I've been rejected to teach online at the University of Phoenix. I'll survive. But I'll admit to being a little perplexed.
The reasons that I applied to teach online for U of P are:
1) I love online teaching, and teaching online works well with my schedule, as I'm able to teach at night and on the weekends.
2) I thought that I would learn some things that I could take back to my day job - as the U of P methodology for developing courses and training faculty is well known for creating consistently positive outcomes.
3) Adult working professionals are the best students in the world to work with.
Teaching online is the best way that I know to fully understand the potential of learning management systems and Web 2.0 tools to transform the learning experience. Every course, (whether it be on-ground, hybrid, or fully online), is improved when faculty have gone through a rigorous process of online course development and mentoring/training/support for online teaching.
Up until this summer I taught online courses for the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, at Quinnipiac University. These were courses I helped develop, in a program I helped get off the ground while working for QU. After this summer the model of course delivery for these courses changed (from fully online to hybrid), and therefore I was unable to keep teaching from New Hampshire. While I've enjoyed having nights and weekends free and clear, I've also missed the opportunity work with adult professionals in the courses I used to teach.
Getting rejected by U of P came as somewhat of a surprise. I have tons of experience both teaching and developing online courses and programs. In fact, part of my last job was to design and run faculty training programs (taught online) for new online faculty. I have the relevant academic credentials. And although the online application form for U of P could not pick this up, I was actually pretty good at teaching online.
In my experience the key to being a good online instructor (and perhaps any college teacher) is to treat your students as you'd like to be treated if you were taking the course. Respect that their time is precious. Invest the same amount of time and energy in working with your students as you expect them to spend in the course. Model collegial attitudes, presence in the online environment, constant communication, and positive interactions. Work with your students as equals and colleagues, help them play to their strengths, and be honored by the opportunity to be a part of their continuing education.
Why would U of P reject my application to teach part-time and online? I don't have any definite answers, but I'll engage in some speculation:
Speculation 1: I wonder if U of P really wants folks like me to teach their courses. People with Ph.D.'s and lots of experience in both developing and teaching online (and on-ground) courses. Academics are accustomed to, and expect, a degree of autonomy developing and teaching our courses. I think this autonomy goes against the U of P model of pre-developed courses and rigorous monitoring and evaluation of its professors. For the University of Phoenix I was, (and am) perfectly willing to conform to their systems and methods, as part of my rationale for applying to teach is to understand and learn from their model. But I'm guessing that "academic types" like me are not worth the hassle.
Speculation 2: Perhaps U of P would prefer to recruit faculty from the ranks of working professionals as opposed to academia. Graduates of U of P, for the most part, will not be looking to apply for jobs or promotions in higher ed. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm guessing that most U of P part-time instructors are not full-time academics, but rather working in the sorts of positions that the U of P students aspire to.
What do you think these speculations for my rejection? Can you add any to the list? Have you been rejected by U of P as well? Have you been accepted?