Online Adjunct Professor pay

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by anngriffin777, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Let's say you graduated from University of Phoenix, and half your grades were "A" and the other half were "A-". According to UoP grading guidelines, an "A" is worth 4.00 points, and an "A-" is worth 3.67 points, so your Grade Point Average would be 3.835 points.

    But the same policy indicates that a GPA of 3.85 is needed to qualify for Honors, which means that a GPA of 3.835 wouldn't qualify. So you could get a grade of "A" or "A-" in every course at UoP, and that would not be considered exceptional.

    The implication is that UoP either has very high standards for graduating with Honors, or else they give out a whole lot of "A" and "A-" grades. It would be interesting to see the actual grade distribution at UoP, or the average GPA of graduating students.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2013
  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    For comparison, at the University of Chicago (a B&M school with a reputation for tough grading), students graduate with honors if they maintain a 3.25 GPA. That's between a "B" and a "B+".

    So at Phoenix, you could have an "A" or "A-" in every class (without a single B), and the resulting GPA would not be considered worthy of honors.

    At Chicago, you could have a "B" or "B+" in every class (without a single A), and you would be honored for maintaining a high GPA.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2013
  3. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    I've been with UOP the longest (though she wasn't my first). I've taught the same class for 5+ years. Between 12-18 times a year. 20 students each time. I've had 1 student finish with 1000/1000. Class average is almost always a B-. Feedback reveals that I am "not easy" but those that do well say that they "were pushed to succeed."
    I've had a number of students (not just UOP) write me in the last week or two of their course to say that they have a 4.0 and want to keep it. I've even had students write me (very sarcastically) thanking me for "ruining" their chance at a 4.0.
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Good for you, but you seem to be more the exception than the rule. I cannot live with myself just giving As to every single student but it also gets tiring to justify grades to students and many are used to the A grade.

    A colleague of mine mentioned once something that summarizes it all, he told me "The school gets what they pay for, if the school pays a thousand bucks for a class, they cannot expect the instructor to grade papers meticulously".

    If the adjunct is poorly paid and needs to teach 8 classes per 6 week term to make a living, the school cannot expect the instructor to spend the same time per class as an instructor that only teaches two classes per term (typical tenure track load).
  5. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Oh absolutely. The schools that pay $3,200 a course are graded with more attention to detail than those that pay under $1,000.
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree, for this reason many instructors don't bother and just give As. Many figure that this way they can cut their marking time and avoid complaints from students.

    I don't think students would be very happy to find out that every single student was graded with an A in a class, if some of these schools were to release class grade distributions, many students would just switch schools knowing that their degrees would not be worth much in the market.
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    You also have to add to the equation the fact that UoP has very low standards for admission. There is also the instructor's salary, if a UoP teacher gets paid thousand bucks per class, you cannot expect this instructor to give the same attention and time to an instructor that gets paid 100K plus per year at the U of Chicago.
    The tenure factor is also an issue, most instructors at the UoP are on a course by course contract, they cannot afford to be tough as this might reflect on their course evaluations while the UoC instructor with tenure can care less about the winning students.

    I am convinced that in order to have quality education, you need to have well paid instructors. Schools that pay very low salaries, cannot expect to offer quality education.
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Good for you, I don't want to turn this into a discussion of my degree is better than yours or your doctorate is not good because is from an online school. If you are happy with your education and works for you, there is no reason to bash it.

    The discussion is about the bad conditions for an online instructor and the problems with the model of education that some schools follow. The model is great to make money but my concern is the exploitation of faculty and the low standards of education.

    Some schools are taking action, I know Devry is making an effort to compensate instructors with decent salaries and have quality standards to evaluate instructors not only based on course evaluations but on performance in the class room.

