Below are some frequently asked questions prospective instructors have about teaching online for the International Import-Export Institute (IIEI) and Dunlap-Stone University (DSU).
What is Dunlap-Stone University?
Dunlap-Stone University is a nationally accredited college committed to excellence in online, distance learning programs. It’s International Import-Export Institute offers classes and certification programs in international trade topics, while the College of Arts and Letters offers general education programs.
What qualifications do I need to teach online?
DSU requires an advanced graduate degree, and looks for professional experience and some teaching experience in the subject area or related field.
What kind of computer and technical skills do I need to teach online?
Almost any PC or Macintosh computer will allow you to access our online learning platform, called FirstClass. You’ll also need access to the Internet for ten to fifteen hours a week. Dial-up will suffice, but many instructors prefer faster internet connections.
Extensive technical skills are not necessary to teach online. You should, however, have a basic understanding and comfort with tools such as a word processor, email, an Internet browser, and search engines. Instructors are expected to be able to comfortably browse the Internet, utilize word processing and email, cut and paste, and switch between windows and applications.
How is online teaching different from traditional classroom teaching?
DSU’s highly interactive classroom model emphasizes discussion and inquiry-based learning in which the instructor serves as a facilitator of knowledge. Courses are developed by subject matter experts who understand adult learning. The learning process attempts to incorporate the work, life, and educational experiences of the students and the instructor. DSU students are often working professionals with years of experience. The online process requires both instructors and students to take active roles.
When and where do classes take place?
The courses take place wherever you can connect to the internet: at home, at work, or on business travel. Our courses are generally six weeks in length, have a specific start and stop date, and are organized by week. Our courses are asynchronous-not in real time-which means that within each week you and your students may log in at a time that is most convenient for you. Instructors must log in at least five times per week to give timely feedback and interact with their students. You will communicate with your students in a shared classroom space featuring threaded discussion forums, not merely by exchanging email. Although communication is primarily asynchronous, a real-time chat is available.
How many students will be taking my class?
Enrollment in each instructor-led online course is limited. Most classes are no larger than 20 students, allowing you to give adequate attention to your students and affording ample opportunities for students to collaborate with their virtual classmates.
I’ve taught face-to-face for years—will I miss interacting with my students?
Many instructors assume that they’ll feel isolated from their online students. However, most instructors find that online courses actually provide a high degree of personal contact, and many say that they get to know their online students much better than students in on-the-ground courses. DSU’s courses offer more opportunities for reflection, in-depth discussion, and interaction than a traditional course that meets once or twice a week. Instructors and students can communicate directly, or everyone in the class can be involved in group- and class-level discussions. The online format encourages and requires communication it in ways that would be impossible otherwise.
How much time does it take to prepare for and teach an online course?
If you have never taught online before, you’ll need a minimum of three months to prepare. DSU will work with you to complete an appropriate training program. Once you begin teaching your first course, you should log on a minimum of five times per week to participate in your classroom discussions and interact with your students. Dependent upon the subject matter and size of the course as well as the assignments, instructors spend between five and twelve hours per week teaching. If you cannot budget this minimum amount of time to prepare for and teach your online course, please do not consider teaching at this time. DSU expects that contracted instructors commit a realistic amount of time to the courses they teach.
Who owns the course I will teach?
DSU and its composite schools fully own all of the courses offered in its virtual classroom. Please see the instructor contract for additional information.
Will I need to buy and learn to use complicated software?
You will not need to buy anything. DSU utilizes a user-friendly free program called First Class for all of its courses.
What will I learn in the Instructor Training Course?
The training program is conducted entirely online. It is a comprehensive course that combines software training along with lessons in the methods, approaches, and practical techniques for teaching online. Successful completion of this training is required of all new online instructors. This is to ensure your comfort in the online classroom and your effectiveness as an online instructor.
Who will help me if I run into problems?
During training and after, administration of DSU is prepared to help. Once your course begins, you may contact the University administration about issues concerning you or your students. Technical support, curriculum support and administrative guidance are all available.
What makes an effective online instructor?
An eagerness to engage students in meaningful discussion, thoughtful assessment of student work, preparation and knowledge of the subject matter are all critical tools for online instructors.
What sort of payment can I expect?
Instructors are paid based upon a sliding scale dependent upon the number of students in the class, academic experience, length of the course and the length of time they have taught for DSU.
How do I apply to teach online?
You can apply by submitting the required documents listed here.