August 9, 2022
Society has built this idea of a corporate ladder. The theory is that you start at the bottom of a company and keep moving up until you reach lower management, middle-management, executive management, and then the CEO level.
But, what if managing people isn’t for you?
In online learning, the idea is similar. Members of the online learning community who embody the leadership skills for management are often put through management 101 courses, professional development, and institutes. Outside of the university, there are multiple programs and institutes for faculty, instructional designers, and media specialists interested in becoming online learning leaders. However, this curriculum is often tailored towards budget planning, strategic decision making, and people management.
But, what of access? Equity? Inclusiveness? Copyright?
For part of my career, I fell into the corporate ladder. I started as an instructional designer and quickly become a leader on the team. Because of this, I began to truly believe that I wanted to be Director of Online Learning. I was encouraged to participate in online leader institutes and even started my EdD program with the intention of moving into an Educational Leadership position.
But, I realized within the first two years of being a manager that I’m not a huge fan of people.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma against those of us who have no desire to move up the corporate ladder. We are often seen as limiting ourselves, letting our leadership skills go to waste, a work horse, or even lazy. For those of us who have no desire for management in online learning, I propose an alternative route to use those leadership skills. Let’s grow our knowledge in our specific careers to become experts. We can truly focus on sharing information with one another, experimenting with the latest theories and pedagogy, and improving our online courses for student success.
Rather than moving towards becoming a director or management, I’ll continue growing my leadership skills to become a thought leader and go-to expert in access, equity, inclusion, and student success in online learning.