With many states feeling the pinch of an uncertain economy, the shortage is felt most keenly by the many schools and universities that depend on public support. Offering more online courses and distance learning programs is one answer to this crisis. Qualified, tech-savvy professors can become distance education instructors by teaching courses online in their fields of study.
Distance learning instructors are becoming increasingly important in K-12 classes for rural areas. Due to decreased funding, many rural schools are taking advantage of the connectivity that technology offers and are using distance education to serve the educational needs of communities separated by long distances. If you’re interested in becoming an elementary or postsecondary teacher, consider the benefits of becoming a distance education instructor.
Distance education instructors are often credentialed teachers who work in traditional campus classrooms. In some cases, college professors receive pay incentives for teaching distance education classes in addition to on-campus classes. Beyond the bachelor’s or master’s degree in the specific area of study, a supplemental course in teaching with technology is recommended.
Distance learning instructors use various types of technology to educate their students. Television-taught courses have been used in the past, and online classes are becoming increasingly popular as schedule-friendly alternatives for busy postsecondary students. Some colleges are even offering incentives for professors to teach distance learning classes in addition to their campus-taught courses.
Distance education instructors rely heavily on the Internet, e-mail and other software programs to teach. Syllabi and assignments are usually posted on school-sponsored message boards. Students can access their assignments and turn them in online by either posting them on a public message board or e-mailing them directly to the instructor. Distance education teachers are also able to take students’ questions via e-mail or by a scheduled chat session. Grades are usually e-mailed directly to students after the class is over.
Distance education teachers are also assisting schools in rural areas. Class sizes in these communities are often small and students are separated from the school and each other by long distances. By offering elementary and secondary education classes via distance learning, school districts are able to better maintain their budget while still offering students remote access to their classes.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time postsecondary educators earn a median of $56,120 per year. The Rural School and Community Trust’s website lists the average annual salary of a full time K-12 distance learning teacher as $32,695.