The staffing needs of online learning programs vary based on program type. The following are staffing categories that you should consider for your program:
- Admissions Staff: The admissions staff is responsible for recruiting and enrolling students into your program. Not all online learning programs will have a formal admissions team. Admission teams are more common for full-time programs. For some programs, student recruitment will be part of the marketing and sales staff or client support staff. Other programs will make enrollment responsibilities part of the operations or client support staff duties.
- Business Office: The business office is responsible for all the financial aspects of your organization ranging from budgeting to getting your bills paid. If your program is part of a larger organization, you may not need to have a dedicated business office as these services are provided by your parent organization.
- Client Support Staff: When a school needs to sign-up to participate in a supplemental program before a student from the school can enroll in online courses, the program frequently has a client support team. In such cases, this team functions similar to an admission team for full-time programs, but the focus is more on the school than the individual student.
The client support staff may be responsible for school recruitment (if this is not the responsibility of the marketing and sales staff), supporting the schools and individual students through the enrollment process and providing ongoing support to the participating schools. Some programs will choose to have the operations staff members provide some of the support. Another potential responsibility of the client support staff is the training of the local school staff.
- Course Development Staff: If your program decides to build their own courses, a course development staff will be required. The topic of course production is covered in detail in the Curriculum section.
- Human Resources: Just as in the case with a business office, if your program is part of a larger organization, typically your parent organization will provide your HR services.
- Instructional Staff: At a minimum your instructional staff will be composed of your online teachers and a person that is responsible for supervising the instructors, often a principal but some online learning programs utilize a Coordinator or Manager of Instructors for this role.
The instructional staff may also include department or team leaders and mentors for your teachers. Both department/team leaders and mentors are typically experienced online teachers and may continue to have teaching responsibilities for your program.
While in a brick-and-mortar school, teachers are nearly always full-time, online learning programs often employ a mixture of full-time teachers, part-time teachers, adjunct faculty, and teachers that have both online and traditional classroom instruction responsibilities.
- Local School Staff: Many supplemental programs will require that the local schools provide specific staff such as a site coordinator and mentors for the online students. If your program requires local school staff, you will be able to reduce or eliminate other staff requirements, primarily in the student support staffing area.
- Marketing and Sales Staff: Some online learning programs will have staff dedicated to marketing and sales functions while other programs may include these responsibilities within admissions or client support staff. Depending on your program your marketing and sales efforts may be directed to individual families/students, participating schools, or both.
- Operations Staff: The operations staff has responsibility for the nuts and bolts aspects of your online learning program. This includes staff that will operate the various administrative systems such as the Learning Management System and Student Information System as well as the integration of the various systems.
The operations staff may also be responsible for items such as registration and reporting needs including progress reports and transcripts. Helpdesk services are also part of the operations staff, although some programs will outsource helpdesk services to one of their administrative system vendors.
- Program Management: At minimum, program management will include the program director, but may also include senior management responsible for the various functions described in these staffing categories.
- Student Support Staff: Student Support staff is another area that will depend on the type of online learning program. Full-time online programs will need to provide guidance counselors and perhaps other student support staff such as social workers. Supplemental programs that require participating schools to provide local staff, may not require any student support staff.
- Technology Support Staff: If you decide to host any of your own administrative systems, such as your LMS or SIS, you will require the necessary technology support to operate these systems. If your program is part of a larger organization, your parent organization may provide these services.
- Training Staff: Some programs will have dedicated training staff that are responsible for providing training to local school staff, as well as new program staff and faculty. Other programs will distribute these responsibilities to several staffing areas.