He now focuses on providing a great service and at a reasonable price. The premium subscription means you get no advertising, access to the adjunct and the school database the ability to create job alerts.

I had taken advantage of the free basic account for years and decided that it was time to start paying Matt for his service. Anyone that is interested to finding more adjunct work should sign up for the free basic account, take it for ride and if you like, sign up for the premium subscription.

I highly recommend Adjunctworld for job searches.

http://www.adjunctworld.com/

Rasmussen College...A great place to work!

In 2014, I picked up a course design project for Rasmussen College. I completed the project and shortly there after was hired as a part tome adjunct. I finished the instructor course in December of 2014 and taught my first course in January of 2015. Barely had time to catch my breath. I asked around about Rasmussen, checked them out online and the results were favorable.

I just finished teaching my first course and I was offered three more for the upcoming Spring semester. Here's how that works, if they like you as an adjunct, they offer you more courses, if not, they don't. Each course starts a new contract. No contract offer to teach, no courses.

 Rasmussen uses Angel as their LMS, very similar to Blackboard. Course are 11 weeks in length and adjuncts are paid by-weekly. Rate of pay is right in line with most schools including ECPI and the UOPX. The courses are time consuming to setup and they are very canned but once you get your course setup and setup right, it's just a matter of being present and doing what they pay you do. I spend the first week getting the students up to speed with the discussions and APA. I introduce the students to their free Grammarly account and the course just cruises along for the remaining 10 weeks.

There is a one time live presentation requirement anytime during the 11 weeks but they like it done in the first week. One hour Adobe Connect session, get to know the students and answer some questions. Actually a lot of fun. Build a couple of power points, record the session for prosperity and your are good to go.

Wish I had 5 more schools like Rasmussen. Great place to work!

University of Phoenix has lost half its students

University of Phoenix has lost half its students 

 Again, we have another news story put together by the dumpers and rock throwers that just can't let the past go.

A lot of what I do in online teaching never gets posted because I am not quite sure of what I have gotten myself into until I have taught for a school at least 60-90 days. I lot of schools that I get hired to teach for are questionable at best. Some have a terrible business model while others have slimy ethics. I'll teach three to four courses at these schools and if I am not happy, and not comfortable
with my decision to work at the school, I'll resign and that will be the end of it.

 In 2015, I resigned from such a school. I taught three courses at the school and resigned. Got hired in December and resigned in March.

As for the the UOPX, I have been a facilitator with this school since 2008. I am please to work for the UOPX and will continue to do so until that changes. You have to appreciate the fact that some schools pay me as much as 45K a year but the UOPX is not one of those schools. Last year I didn't even break 10K at the UOPX so it's not the money.

I honestly believe that the new administration is built around professional educators and not the backroom boiler room types of the past. The facilitators at the UOPX are some of the best I have have seen. I sit with these wonderful people is workshops and I get to know them. They are hard working and diligent.

I don't how it is that people that are not students nor have then been students can stand back and throw rocks about something they know little to nothing about. I also know that the image of the UOPX is far from being repaired but the current administration is on point with making the learning experience for students first rate.

I have been a witness to the demise and the come back of the UOPX and I can tell you that it is a good place to work.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

End of 2014 Wrap Up...Welcome to 2015!

It's been a while since I posted and my reasoning was mostly paranoia. You cannot let everyone know what your up to without it coming back to bite you in the back. It's hard to share with so many savant idiots second guessing you and deflecting their lack of success because they choose not to be proactive. I stopped posting to the Linkedin forums as much as I use too because of the backlash from those that wanted to control the free flow of information. I don't need the blessings of  anyone so I just left certain groups and stopped posting to others.

Some of these moderators seem to have a need to be surrounded by the less fortunate as I've seen others post their methods for succeeding as an online adjunct only to be berated and like myself, they just moved on. The only group I post to now and share information with is a Yahoo group for online adjuncts. 

I had more than my share of success in 2014 and received the biggest surprise of my adjunct career when checking my email one morning, I found an offer for a full time faculty position with one of the online universities I teach for. The full time position offer came out of the blue, I did not ask for it. That school will rename anonymous but I can tell you that the school knew I worked for other online universities and confirmed that it would not be an issue. I was hired full time exempt which gave me full benefits and more than doubled my salary with the school. Honestly, not much has changed as far as my workload. I was hesitant at first to take the position because of the strings I thought would come with it but so far, nothing.

In 2014 I picked two more online universities along with my full time position. At the end of 2014 I was offered one offer to teach and one possible consideration. I've decided that I can make 250K-500K a year teaching online. I've already surpassed the 140K mark or I will in 2015.

I do know that if you set out to hit a goal of making a good living teaching on line, you do need to reduce your tax burden by putting money in a 401K and at the same time making sure you have enough money being taken out to satisfy your tax burden. I didn't do that in 2011 and I paid out of pocket to the IRS and the the state of Arizona. That has not happened since.