    I have worked only for 4 for profit schools and must say that Devry was the best in terms of standards and salaries.
  9. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The implication is that you are not to give them less than an A because it would ruin their 4.0 GPA. Don't you dare do that -- or else! The same thing has happened to me a couple of times.
  10. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Standard reply: "Thanks for your email. I don't "give" grades, students "earn" them. If the quality of work submitted (and the timeliness in which it is submitted) meets the criteria for an A, then an A will be assigned."
  11. jhp

    jhp Member

    How open would you be for extra work to compensate for the weak area?

    I have had an adult student ask for extra work on the subject matter they lacked, to show they now know it.
  12. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    This is a typical one, why would you have to work extra as a low paid adjunct just to please a weak student? The student did not work over the semester but now expects you to work extra by preparing and grading extra work, does it make sense?.

    Some schools have a clear policy against it, the problem is that even if one instructor does it, this creates a precedent for the school so others need to offer it as well as students can always refer to the instructors that allow it.
  13. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

    I taught two classes at GCU this past year, which paid per student. On average, I made around $1,000 per accelerated course and spent the good part of every evening responding to student posts, grading assignments, and compassionately supporting angry students on the phone who were not happy with their grades.

    One other note... my course approvals were mysteriously "canceled" by the dean of the college, and had access to email and all other GCU websites denied, after two straight months of flagging and failing students who plagiarized. I'll let you interpret that in whatever way makes sense to you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2013
  14. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    If you want to keep your job at an online school, you need to follow two simple rules :"Never say no to a contract" and "Don't fail students that submit work".

    I have been given speeches multiple times on how much money cost to enroll students and we cannot afford to let them go. Few solutions given to me include to give "make up work" to improve grades or to call students to give advice on how to improve grades. Now, tell me why a low paid instructor should start calling students for academic advising and grade extra work, why not just do like most of the online instructors and just give mainly As and few Bs to make it look credible and avoid the headaches and stay employed?

    The chairs of online schools are also under pressure to keep students otherwise they are let go, it is normal that they will not renew the contract of the "strict" instructors.

    It seems to be a conflict of interests between providing a quality education and making money. It shouldn't be the case but the problem with the opens admission of many of the online schools is that they enroll a lot of weak students but then expect the instructors to pass them.

    The result of this mess is the lost of credibility of online degrees. It is not in the best interest of the students that put lot of money in their education but it seems that a lot of these schools are there for a quick buck.
  15. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Interesting experience. I've been with GCU since 2008. Courses are usually $2,000 unless it has low enrollment. I've had 2-3 phone calls in 5 years.

    GCU overhauled the course approval process a few years ago and my offerings increased. Perhaps you didn't meet the criteria? I've pretty regularly submitted plagiarism (code of conduct) and pretty regularly failed a student here and there. It has never negatively impacted my course offers.

    In fact, when other schools seem to be moving away from overlapping courses (because of ACA concerns), GCU hasn't had an issue with this dynamic and has offered overlapping courses pretty much all year.
  16. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Again, not my experience. I've worked for 9 schools starting in 2007. I've said no to lots of contracts. I've even canceled one that was accepted. In the latter situation, I called the scheduler and explained the situation (once when my wife was on bedrest and once when I was trying to wrap-up my dissertation). I had no negative results.

    I've failed tons of students - even in a capstone course. I've never been asked to give them extra work. I've had a plagiarism report overturned one time.

    I'm not saying that my anecdotal experience is the rule and that yours is an exception... but will note that these sorts of concerns haven't been an issue in my 6 years (2+ years of doing it full-time).
  17. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Not where I teach. I have said no to contracts (not often) and I fail people all the time (give what they earn). I have failed 25% to as high as 75% of the class and continue to get work from the school.
  18. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    I grabbed one of my current classes as a random sample. It's about halfway through with the following results, so far:

    26 students total
    A 16
    D+ 4
    D 2
    F 4
    (W 2)

    By the end of the class there will be many more B and C grades.
  19. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    GCU class that ended last week:
    A 1
    A- 2
    B 2
    B- 1
    C+ 1
    C 1
    F 1

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