Professor Earns $120k Teaching OnlineNew article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about an online education program at a community college. The professor profiled in the piece teaches three...

Professor Earns $120k Teaching Online

New article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about an online education program at a community college. The professor profiled in the piece teaches three "classes" and makes $120,000 a year.  The program is essentially self-directed, self-paced learning.

Pros? Cons? Would you be interested in teaching an entire course online, or do you prefer interacting with your students in a classroom?

28 Answers

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Wow!  Where can I sign up?  I would love to teach in a program like that.  First of all, I like working from my computer.  Sort of.  My back does hurt after while.  I do enjoy working one on one with students.  It is easy online.  The only disadvantage is that you never meet your students, and sometimes it's hard to explain concepts over the phone.

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Professor Earns $120k Teaching Online

New article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about an online education program at a community college. The professor profiled in the piece teaches three "classes" and makes $120,000 a year.  The program is essentially self-directed, self-paced learning.

Pros? Cons? Would you be interested in teaching an entire course online, or do you prefer interacting with your students in a classroom?

I really find this hard to believe, sorry, In my experience, talking to friends who have taught online, and considering what was to be offered me when I was looking into teaching online for a state-funded art school, this is an obscene amount of money for part-time teaching. This same school(where I have taught standard classroom courses too) offers a hybrid model that allows instructors to design the course to meet with students in class once or twice a month, and have the remainder of the course tale place online. This seems like a good compromise.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I just finished an online course that was really sort of absurd.  I've actually done an entire masters online and don't have a problem with the online format.  The biggest issue, in my mind, is for profit universities and the way that it changes what is happening in terms of teaching.

Basically, you need to churn out degrees and recruit as many people as possible, whether they are ready or not.  This leads to all kinds of bad things, but is also driven by the degree hungry nature of our professional world at this point.

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Besides teaching high school, I am a college adjunct lecturer. I teach a three credit course each term. I think that the professor in the article is being dishonest about his wages. I get paid a decent amount for my class, but, no where near anything like the professor is making. No way is that legit. If it were, sign me up.

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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The salary could be justified... where do the classes cap? Hundreds? Think of all the grading involved.

While it would be nice to make that much money, I don't think I'd like to teach without class discussion or getting to know my students. One of my favorite things in the classroom is the "lightbulb" moment; when you witness a student finally coming to an understanding about something, or getting an idea that he/she previously didn't have. Without that student-teacher interaction, my job would be much less fulfilling... I think even if I was paid 125K per year.

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msmegmaynard | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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For many teachers, this opportunity would seem like a dream come true! I'm intrigued by the concept and I have always wondered what it would be like to teach a course online, but never thought I could do it because I love to interact with my students too much. Unfortunately, I have come to find that my students are almost exclusively interested in interacting with me via technology. Students who are too intimidated to ask a question in class will email me at the end of the day or send me a message through Study Island.

Like it or not, this may be the way of the future. I know that there is already legislature in place in my state that would change the rules of assessment in the classroom to include only knowledge-based performance - not participation, attitude, behavior, or late work. Online classes seems to be the obvious next step. Education fully removed from social standards of interaction. Yikes!

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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If you read the whole article, there is a clarification at the end. He made about 75,000 work at another job. He most he made with this open class model is less than 30,000. Also since he is paid by the number of students, it is a very bad deal in my opinion. The ones making out are the schools. The teacher is just cheap labor. Bad deal, in my opinion.

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Jessica Akcinar | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Wow! That's incredible! I teach entry-level college course online, and made a fourth of that while teaching full-time. I teach online only part-time now, but I prefer my face-to-face classes much more. Although it certainly is convenient to work from home, I do not get the satisfaction teaching virtually that I do teaching physically. I hate never knowing what my students look like or what their personalities are. I also hate the fact that most of my online students are not prepared for self-paced, self-directed learning, and I sure wish the university would screen them better.


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aliddi | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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That is a lot of money for three classes. Although some of the professors I have talked to in the past have said teaching on-line courses is more work than face to face courses.

Taking courses online has been more work for me than my on-campus schooling (undergrad and 1st grad).  The professor grades assignments and guides discussion posts but has no control over any part of the actual course itself.  Everything is set by the department, including the course outline, assignments, readings, etc.

If everything was laid out for me and all I had to do was grade, I would definitely "teach" (facilitate) online courses.  I would still need to see my students in person.  I enjoy the non-subject-teaching portions of my day.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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I dig online teaching! That's what I want to do when I grow up. There is another very practical element to this: Schools are innundated by products from floor coverings to desks to window treatments that gass-off toxic chemicals ilke PCBs, dioxins, phthalates and formaldehydes making indoor air quality dangerously bad for all. The EPA states that indoor air quality is now up to 70 percent worse than metropolitan city outdoor air quality. Further, the poor quality is worsened by what comes into the building and rooms: detergent residue, fragrances made of harmful synthetic chemical formulas; recycled paper that gasses-off its own dioxins and phtalates etc. (although the paper industry has made some advances in changing to alternate cleaning methods), vinyl notebooks that gass-off, etc. Online teaching saves both instructor and student from these daily toxic exposures. This is profoundly significant since these chemicals and others impair memory and impede cognitive function upon exposure. Can't get far academically with these effects. (And of course some are more hardy than others and accumulate the effects more slowly, but it's like comparing the canary to the horse in the mine shaft with poisonous air: both are going to suffer the effects, it will just be apparent in the canary first.)

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kamiegoldstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I would love to teach a class online. (Aren't we all doing that on enotes, in a way?) I really like integrating technology in the classes I teach live. The future of education must respond to the needs of modern students. Educators have to keep up with their contemporary students or risk becoming obsolete. The American education system must keep pace with technological advances. Educators are in service to their students. Eventually, we will find a balance between actual live contact in a classroom setting and virtual contact in cyberspace. The marriage of both is the future of education.

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Personally, teaching an online class isn't as rewarding for me as teaching in a brick-and-mortar, traditional classroom setting. The sense of connection with students that develops over time in a face-to-face context far trumps the convenience of teaching online. However, I continue to do both and enjoy both. I think as the next few years pass, the lines between online and face-to-face learning will continue to be blurred.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I guess I'd say if a prof can do this and earn such a comfortable living, then good for them.  Any teacher will tell you the limitations of self-paced, independent learning, with no face-to-face instruction, and if teaching is what they truly enjoy, then they will probably tell you they prefer to be in a classroom.  There's just no way to duplicate some of the teachable moments and interactions in text form on a glowing screen.

It's not that such classes are completely invaluable, or that some students can't learn perfectly well on their own with a little guidance online.  I can't see myself wanting to teach in that way beyond the tutoring sense that we pursue here at eNotes.  Interesting concept.

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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I don't believe the figures are accurate. It seems more like bragging and braggadocio to me. Professional teachers don't usually say things like that, and for only three classes, it seems like if it was really happening, everyone would be doing it.

To me, the piece doesn't read as if the prof were bragging. His salary is mentioned in context of discussing the program itself. And the downside of such a teaching position is emphasized as well: you're pretty much on call.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I would love to make this prof's salary, but I wouldn't enjoy taking the class online as much as attending in person. I prefer the social and intellectual interaction of a live classroom--time permitting, of course. For some people, especially those who work full-time and/or who have children, online education is the way to go. He'd be crazy to ever consider teaching anywhere else.

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