I'm done disclosing how many schools I teach for and their names but I can tell you that I've never been happier or  more well off. When I started this blog I had 3 online universities and was making close to 42K a year teaching on line, that was 2010. I'm way beyond that point and I have bigger plans for 2015 and 2016 and that is the trick. You have to figure out what works and what does not.

The second thing you have to accept is that the schools have all the cards, they have they system so if you want to make the big bucks you have to use the system to your advantage, not the school. One schools I work requires I respond each time a student posts to a discussion forum. Not a problem, I know how to exploit this to my advantage. I have hundreds if not thousands of discussion responses just waiting to be copied and pasted.

The course administrators think I'm Mr. Johnny on the spot but the truth is, I know how to exploit the system to my advantage, not theirs.  Sure I'll meet their ridiculous requirements but I'll do it my way.

And that is what you have to come to understand, how can you teach for X number of schools and meet all the requirements; that part of the equation is up to you. 

I will have completed my second Masters in April of 2015 and that two year journey will have come to an end. I am considering getting a third Masters in Digital Forensics. See how I feel when that times come.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday!

Regards -

Cliff




Friday, June 7, 2013

Course Lead and Course Development. Branching Out!

Greetings Everyone -

Sorry for the long delay in posting any updates but between Obama Care, the new IRS rules on what qualifies as being a part time adjunct,  and dwindling teaching opportunities, I've been very busy. Some interesting reflections in all this.

Every school that I teach for has stepped up their game revising their courses, updating and in some case replacing their LMS. They've required instructors to attend more adjunct training, tightened up feedback and classroom presence requirements.

My evaluations have shifted focus from academic rigor to student satisfaction and retention. The instructor's evaluation is still their but it has more to do with answering messages in a timely manner, responding to student questions, classroom presence, adding value, discussion postings and qualitative feedback.

I' work really hard at making my classes the ones that students enjoy attending and recently here's what has come with it.

CSU has signed me up for their course development course giving me a course to redevelop. This pays $1500.00. APUS made me a course lead for their ISSC422 Information Security course and because I just passed the Cisco CCNA wireless certification, gave me a new course to develop on mobile wireless technology.

This does make up for the income I've lost for due to smaller enrollments and cut backs but it does help. At APUS course assignments are given out first to fill time faculty, course leads and finally to part time adjuncts so by excepting the course lead assignments I moved up in the standings a little. I need to be teaching two courses per session at CSU, APUS and ECPI to make decent money but those days have passed. University of Phoenix and UMUC only assign me one course per session but that it is what it is. If and when the economy rebounds and student enrollment comes back, I'll be ready but in the meantime. if an opportunity to become a chairperson, course lead, or a course developer comes your way, don't pass it up. The school is not asking to be nice, they're asking  for your expertise and help and course directors remember who stepped up and who didn't.

I'm no longer looking for additional teaching gigs but that might change if the current trends don't improve. I have plenty of work right now and though I thought having 6 or 7 schools to teach for would be a nice, in reality it's just becomes to stressful and it is just better to take the 5 you have and work on making them the best they can be.

One thing that really makes course directors all giddy is the adding of a video to your course. The video can how how to navigate the course room, install a Citrix web client or be a video introduction to your students. Over the last 5 years I have posted more than 60 instructional videos on Youtube.

Take any area of your course room that  tends to be a problem in each new session and make a video that demonstrates the task and the problem goes away. You're happy and the students are grateful. Embed a video introduction into the course room and your presence level just increased substantially. If you were to create a video overview for each unit in the course, the course director would never forget you come assignment time but here's the trick.  Create the video so that it pertains to the unit and not to you. That way any instructor that teaches the course could use the video. This not only makes you look like a caring and professional adjunct, you just helped make the course room that much closer to being 508 compliant. Add a video transcript and you are 508 compliant.

I'm not one to look at the glass being half full or half empty. Just maybe the glass is just the wrong size but regardless of your perspective, look for opportunities or create new ones.

Cliff



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Teaching at APUS! Just a little different!

I'm into my second week of teaching at APUS and it's been an experience. First, some of the classes are setup for instructors and some have to be built from scratch. My mentor told me that my classes would be set up for me but that was not the case so I almost got terminated before I even got started. The good news is this, if you setup the grade book, the announcements, the assignments and the forums to automate, than the class pretty much runs itself but the learning curve, at least for me was a stretch. This is probably the method to the madness that APUS uses to ensure instructors are ready to facilitate a class using SAKIA, their open source LMS. The instructor course did nothing to prepare me for facilitating a class but I'm not sure anything could have. SAKIA is not for the faint of heart but once the light does go on, you realize that the design is actually quite good.

