An online adjunct instructor is a part-time teacher who works for a college. This type of instructor teaches courses conducted through the Internet. Online adjunct faculty positions vary according to the needs of a particular college. Instructors may be hired to teach subjects that include English literature, business, mathematics, foreign language, and any other course that can be taught through virtual means.
Those who wish to become online adjunct instructors must first hold a master's degree in the subject they wish to teach. Some colleges prefer that their online instructors have experience teaching adult learners, while others may accept entry-level professionals with no previous teaching experience. Prospective online professors must also have access to computer equipment that is equipped with high-speed Internet. Online instructors must be technically savvy, with the ability to use a variety of technology to teach virtual students. Adjunct online professors must be familiar with the use of e-mail, Internet browsers, virtual chat rooms, and other tools needed when teaching a class online.
Online adjunct faculty positions are ideal for professionals who need extra income, but are unable to travel outside of the home to work another job. Online teaching jobs provide flexible schedules, enabling adjunct teachers to instruct students without leaving their own homes. Adjunct instructors may be people who hold full-time jobs in the business world, college professors who need to earn extra money, or professionals approaching retirement who wish to decrease their work schedules.
Despite these benefits, online adjunct faculty positions have negative aspects as well. For example, since an online position is part time, it usually does not offer any form of benefits. Adjunct instructors usually do not qualify for health insurance, sick days, holiday pay, or any other type of benefit. While full-time professors earn a salary, online adjunct instructors are usually paid a set amount for each course they teach. Courses that do not have a sufficient number of enrolled students will be canceled.
Another downside to online adjunct faculty positions is the fact that the online professor may feel more isolated than his or her real-world counterparts. Professors who teach their students face-to-face can enjoy human interaction with both students and other faculty members. In contrast, online adjunct professors stay in their homes or offices, experiencing contact with students only through the Internet.
If anyone wishes to pursue a job as an online adjunct professor, he or she should contact colleges and universities that hire this type of faculty. The application process varies according to each school. It's important to carefully research prospective schools to determine which schools are currently seeking online adjunct faculty, the amount paid to part-time instructors, and the support and training provided to instructors who are selected for positions.