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A (Critical) Distance: Contingent Labor, MOOCs, and Teaching Online

A (Critical) Distance: Contingent Labor, MOOCs, and Teaching Online
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Author(s): Laura Howard (Kennesaw State University, USA)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 22
Source title: Teacher Training and Professional Development: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5631-2.ch001

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Abstract

The increase in demand for higher education has resulted in a surge of online courses and degree programs across the US and worldwide. Calls for open access learning options and more cost-effective higher educational opportunities have contributed to this rapid increase, especially in the form of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. For educators and scholars, the evolution of MOOCs and the enthusiastic rhetoric surrounding them necessitates a critical examination. One such area for examination is the relationship between MOOCs and the contingent faculty crisis, especially how the evolution of MOOCs could hurt or help online contingent faculty. Arguably, the concept of the MOOC as a mode of delivery may present opportunities to subvert instructional delivery methods and other elements of the online distance learning status quo that create challenges for contingent faculty online. Ultimately, this chapter offers insight into the issues faced by part-time instructors teaching online, especially in terms of the material realities of the work they do and how their experience is distinct from that of the face-to-face (f2f) contingent instructor. Important to this discussion is how a shift in our conception of MOOCs as an instructional approach may offer new perspectives for online contingent labor in higher education. Overall, the goal of this work is to raise awareness and to advance scholarly discussion of this topic, understanding MOOCs as one potential site of resistance and change.

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