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  1. #1
    Doc Duodenum is offline Registered User
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    Make Money (From Half-Ass) Teaching Online: Advice?

    Hello to all distinguished scholars on the board. Don't know if anyone is familiar with box-top PhD Dani Babb's book, "Make Money Teaching Online," but a recent edition came out that says you too can STILL make $100k+ teaching online. Trying to see if anyone is doing this, with specific emphasis on my addition of "half-ass teaching ," since that seems to be the only way you can "teach" 60+ classes a year.

    Going to be honest, at this stage, I've seen enough shoddy and outright lazy behavior from tenured profs and distinguished researchers in brick & mortar academia at my R1 grad school that I'm ready for my "semi-free lunch" and I would just love for some advice on how to get there.

    I'm a spoiled brat, so I'm looking for classes that are already created that I only have to facilitate. I don't want any synchronous activities: I certainly don't want to live chat with the brain-dead students of today. Looking at other online adjuncts, the biggest problem they have seems to be glorying over catching students cheating and causing problems and work for their coworkers by turning them in. The students frequently say that this is what they have done in other classes and/or their other teachers didn't grade them as hard, and I have no doubt believing this since college is definitely a "pay to play" affair nowadays. I promise no grades below C from me!

    Now before some of you PhDs with bogus, fluffy research areas jump down my throat, I'm not clever enough to have come up with this on my own. There are already PLENTY of people doing this, and you'll find a plethora of posts all over the web going years back with professors teaching 60+ classes saying they get by working barely 30 hours a week and are clocking in $50-$100+ in hourly rates or, better yet, have some poor putz PhD from an Indian Institute of Technology doing the bulk of the work. Also, before anyone asks, no, doing the teaching "on your own" by, for example, using a rubric where you check boxes to generate feedback is just an exercise in futility. I have more respect for the person who sees the system for the joke that it is than someone who thinks their garbled feedback they spent less than one minute generating is of any value.

    Anyway, curious to see what sort of feedback the academy has on this. I know a few of you bloodsuckers are out there operating like this, and I bow at your brilliance. If you don't want to post for all to see, just send me a PM so I can flatter you personally at your intelligence in beating the system.

  2. #2
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    OK - I'll bite. What exactly are you trying to accomplish with your thread here?
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  3. #3
    cookderosa is offline Resident Chef
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    that sounds like an exceptional idea....I wonder why this idea has occurred to so few people. Oh wait, that was in 2005.
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  4. #4
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    If you send me $100.00 I'll share with you the secret to making money.
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  5. #5
    Doc Duodenum is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckie270 View Post
    OK - I'll bite. What exactly are you trying to accomplish with your thread here?
    Just what it says on the tin. I've lurked on here and seen stories of people making pretty good money teaching online. I'd like to take my place in line at the collegiate soup kitchen.

    I won't say my experience is absolute, but having been on both sides of the desk (and sometimes beside it as a TA), the professors making the big bucks don't seem to care about anything but getting their teaching finished as quickly as possible and getting back to their bogus research. If a guy making a quarter of a million can get by with one-liners like "good" as feedback in a graduate course and giving everyone A's and B's regardless of performance or even having turned work in, why can't the guy only getting $2k-$3k a pop for a class do the same as well?

    No trolling. Just being honest.

  6. #6
    Doc Duodenum is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    If you send me $100.00 I'll share with you the secret to making money.
    Thanks for putting the thread up! RFValue has had some pretty good posts on this topic, but if you really have some legitimate advice, give a little sample and I may be interested!

  7. #7
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Duodenum View Post
    Thanks for putting the thread up! RFValue has had some pretty good posts on this topic, but if you really have some legitimate advice, give a little sample and I may be interested!
    You refer to our members as having "PhD with bogus, fluffy research areas" and as "bloodsuckers," and you refer to yourself as "spoiled" and your desired goal to become a "half-assed" teacher then I'd say you're just half a notch below internet troll and not to be taken seriously at all. Bugs Bunny said it best, "What a maroon!"
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  9. #8
    Doc Duodenum is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    You refer to our members as having "PhD with bogus, fluffy research areas" and as "bloodsuckers," and you refer to yourself as "spoiled" and your desired goal to become a "half-assed" teacher then I'd say you're just half a notch below internet troll and not to be taken seriously at all. Bugs Bunny said it best, "What a maroon!"
    I wasn't specifically referring to anyone on this board. I was more referring to the IRL professors I had, both online and in-class. I think I've had enough of them to see that most do the bare minimum to get by, at least when it comes to their teaching aspects. I had a response to an earlier post on here, but it looks like it's in the moderation pile atm.

    Anyway, I'll happily accept the internet troll moniker if I can get more info on this topic.

  10. #9
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    I came close to $100k last year. I could have made it if I'd tried harder (I'm married and we're expecting our 8th later this semester).

    Most students' feedback is that I'm THE MOST engaged faculty member they've ever had online.

    So there's that.

  11. #10
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by graymatter View Post
    I came close to $100k last year. I could have made it if I'd tried harder (I'm married and we're expecting our 8th later this semester).

    Most students' feedback is that I'm THE MOST engaged faculty member they've ever had online.

    So there's that.
    My experience as well. I have great student evaluations and I spend a ton of time in my courses. I think you may be under a little bit of a misconception as to the extent of an online adjunct/faculty's ability to make significant alterations to what is canned content at many institutions and the fact that most places have engagement requirements that eat into your discretionary time in the classroom.

