Online adjunct faculty always teach at multiple schools. We have to do this if we want to teach full time because adjuncts are permitted only a certain number of courses per term (or per year) at any one school. There is simply no other way for an online adjunct to maintain full time work. I am not teaching online to supplement a “day job” — my career is full time online teaching and that means a full course load on a year round basis.
Loyalty and commitment are very important to all online adjuncts but it is a two way street. Some schools hire huge adjunct pools and are not consistent in providing steady work for online adjuncts. I prefer to maintain long-term working relationships with schools that consistently provide classes for me to teach every term. In return, I maintain availability to teach those classes every term. Adjunct teaching is not a traditionally secure career by any means and I highly value the working relationships that I have with directors of online programs, faculty chairs, and other personnel who may be responsible for scheduling online classes.
There has to be a mutual understanding on everyone’s part when it comes to adjunct online teaching. I understand that low enrollment may mean canceling one of my classes at the last minute. Similarly, the directors know that I depend upon my teaching salary, which depends upon my teaching a specific number of courses each term. If one school offers an additional class prior to the term start date, I will most likely accept because there is always the possibility that another course somewhere else may be canceled at the last minute, in which case I would not have enough courses for that term. Sometimes taking an additional course at one school means that I won’t be available for a last-minute extra class at another school unless a course somewhere else cancels.
Full time online teaching is a balancing act that happens every term and everyone has to remain flexible because enrollment determines how many classes are offered each term, at each school. My advice is to find schools whose directors know and understand the concerns and issues inherent in maintaining full time teaching on an adjunct basis.