Monday, March 30

My CV & online teaching

I started sending out my academic CV (Curriculum Vitae) (.pdf) today. Since we're mostly self-funded at this point in the Queen Creek church planting project I'm hoping to teach some online classes in leadership or Bible starting next fall -- perhaps a little tent-making gig. (I'm also hoping that I can eventually bring this thing full circle and teach some PIBC classes online from the States.)

I had never compiled an academic CV before. So, putting one together was a new experience. A CV is similar to a resume but a little more free flowing -- and longer is actually considered better. Mine is only two pages but real academics like to list every single article they've written, every conference presentation they've ever made, every recognition they've received, and every time someone has mentioned their name.

My list is short -- and really that's probably better for this kind of distance education. Online teaching requires a different skill-set than what is needed in a traditional classroom, so an out-of-the-box CV is probably okay. Any university administrator looking at my CV would recognize that my primary calling is not in academia and that I don't have aspirations to climb the academic ladder. But I do enjoy the students and the interaction.

In many American colleges or universities an online teacher is a contract employee -- no faculty status or rank. Often they don't even design their own courses, set their own reading lists, create their own syllabi, or even write their own tests. They are more like guides moving students through an interactive museum. Their function is similar to that of TAs in large universities -- except the primary delivery of course content is online in the form of reading and video. Obviously, there are both strengths and weaknesses to such an arrangement -- and to such an approach to teaching.

One thing that I hear over and over again from students in online classes (both at PIBC and otherwise) is that it's just so much more work than what is expected in a traditional classroom. That may be true -- or it might just be that the pace can feel more intense and the student has to take more personal initiative to stay on top of it all.

We'll see what happens.


Beth B said...

One of the perils of online learning is that a student's instructor can look in and see exactly what, when and for how long s/he has been interacting with the online material.(At least this is what I am able to do at Northwest Christian University using Moodle.)
Traditional students can often simply sleepwalk through class, especially if it is a large group.

On the other hand, I find online teaching to be much less stimulating. It's been much more difficult to get students to participate in online discussions, and I never get to really know them, the way I do when we are able to linger after class, or have coffee during breaks. Sometimes that's where the best learning happens!

Brad Boydston said...

I really like the hybrid model that I've used a few times. Half of the work is in the classroom and half is online. You get the best of both worlds that way. Many of our students will not speak out in class -- many women in particular seem reluctant to respond to something a man says -- at least face-to-face. (Some island cultures are that way.) But if we put them in an online forum they'll often speak their minds more readily.