It took all of couple of weeks to figure out how to setup the course room from scratch but once I figured it out, the start of class went very smooth. I was given enough courses to see up through January of 2013 and my fall 2012 schedule has not stopped filling up. So far between now and the end of the year I have 7 courses to teach but this to is misleading in that your courses can be reassigned to another instructor and you can be assigned another instructors course at the drop of a hat. That's not an issue because the reassigned course has already been setup.

Right now I'm teaching two courses. One course has 18 students and the other has 1. It makes me no never mind if I have 1 student or I have 30.

Course load is marginal for 5 universities. Right now I'm teaching 11 courses and that might jump up in November to 12 or 13.

I now have Ashford and Indiana Tech looking at me but I don't expect anything to happen until the winter or the spring of 2013 with either.

I'm not looking for anymore universities to teach for at this point. Time to clear the decks and settle in for a while. Let the dust settle.

I'm enjoying APUS and it could be one of the best to work for right now.

Cliff

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

APUS Welcome Packet Arrived - Interview with Indiana Tech!

Received my welcome packet from APUS on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012. Filled out some course preference spreadsheets and the next day was given my class assignments for the fall session. I have two instances of Computer and Networking Security to deliver starting in October. In the mean time I've been given a course to shadow for at least 4 weeks. What a ride!

The month of August is when I start my seasonal hunt for more online teaching opportunities and I began sending out my CV using the Adjunctworld Directory of Online Colleges. The list contains roughly 826 names of online colleges and universities. I go through the listing, remove all the entries for health, law, seminary, management and schools I do not want to work for. I create an email  template using Outlook 2010 that has my cover letter in the email body. I attach my CV and unofficial transcripts to the template and in the subject line I write; "Online Adjunct - Information Technology: "

I than begin going through the schools that I believe have an online technology program in place. Starting with the A's and working my way down through alphabet, I start sending out roughly 25-40 emails a day. I plat the first email address in the list in the To: line and than Bcc the rest. I started sending out my junk on the 20th of august and on the 24th of August, I received an email request for a 15 minute interview the dean of the business and technology program at Indiana Tech. I concluded the interview on Monday the 27th of August and was told that if everything checked out, if I submitted the required documents, I could expect to hear back from Indiana Tech in three weeks.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from Indiana Tech with a job offer in three weeks but if not, I'll just keep pushing forward looking for another opportunity.
So why August you ask? This is the end of the summer drought for online students and enrollment goes way up at most online colleges and adjuncts are needed to fill the pending fall schedule. This is also the time that the schools are putting together their spring course offerings and adjunct pools need to be filled. Argosy, South, Baker, Grand Canyon are all excepting applications for this reason.

Between August and December, those that remain proactive in their job search stand a good chance of getting picked up. You have to remember that the hiring process at some of these online institutions is longer and more drawn out that at others. My recommendation is that if you get the chance to interview, do the best you can and forget about it. Move on with your next search and if they call back or email you with a positive response great, if not keep pushing forward.
I get a lot of questions about the email cover letter template that I use. I wrote this and built the formatting based on the best information that I had at the time. As with all my documents, this template is a work in progress and gets tweaked and updated as needed. working and reworking the formatting, the style, the layout of the message your trying to convey with your documents should be on going. From time to time I just open up my CV and scan it for grammatical errors and other mistakes.

Here's a copy of my email cover letter:




Subject: Online Adjunct - Information Technology: Cliff Krahenbill

Attachments: Cliff_Krahenbill_Curriculum_Vitae .docx; CKrahenbill Transcripts.pdf

Dear Hiring Manager;

Please permit me to submit my curriculum vitae for consideration as an online adjunct instructor with your online information technology program. Given my proven record of work performance and experience as an online adjunct instructor and technology consultant, I’m confident that I could add value to any technology course I would be assigned to deliver.

I pride myself on being a results oriented, hands-on individual with progressive online course management skills. My teaching style emphasizes student centered learning where I focus on being a facilitator and resource person providing the student with mentoring and the skills to succeed as an online learner. An evaluation of my curriculum vitae will better acquaint you with my background and qualifications as an online adjunct instructor.

Adjunct Requirements

• Master degree and 18+ graduate hours with a concentration in Information Technology.
• Successful completion of your online instructor training course

My Qualifications

• Master of Science in Information Technology with 18 graduate hours in the specific subject area.
• 4+ years’ experience facilitating online classrooms
• 13 years real world experience working as technology professional
• Numerous, current and valid professional certifications from Cisco, Microsoft and CompTIA

In review of my curriculum vitae, you will note my growth and experience. What it cannot illustrate, is the degree of dedication, resourcefulness, and professionalism that I bring to the online course room. A personal conversation will enable us to discuss how I can contribute to the success of your online technology students. I can be reached via email, my cell phone or through my Linkedin account. I look forward to interviewing with you if and when the opportunity presents itself. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Best Regards,

Cliff Krahenbill


CLK Technology Solutions
8066 East Shadow Canyon Road
Tucson, Arizona, 85750
520-812-0246
Linkedin Profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/ckrahenbill