lundi 13 octobre 2014


Following is just a a short rant about how we, teachers, are often oblivious to the amount of work we give to our students.

For instance, it is expected that an average graduate 3 credit course requires 10-15 hours of work at home. At the same time, a full time student in a non research masters program is required to take at least 12 credits (4 courses in this scenario) in order to qualify for full time. Let us now count:
Courses themselves : 4 x 2.5 hours = 10 hours
Additional workload: 4 x 10 = 40 hours minimum OR 4 x 15 = 60 hours
That makes us a grand total of 50 hours minimum and 70 hours maximum of workload. I do not know if you have ever experienced 60 hours workload but let me tell you it is not fun. Certainly, it is not appropriate for a good and deep learning experience.

Now you will tell me that this is not possible. I agree that this is hard to believe but here comes a real workload for a week:

  • A short chapter to read: 17 pages
  • Another short chapter to read: 25 pages from Teaching and Technology: New tools for new times by Fishman and Dede
  • A few chapters for a book club (around 45 pages)
  • Make at least 4 tweets on the subject of the course (of course, reading other tweets is part of the expectation too)
  • Post a short reflection on previous course
  • Start work on the final project (4 to 6 hours per week)
All of this results in an average of 85 pages per week of reading plus reflections publications etc. For a person that reads, makes comments and really reflects on the topic, it does average out to 10 - 15 hours per course for a total load of 50 to 70 hours per week. Unfortunately, this is not all: the course also requires to prepare a presentation, to lead a discussion by posting questions on the topic etc. Overall leaning towards 15 hours/week and not 10 as one would hope.

What can be learned in such an environment? How deep and thoughtful are the reflections? Are all these readings required? 

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