    What is your expectation for time per student/per week student given $2000 for a class with 20 students? Now multiply that times 5+ classes at any given time to get anywhere near the $100K range. My estimation is that I spend 20 minutes per week on each of my 100+ students to include discussion responses and assignment grading. That takes me to about 35-40 hours a week in the classroom - now add the 20+ hours per week that I spend on getting courses set up for the next term, updating courses, professional development requirements, committee assignments, honor society advising, thesis advising, etc. and you begin to see that it is not the license to print money that you have been incorrectly be led to believe.

    Anyway, I spend more time per week/per student than any B&M professor ever spent on me in my B&M undergraduate, graduate, and Doctoral (not a fluffy subject) studies. As to your earlier point - $50/hour is not an unrealistic wage in my view considering the hoops I had to jump through and experience I had to have to get to the point where I am at now. I spent several years at <$10 per hour at shitty schools to get the experience needed to have my current gig.
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  12. #11
    edowave is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Duodenum View Post
    specific emphasis on my addition of "half-ass teaching," since that seems to be the only way you can "teach" 60+ classes a year.
    That was my impression from reading the Babb book also. I think one of her suggestions was to set up macros with canned responses. I pity the student who goes through a class like this.

    Most people who are teaching online aren't doing it for the money. They are doing it because they like teaching the subject they are interested in.
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  13. #12
    me again is online now Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by edowave View Post
    That was my impression from reading the Babb book also. I think one of her suggestions was to set up macros with canned responses. I pity the student who goes through a class like this.
    On the other hand, a canned response may be new and exciting to a student who has never been exposed to it. There is no need to reinvent the academic and theoretical presentation of the wheel.

    Ultimately, learning is the responsibility of adult-students; although there are methodologies that can be used by successful instructors to facilitate higher student-graduation rates.

    The attrition exit-points for online collegiate programs are in two major areas:
    (1) 100 level students in their first course and
    (2) online technical courses such as statistics, quantitative methods and college algebra.
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  14. #13
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    I have hundreds of "canned" responses. NO ONE would ever think that they aren't specific to them and their contribution to the discussion.

  15. #14
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by graymatter View Post
    I have hundreds of "canned" responses. NO ONE would ever think that they aren't specific to them and their contribution to the discussion.
    I guess my thought to this is - why wouldn't you set up canned responses if you are teaching online? How many different ways could you possibly tell a number of students the same thing over and over again course after course? You can personalize it to the student, but if the content of the comment (integrate reference support for this claim for example) is common why in the world would you type it over and over again each time you encountered this frequent error in an academic paper?
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  17. #15
    Doc Duodenum is offline Registered User
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    Wow! Starting to get some responses; very interesting and thank you!

    In regards to engagement, I think a lot of professors could win here with just responding to e-mails, canned or not. A chair I know who had no research going on and only 2 classes a year literally REFUSED to ever respond to e-mail. There were kids begging for programmatic information that only he could give, and he couldn't even be bothered to send a "yes" or "no" to their 2-3 sentence long messages.

    While I know this online stuff isn't a license to print money, $100k+, even with no benefits, and even at 60+ hours a week, is something most academics can only dream of, and something a lot of private sector employees wouldn't turn their nose up either. I mean, who is really making $100k+ a year out there without 60+ hours a week combined with a horrific commute and stress?

    Taking 60 hours a week and 52 weeks a year, meaning no rest ever, is 3120 hours a year. At $100k, that is $32 an hour. At the usual 40 hours a week, with time off salary (2080 hours), that is $66k. Depending on your field and school, it make take decades to reach that effective wage in a full-time job.

    Then again, reality speaks differently about what is a "fair" rate. I'm of the (obviously wrong) opinion that if you have a PhD in, say, a STEM field from a reputable school, you should be able to make more than a schoolteacher fresh out of undergrad. Then again, I think schoolteachers should be paid more, so my opinion is worthless.

    On the canned responses and attrition points, I'm torn. It makes sense and props to those doing it, but on the other hand, if I was doing the same, I would believe that I'm not all that needed as an instructor. Then again, I see that education has morphed into a giant unnecessary hoop for most of the people passing through it, so no reason the holders of the hoops (the academics) can't be unnecessary either.

  18. #16
    Randell1234 is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Duodenum View Post
    On the canned responses and attrition points, I'm torn. It makes sense and props to those doing it, but on the other hand, if I was doing the same, I would believe that I'm not all that needed as an instructor. Then again, I see that education has morphed into a giant unnecessary hoop for most of the people passing through it, so no reason the holders of the hoops (the academics) can't be unnecessary either.
    Canned response does not mean it is not specific and personal. One class I taught was Computer Operations - 101. There was a discussion about the ethics of letting a friend "borrow" a copy of Microsoft Office (or Windows or something like that). Since you already paid for it, does it matter?

    Someone always says - it is okay and MS lets you load it on 3 computers. Or they say Bill Gates has enough money. Doesn't it make sense to have a canned response outlining the EULA with a link to it? Why research and retype the same thing time after time? How about a link to how much Bill gives to charity then ask if it is acceptable to steal from WalMart since they have enough money...and donate less then 3% of their net worth?

    After teaching the same class you know what the students are going to say, to some extent, and you know what a well thought out response should include.

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