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10 Tests Phases or Requirements for Online Instructors: Do U Qualify?
Friday, December 19, 2008
Last night, my friend, Dr. Lori Teng in Taiwan sent an email with a series of questions to Professor Ron Owston at York University in Toronto as well as myself. Ron had just been in Taiwan and perhaps had some useful insights for her. Lori wanted to know if there was a mandated governing board or accreditation body in the USA or Canada for e-learning. She also wanted to know if it perhaps differed by state, province, or region. In addition, Lori asked if there were any regulations related to required instructor time for teaching online or typical preparation commitment. These were great questions so I decided to post them as well as my naive response. I just hope Lori will not mind.

I thought about her questions for a minute or 2 and then responded and told her that here in the USA we rely on things like NCATE accreditation. But that is all that I know about. No other regulations. But what do I know?

Then I remembered that there were other rules and regulations in place. And I found a list of what she was looking for. Seems there are 10 requirements or test phases related to e-learning accredidation; at least here in the USA. See below.

1. Phase 1 test. Instructors must put in 100 hours per week and 1,500 hours during an online course. There is a very simple qualifying test here—-potential online instructors are placed in a testing room and asked to try to stay awake for 3 straight days. Toothpicks, Super Glue, coffee, Jolt, Mountain Dew, Fixx, and Red Bull are all freely provided. Those who can stay awake are allowed to venture to Phase 2 of the testing. Those who simultaneously use all the supplied items found in the room can skip Phase 2 and move right to Phase 3.

2. Phase 2 test. Instructors must be able to supply feedback on every student post; those who can type over 120 words a minute pass this requirement as do those who use a more "hunt and peck" typing system but do not need sleep or any professional or personal relationships. Those passing this test can proceed to Phase 3.

3. Phase 3 test. Instructors must take a personality test. If they score high enough on the patience subscale to put up with silly administrator tests like this one as well as the upcoming lack of support from such administrators, then they pass this phase and quickly move on to Phase 4.

4. Phase 4 test. In Phase 4, hopeful online instructors are asked to send 150 sample student emails in a 2 hour sit down test and are required to respond to all of them with tact, flexibility, and detailed explanations that have no hint of confusion. Those with the stamina to complete Phase 4 testing move on to Phase 5.

5. Phase 5 test. Potential instructors are given a class roster of 300-400 names for one online course section and asked if they are willing to take additional students or not. Those who do not flinch are given a second course roster with more than 5,000 names. Still no complaints? Ok you can move on to Phase 6.

6. Phase 6 test. Potential online instructors are sent a list of 20 typical online student excuses for late or uncompleted work (e.g., global warming protest rallies got in the way; I was using the wrong type of computer; my RAM was in a jam; password does not work; forgot I signed up for this course; had to go to grandmother’s for apple pie; etc.) and asked how they would deal with it. If successful, it is on to Phase 7.

7. Phase 7 test. Potential instructors must sign up and take an online course (or part of such a course) and display sufficient skill in being obnoxious, condescending, and angry while simultaneously showing their naiveté whenever possible to frustrate the instructor. Only the really obnoxious and seemingly naive are allowed to proceed to Phase 8.

8. Phase 8 test. Potential instructors are given the mobile phone numbers, Skype names, Facebook accounts, Ning affiliations, Skype addresses, and MSN handles of 100 expert online instructors and are asked to contact all of them within a 24 hour span seeking solutions to special problems that they might encounter when teaching online (all problems are provided by the test administrator). In order to pass this phase, they must receive answers for all of them using each form of technology. Anyone left remotely sane after Phase 8 is immediately sent to Phase 9.

9. Phase 9 test. At this point, an NCATE accreditation agent must interview all remaining online instructor hopefuls for an extremely grueling 5 hour time period about their supposed online skills and experiences. While it is quite doubtful anyone is left at this point, those still remaining and wanting to be an online instructor can push on to Phase 10.

10. Phase 10 test. Online instructors cannot be named “Ron” or “Lori” for some reason. And that may be good news for all the “Ron’s” and “Lori’s” of the world as well as their families.

Ok, that is the 10 steps or test phases that I was told about. If you have heard of additional ones, please let me know.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 9:24 PM  
  • At 5:55 AM, Blogger MW (My Wish) said…

    You cracked me up, Dr. Curt. It was so funny and I was amazed by how witty you were to come up with all these in less than two minutes.

    No I don't mind at all. Cheers, and thanks again for the ideas you and Ron shared :)

  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Ok, glad you like Lori.

  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger grace said…

    I like #8

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

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