Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Finding ELearning Jobs (Part 2)

Online teaching was the perfect part-time job for me. E-learning and online teaching replaced coaching and after school clubs as a way to supplement my income. I loved it! I was working with great teachers from around the world and learning new things everyday. I also realized I was opening a door to a new career.

Eventually, after 25 years in a traditional classroom, I decided to take early retirement, and pursue my passion for online teaching and learning full time.

Now I make my living online and enjoy a freedom and flexibility that once seemed like an impossible dream. I am the program advisor for the E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Working online is everything I'd hoped for, and more. It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. I made the change one step at a time. It took me awhile to figure out how to find work.

I've found that the key to an online career is a power triangle of essential elements:

  • Subject Matter Expertise
  • 21st Century Networking
  • E-learning and Teaching Experience

Power Triangle for E-Learning Success

power triangle

Subject Matter Expertise

Your expertise is rooted with your life, academic, and work experiences. If you are a teacher, your expertise is established by the courses you've taught and the degrees you hold.

If you are a military, corporate or medical trainer your expertise is established by your subject specialization and the variety of training positions you've held.

For those teaching at the college level,  your subject matter expertise is determined by your degree(s).

Master's degrees.  For undergraduate faculty positions, you will be qualified to teach subjects within the range of your degree. In many situations, 18 graduate credits in a new subject concentration beyond your master's degree will qualify you as a subject matter expert.

Terminal degrees.  For both undergraduate and graduate faculty positions, you will be you will be qualified to teach subjects within the range of your degree. Terminal degrees are usually prefered by academic institutions.

Adding a Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching is a way to document your training and develop a new area of subject matter expertise!

Building Your Network

Roughly 80% of your e-learning work will come from face to face and online networking .

Decision makers want to hire people they know. When they can't find someone they know personally, they reach out to their personal network of colleagues. Many jobs go unadvertised or are created when a person with the right skills is discovered.

Building your networks will open the door to a new future.

5 Ways to Build Your Professional Network

1. Start where you work right now.
  • Let your professional circle know you are pursuing an e-learning certificate or a degree online. 
  • Think of your online peers as the beginning of a lifelong network.
  • Learn to use social media wisely.
2. Find Professional organizations and conferences.
  • Go to conferences and get to know others who share your professional interests.
  • Attend both face to face and online conferences (Webinars).
  • Have business cards printed and hand them out!
  • Design and pursue your own professional development path.  This Educause Planner will help you plan your future! 
3. Become an online student.
  • Successful online students become successful online teachers.
  • Get to know your classmates.
  • Some of your strongest professional bonds will be with colleagues you meet in your online classes.
4. Be active in professional networks.
  • Join an online network dedicated to your specific professional interests.
  • Join job search oriented social networks.
5. Build your professional credibility with a website or e-portfolio*.
  • A professional presence on the Internet is important.
  • Build a classroom website.
  • Write a blog about an area of interest.
  • Create a wiki for collaborative projects
  • Show what you know with an e-portfolio.
*Those enrolled in the E-Learning and Online Teaching Certificate Program will build these components and more during their training.

E-Learning and Online Teaching Experience

The University of Wisconsin-Stout E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program provides experience as both an online student and an online teacher.

You have a developed a skill set as a classroom teacher or trainer. However, teaching or training experience does not fully prepare you for the unique challenges of e-learning and online teaching.
  • Jumping into online teaching job without training can be a painful and frustrating experience.
  • You need experience as an onlne teacher and specialized training in facilitation techniques to develop the craft of effective online instruction.
As an online student:
  • You will experience the best practices of online learning.
  • You will learn how to develop a community of learners through intense collaboration and discussion.
  • You will build strong professional bonds with your colleagues.
  • You will work with highly trained master teachers who are dedicated to helping you grow and learn.
As an online teacher in training:
  • You create curriculum and assessments using Web 2.0 tools.
  • You facilitate small group discussions.
  • You practice the teaching skills in a supportive environment rich in timely feedback.
  • Each of the five classes is a model of the best practices of teaching and learning online.
The Certificate Practicum: Real World Experience
  • If you've never taught an online class, you'll teach with a mentor teacher in one of our online professional development classes.
  • If you are currently teaching or training online, we craft a program that offers you the course design or teaching skill feedback you most need.
  • Customized internships with K-12 Virtual Schools are also possible.
Build a future as a teacher and learner in the 21st Century! Join us and open the door to a new career!
UW-Stout's five-course E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate focuses on the strategies and techniques of teaching online. The courses model best practices in e-learning with interactive discussions and hands-on experiences creating and using blogs, wikis, podcasts, and Moodle in K-12 education. The courses will benefit educators and trainers interested in designing online and blended courses or using Web-based components to enhance face-to-face instruction.

Courses are offered each semester (three times each year). All courses earn three graduate credits.

Read More about Finding E-Learning Jobs! 

Here are more articles about strategies for finding online work, and the kinds of preparation and paperwork you should be working on: 


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