What It Means to Be a Modern Online Educator

Traditional college teaching is part of a well-established tradition that has remained fairly unchanged over time. Becoming an instructor in this environment meant adhering to teaching standards, which have also remained fairly unchanged. A college professor is associated with someone who is a subject matter expert, likely to advance to a tenured position, and has a dual role as lecturer and researcher. They are expected to be published authors of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals that have contributed knowledge to their field. While this form of education and teacher still exists, there is another academic institution that has also been established which is an online college and university.

For a modern form of online education, you probably won’t find any positions labeled Professor. Most online universities hire assistants and many refer to their faculty as moderators. Some universities require their faculty to meet annual professional development requirements, but rarely does this involve publishing peer-reviewed journal articles. What is needed, now more than ever, is a new category of educators who can meet the needs of the students participating in this modern form of education. Now is also the time for online universities to embrace this new form of instructors that can be termed modern instructors.

From traditional to online lessons

The traditional format for educating students is lecture-driven instruction. The instructor provides information to the students and they have to demonstrate what they have learned through various assessments. They know that their lecturer or professor is an expert in the subject of their class. This teaching method is the same style used in elementary education and is teacher-centred. As technology has brought new opportunities to the field of education, a new format has been developed – online courses and online degrees. Initially, traditional educators taught these courses, but over time that has changed, particularly as most teachers have been staffed by teachers. After online degree programs and online schools became fully established in the field of education, a new type of educator also emerged.

Evolution to modern teaching

With the growth of online learning came the need to hire large numbers of instructors. Some online universities have courses that start weekly and others offer courses that start monthly. Student assistant hiring was the answer, and most posts teaching undergraduate students were filled by instructors who had master’s degrees in the subject they taught. Over time, the number of faculty qualified to teach online has grown significantly, and now many adjunct positions require a PhD. What has contributed to the increased pool of available online teachers are the variability in enrollment numbers, the limited number of full-time online teacher positions and the growth in study programs – particularly those related to online teaching. There are also many online schools that offer online teaching specializations, and those students who complete their master’s degrees are added to the pool. It is estimated that nearly two million additional online trainers are currently teaching online courses.

Online instruction requirements may also include continuing education. Most online universities require some form of annual professional development. These universities usually offer workshops and training to meet this requirement. Publishing scholarly journals can be used to meet professional development requirements, but most schools do not require it. These modern teachers are also different from a college professor in the way they are allowed to present themselves in the classroom. An online teacher is often referred to as a facilitator and rarely is this position referred to as a professor – although some teachers refer to themselves as professors to establish their position in the learning process. Many online universities require their faculty to use their first name to create a casual and approachable image – even if the faculty has a PhD.

An example of a modern educator

In the field of online education, there is a significant difference between the types of teachers. There are those with a master’s degree who can teach bachelor’s degrees and those with a doctorate who can teach undergraduate as well as graduate students. For those schools that offer doctoral programs, there may still be an expectation that faculty will be released in a manner similar to a college professor. But it needs a new standard. If traditional learning methods do not apply to online education, then traditional trainer qualifications should not apply to online teachers either. Now is the time for a new category of instruction called the Modern Educator.

My work as an educator has evolved from traditional college teaching to online teaching and now I have become a modern day educator. Instead of trying for months (or possibly longer) to get published in a scientific journal, I publish articles online. Instead of my work being only available to those who have access to and read scholarly journals, I now have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. My work is available as soon as I write and publish it, and more importantly – I understand how to use social media. Through the use of social media I am connected to an international base of educators, universities and students.

Through social media, it is possible to share ideas and resources along with online articles, blog posts, and other intellectual contributions. This also applies to the transformation of the publishing process. Instead of waiting to find a publisher and going down the traditional publishing route, I self-published e-books. This has allowed me to become heavily involved in education and has redefined what it means to be a university teacher. Becoming a Modern Educator specifies what online teachers and online schools should engage in as a prerequisite for their professional development.

Steps to become a modern educator

Whether you have a master’s or doctoral degree, teaching online courses requires professional growth. But this should be more than a workshop, it has to make an intellectual contribution. In addition, the work of a Modern Educator must also involve some form of social or professional networking. Here are some steps and strategies you can use to become a Modern Educator.

#1. Write a blog – This provides a platform to share your expertise and summarize your knowledge. As you continue to research your professional interests, you can incorporate what you’ve learned through your blog posts. There are numerous free resources you can use to create and share your blog such as: B.WordPress.

#2. Write Articles Online – Instead of taking the time required to write articles and submit them to academic journals, which can always be an option for you, find a resource that allows you to contribute articles online publish. The articles you write, based on your knowledge and experience, will allow you to reach a wider audience, hone your writing skills and establish yourself as a subject matter expert. I use Ezine Articles which is an Article Marketing Database.

#3. Use Social Networking – Every online teacher needs to learn how to establish their presence using technology. It only makes sense that if you work in a technology-enabled environment, you should also know how to engage in online communities. LinkedIn offers a way to network professionally, find groups that match your interests, and even find online jobs. Twitter can connect you to an international base of educators, students, and universities, providing a place to share resources.

#4. Develop a website – If you find that you are very ambitious and want to develop more than just a blog, you can also create your own website. This would be a place to house resources you create that could be shared with educators and students. There are free web hosting services and others that charge a small fee.

#5. Write e-books – The publishing industry has changed and now authors are taking back control by making their books available in e-book format. Kindle and Nook devices are the most popular devices. Kobo is another device that is gaining popularity as it can be used on mobile devices like Blackberry. You’ll likely need to hire someone to format the book, sign up for an account to distribute your e-book, and once it’s ready you can have it available in a relatively short amount of time.

Maintaining a modern educator status

A Modern Educator is someone who does more than just teach online courses. They are active in the field of education and in their chosen fields. They know how to teach with technological tools and engage with a virtual community of other educators via social media. The Modern Educator also conducts research and makes intellectual contributions through technological means. The work they publish is performed through technology-enabled resources and made immediately available to their intended audience. They know how to use social media to promote their work and share resources with other educators and students.

It is now time for the Modern Educator mentality to become the standard for online learning. Instruction has adapted in format from traditional to online and so must the instructor. It is also important that online schools and recruitment specialists recognize the new Modern Educator. This is someone who has likely taught for multiple institutions due to fluctuating enrollment and staff turnover; However, what is most important is their continuous professional development and intellectual contribution. The most desirable candidate for an online teaching position is someone with more than extensive work as an online teacher. It is someone who can also use technological tools to publish their work and connect with other educators. A Modern Educator is the new college professor and the one most prepared to teach through the use of technology.

Thanks to Dr. Bruce A. Johnson | #Means #Modern #Online #Educator

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