The director straight up told me that OU Online is desperate for credibility and that having someone from United Hamster as a teacher looked good for them. I don't (particularly) need the money, but there is some not-insignificant payment for both putting the course together and "running" it when it is offered. It looks like the preparation is the most involved part. I gather that the lectures etc., are videos and my running the class is mostly answering questions from students, grading the assignments, etc. They may want to offer the class about twice a year, so I would be able to "run" it each time and get paid. If things work out, I will be paid to update the class as well. There is a pittance I can use to hire an assistant.
I said sure, why not. Now I'm panicking.
I have taught before, maybe fifteen years ago, as a grad student and also one year as a professional teacher (in liberal arts). The particular sub-specialty of the class (Hamster Financial Planning) is one that I last worked in about 10 years ago. I'm rusty, but I figured that I could do it with a good textbook and some time. I spoke to an old guy in my company who also teaches in the online program -- he told me that it was a terrible experience and a ton of work, but he also didn't own a computer before getting started and he basically picked an encyclopedia as the textbook. This made his life much harder, I think. He still teaches in the program. The class uses Blackboard. The students will be seeking a professional credential.
I'd like to do some teaching again, although I won't ever be face to face with the students. I have no experience with the technology. I have several months of lead time, but am pretty busy in general. As I said, the compensation is decent and possibly ongoing. I think it would look good for me to have done it, both with United Hamster and elsewhere.
Based on the above: Is this a good deal? Should I be worried about the work? Should I feel bad about participating in this online thing, or is it just the wave of the future? I really don't think I'm taking a position away from a starving adjunct, due to the nature of the class and what the director told me (i.e., they would probably ask other people from industry before they got to any academics). What problems would you anticipate?
Please share your collective, conflicting wisdom with me.
- Carlos from Calabasas