How to search for online college teaching opportunities?
October 21, 2019 4:18 PM   Subscribe

I have an M.S. in Geography (Physical Geography), and solid teaching experience. I'm interested in teaching courses online, yet I can't find any way to search in an aggregate way. Sites like HigherEdJobs are very low on online teaching gigs. General job search sites like Indeed seem lowish on college-level teaching gigs in general (and thus quite low when you narrow it down to a niche thing like online teaching). Yet if I go directly to college websites and look at the "Careers" sections, these jobs are definitely out there. Is there any way to do this search in bulk, or do I really have to separately apply to dozens or hundreds of colleges and universities separately until I run out of energy?

I understand that most of the opportunities are going to be online courses offered on the side by brick-and-mortar schools, rather than actual online colleges. My biggest focus will be on community colleges, as compared to other colleges and universities, they are a lot more likely to accept you if you only have an M.S. but strong teaching experience/references/student evals, as I do. Also potentially relevant, I have the background to teach a range of earth sciences, including physical and human geography, geology, soil science, and others (although I know geography is my best bet, because of my degree). This multiplies the number of searches I have to do even further, but does make for more opportunities as well.

I'm also open to totally different approaches, like applying to recruiters, etc.

If you'd like to communicate directly, I've created a throwaway Gmail account at

posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This sounds like an opportunity. Could you start something like this? Perhaps being seen as the go-to-person for online higher level teaching jobs will bring those jobs directly to you.
posted by avidreader at 5:33 PM on October 21, 2019

If you want to do this full-time at one institution, the listings will be in the Chronicle of Higher Ed and/or HigherEdJobs, as well as whatever geography-specific organizations there are (in art - my field - it's the CAA and Academic Keys). The fact that there are few listings is just indicative of the number of full-time positions available.

If you want to adjunct at either one or multiple institutions, a lot of schools do not publish adjunct needs on national sites (a few do), and many also don't publish them anywhere (even on their own employment page). The respective department heads at each institution are responsible for hiring adjuncts and I would hazard that the majority do so more through networking/alumni in the area/unsolicited CVs they receive for this purpose. So in my experience the best ways to find adjunct gigs are to A) network with regionally local department heads and people who might be friends with department heads and B) get your CV out to local and/or remote department heads. Unfortunately there's no bulk/aggregate way to do these in my experience.
posted by vegartanipla at 6:45 PM on October 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm a librarian at a state college and we do have an adjunct who teaches geography online, as well as a GIS class. He's local though, runs the county GIS stuff.

As far as I know all of the people who teach online courses here are somewhat local and most of them also teach some classes face to face, or have in the past. I suspect this is typical of brick and mortar colleges in the US.

Are you able to travel for a face to face interview? If so, have you tried checking the employment pages of every college within x distance?
posted by mareli at 2:33 AM on October 22, 2019

Having worked as a FT librarian at two community colleges, I've noticed that most of the teaching assignments for the online classes actually go to the full time faculty. When that is not the case, the adjuncts assigned to the online sections seem to be those who have been with the college for several years.

I'm sure there are many deliberate reasons for this, including trust. You might have better luck starting by teaching face to face (proving yourself in a way) and then transitioning to an online environment. It's also be worth being aware that if a course is not currently offered online, there might be a good reason - it might have already been considered/tried/unsuccessful.
posted by onell at 7:03 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are you on your AAG mailing lists? Or your regional org's mailing lists? When I see full time GIS online jobs, that's where they're coming from, though I'll agree with onell that online teaching assignments usually get parceled out to faculty who are teaching face to face and need to or want to do some classes online. I'm teaching online full time as of next semester (in a non-geo field) and it took several years at my institution for the position to develop.

Being able to teach other classes is definitely a plus; while many programs are big enough to a person who is the GIS geek and only teaches GIS, a lot aren't.
posted by joycehealy at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older 🛑 Unique Road Signs From Your Neck of the Woods...   |   What's a good short book/resource on the making of... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.