Online education is growing and so is the need for full-time online faculty. For those who have become accustomed to traditional educational models and the historical buildings on campus they should expect a few differences before migrating to a full-time online position. Even though online teaching is rewarding it isn't for everyone due to the differences in the nature of work.
Some simply won't be able to work for long periods of time remotely and miss going onto campus everyday. Cultural shock is one of the reasons why hopeful professors seek to transfer back to campus based systems. However, some enjoy the experience and freedom to work from home that online teaching offers.
The type of work such as teaching, research, committees, publishing, and mentoring stay the same. Differences often include:
Interaction with Students: Interaction with students will be different. Even though there is email, phone, text and many other methods the overall process is remote. This is very different than meeting your students face-to-face every day. The interaction can be just as rewarding but takes on a different form.
24/7 Schedule: Where the traditional professor has a specific class schedule and office hours the online professor is engaged throughout the day and week. He/she may not need to be connected all the time and has flexibility to work at various times they generally check in often.
Interacting With Colleagues: Professors at traditional universities interact throughout the day and many times in face-to-face sessions. Online professors also interact but do so via virtual format. They do meet each other during conferences, special meetings and events.
Pre-Designed Courses: Depending on where someone works most course are going to be pre-designed in the online world. Online professors can implement and change curriculum but not to the same extent as a traditional university. The reason being that the online format requires programming and basic shells are applied.