Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Distressing note leads to diatribe

    A loyal reader wrote a note that was for me most distressing. I present a culled, anonymized version:

    … I also work as an "instructional designer." It is kind of bogus work, though, mostly doing grunt work for existing professor to build online classes, further depleting the need for actual living, breathing, teachers. Most of these teachers are building classes outside of their core competency, which is easy, they just read the textbook manufacturer's provided power points into a camera and no student interrupts to actually find out if they really know what they are talking about. I transcribe said powerpoints into HTML and it pays as much as I probably deserve as an entry-level assistant professor. But 40-hours a week without vacation.

    I recently took this job when I relocated to [southern state]. The colleges and Universities down here pay $550 per credit hour, so as the fall semester winds around I may be forced to turn this down, or to "moonlight" as an adjunct instructor just one or two classes. How much teaching do you do vs. "consulting?" My ID job is full time, so I don't know if they would let me go down to part time or "consulting," but that might make giving my time away for free in the profession I really wish to pursue, manageable.

    I find many parts of this note distressing, in order:

    • The writer is not employed as an Instructional Designer (I mean no disrespect, we work where we can), but rather an instructional destructor. No good can come from reading PPTs, whether in person or {shudder} on video
    • If a professor is moving his materials online, he should only do so when he himself knows enough to perform the necessary tasks. If he outsources these skills, his students will know. They will pity and loath said professor. More educational destruction will ensue
    • The writer does not deserve (as s/he seems to indicate) to put up with a job like this. Even entry-level asst. profs should be able to design and craft the material – true instructional design – rather than convert the bloviating of others.
    • My advice is to look for night classes to adjunct. I have found that these students are more motivated (your job easier) and willing to put forth effort (your job easier). Community Colleges are a great place to adjunct. Really. If you are doing for the love of teaching, ignore the cattle-call university courses and go CC. Just keep your day job. One has to, like in any mission field, eat.
    • I wish the writer luck.

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    Would you like me to read this to you? Listen


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I love this post. You really made my day as a fellow instructional designer. Well, kind of. That was my title anyway.

    Friday, August 10, 2007  
    Blogger Piss Poor Prof said...

    How does your own story fit with this one?

    Monday, August 13, 2007  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sorry for the lapse in time. My job was not nearly as bad as described by the previous author. However, the term "instructional designer" was loosely used to refer to anything from faculty administrative assistant to general technician. I just loved the term you used "instructional destructor." On the other hand, I think the faculty members and college producing this kind of system are as responsible as instructional designers in this scenario for producing shitty "instruction."

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007  
    Blogger tummy tuck said...

    Sometimes we need a resource for finding online degrees. This link will allow you to do a search of a large database of schools all wanting your enrollment.

    Sunday, March 23, 2008  

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