Teaching History For The University of Phoenix
A friend of mine, trained in history, applied to teach part-time for a sub-unit of the University of Phoenix—Axia College—a few months ago. Below are some “highlights” excerpted from his correspondence about the position. I left enough of his exchange to show you its legitimacy, but cut enough to get to the grimy details faster. Here goes:
Thank you for your interest in teaching for Axia College of University of Phoenix! …
Axia College of University of Phoenix Online
4045 S. RiverPoint Parkway| Phoenix, AZ 85040 |
AXIA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the Online Faculty Hiring Process? There are three stages to the process:
—1) Preliminary Evaluation: The preliminary evaluation may include an online interview as well as a phone interview, a resume and/or application review, a review of the campus’ instructional needs, and a review of specific course approval requests by the Deans.
—2) Functional Evaluation / Faculty Training: We provide intensive training on our conferencing software. We measure competency in the use of this software as well as appropriate online tone, online facilitation skills and Axia College policies and procedures. Candidate participation is the key for success during this stage. Pending a positive recommendation from the training facilitator, candidates are invited to continue the hiring process.
—3) Instructional Evaluation / Internship: In this “coaching” stage, instructional coaches evaluate candidates abilities to combine both course content and Online processes while facilitating an Online course. Pending a positive recommendation from the coach, candidates are invited to become faculty members of Axia College.
4. Do I need to be online at specific times during the functional evaluation (training) stage? No. Our online classroom software utilizes asynchronous communication.
5. What is the time commitment for the functional evaluation stage? Although many candidates spend an hour or so learning and interacting per day, some spend up to three hours a day on the required activities. Active participation is expected five out of seven days each week for the duration of the evaluation and may average about 15 hours each of these weeks.
6. What is the cost of the training? The training received during the hiring process is free of charge.
7. What are the expectations of Axia College instructors? The following is a list of points that outline the instructor expectations:
a. Manage the classroom to an appropriate level for entry level college students.
b. Use the materials provided without alteration.
c. Create a classroom environment that is focused on course content and detailed, timely feedback.
d. Instruct students on course content versus facilitating discussion every week.
e. Required Hours: Monday-Thursday, 4-8pm and Sundays, 5-9pm via email, newsgroups, and voice to voice contact to assist students with questions, provide support, and participate in brief classroom discussion.
f. Respond to checkpoint assignments and short answer assignments within 24 hours.
g. Email students proactively when they are late submitting assignments and/or are struggling in the class.
h. Provide individualized instruction to students who require additional assistance in their personal course newsgroup.
8. What is the time commitment for an Online course? Axia classes are 9 weeks in length. First time instruction requires an investment of preparation time reviewing the curriculum and organizing course notes. Initially, new faculty can spend from 15 to 20 hours per week facilitating a course. However, time spent in subsequent courses will be less as proficiency is developed.
9. What is the structure for each course? The courses are structured in a way so as not to overwhelm the students with assignments and discussion each week. They are designed to be challenging and meaningful without over-burdening the students or the instructor. The work required in each course will alternate between reading/discussion weeks and work weeks. During a reading/discussion week, students will have required reading and a multiple part discussion question. There may be 1-2 short assignments due during that week for which the University will provide an answer key to the instructor. During the work weeks, the students will be working on larger written assignments and will also have checkpoint assignments. The checkpoint assignments are short assignments to show that the student is progressing and gaining knowledge in order to successfully complete the larger written assignment.
10. What is the instructional model for Axia College of University of Phoenix? The following are a list of points that outline the instructional model:
Classes are 9 weeks in length.
Classes run Monday through Sunday.
New courses start every Monday in this year round program.
No learning teams.
Short answer questions will be built into curriculum.
Discussion questions will focus on content, not work experience.
Written assignments will be an integral part of the curriculum.
Some knowledge-based tests may be developed in future versions of the curriculum.
11. Am I limited to the amount of courses I can teach at one time or in a year? Instructors are limited to teaching 4 courses at one time. The University reserves the right to limit an instructor’s schedule based on performance and necessary coaching, but the current maximum is 4 courses. Should an instructor be able to meet all contractual obligations and perform at a high level, that instructor will be eligible to teach more than one class at a time.
12. Describe your compensation plan for active Associate Faculty.
Online faculty members are paid per course. Please refer to the following matrix for examples. Instructors will be compensated based on their teaching experience with Apollo Group (Axia College, University of Phoenix, and Western International University). All instructors that are new to the university or have taught for less than 3 years will start at Level I faculty. All instructors that have taught for 3 or more consecutive years with Apollo Group will be Level II faculty. If you are new to Apollo Group, you will start as Level I faculty. Faculty pay will be disbursed in 2 separate payments of 66% and 33% respectively. You must post attendance (which is taken automatically from your normal postings to the classroom newsgroups) for the first week to receive the first installment and you must post your grades in order to receive the second installment. The pay schedule will be posted on the Axia College faculty website. Axia College reserves the right to change the plan with notice to the faculty. The current compensation plan is as follows:
Axia College Course: 9 weeks, 3 credits
1-3 years: $1,235
After 3 years: $1,462
13. Can I teach with only a Bachelor’s degree? No. Axia College, in order to maintain its accreditation, requires that all instructors have an advanced degree.
14. I have not taught at a college/university. Am I still eligible? Yes. What is most important is that candidates are currently working in their field of study.
15. Do I need to be a resident of the US? Yes. …
16. Will I need to use my own Internet service provider to access Online courses? Yes. …
Here was my friend’s informal, philosophical response to the situation:
“I’m increasingly disheartened by what is happening in higher education and I really do believe that our talents as instructors and the like are slowly being devalued by distance learning just as the skills of artisans were devalued by industrialization in the 19th century.
The means of production have been consolidated in the hands of a relative few, and we are forced to fight amongst ourselves for the scraps they are willing to dole out. Academics even contribute to this by ensuring the creation of an oversupply of new profs, which means that jobs will remain scarce and wages will remain low, and creating the pool of labor from which the ever-growing number of adjuncts can be recruited.
In this way, the bourgeoisie is creating the proletariat and leading to its own destruction. (said in funny, ironic, academic voice) The parallels are eerie, and I’m not even a Marxist in real life. but it certainly fits into the pattern that he described. None of my friends feel forced to apply for jobs in places they’d rather not live; instead, they are able to dictate terms to their employers and are recruited at ever-higher salaries.
I’m young enough that I’d rather not spend the rest of my life watching what I do erode around me and defending it to increasingly hostile administrators, parents, alums, and trustees.”
Thoughts? Reactions? – TL