5 Strategies For Managing Instructional Workload In The Online Classroom
While faculty teaching campus classes quickly learn to manage their teaching time as a function of the scheduled class time, the ubiquity of the online classroom often leaves faculty unsure where to start and where to stop. Combine this lack of natural boundaries with an overwhelming number of online resources and instructional technologies and faculty teaching online often find themselves overworked and overwhelmed. But to be effective, faculty must do more than limit their time--they must prioritize instructional activities to maximize the educational impact of the time invested. Simply put, time investment alone is not going to produce a high-quality learning experience; faculty must spend time in activities that matter, and when this time is available, they need to know what to pay attention to, what to ignore, and what to automate.
With no natural boundaries and an overwhelming number of instructional resources available, faculty must invest their limited teaching time in activities that make a meaningful impact in the online classroom. This presentation overviews five key strategies for maximizing the impact of online teaching time without burdening your workload.
Despite the 24/7 nature of the online classroom, a faculty’s teaching time is limited. Time, attention, and priority management are challenging in all teaching environments. The issue is intensified in the ubiquitous online classroom. Where faculty juggle traditional teaching duties while simultaneously managing an ever-growing list of instructional technologies, endless educational resources, and a host of pedagogical tasks (facilitating discussions, grading, feedback, content development, one-to-one communication, etc.). Despite a plethora of research highlighting best practices for online teaching, there is little explanation of HOW faculty can realistically implement these best practices while maintaining a reasonable workload. To be effective, faculty need to know more than WHAT to do; they need the skills, abilities, and tools to efficiently implement pedagogical strategies. Effective and efficient online teaching rests on prioritizing teaching time to focus on high-impact instructional activities that promote interaction, presence, and participation. The key is to teach smarter, not harder (or longer).
- Prioritize teaching activities that have the most significant impact in the online classroom
- Create a teaching budget to manage instructional time
- Design a teaching checklist to guide attention
- Choose between instructional activities as a function of their ROI
- Streamline repetitive teaching tasks
- Anticipate and prevent challenges in the online classroom
- Integrate technology to enhance teaching efficiency
- Faculty (full-time, adjunct, campus and online)
- Online Learning Administrators and Developers
- Curriculum Development
- Faculty Development and Training
- Any educator interested in learning more about managing instructional workload online
"It doesn’t matter how much time you spend teaching online if you are not spending your time on the right things. Effective and efficient online teaching involves more than simple time management. It mandates a holistic approach to online teaching that prioritizes available time to focus on high-impact activities while simultaneously streamlining repetitive tasks, eliminating no-value activities, and leveraging technology."
B. Jean Mandernach, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University. Her research focuses on enhancing student learning in the online classroom through innovative instructional and assessment strategies. In addition, she has interests in the development of effective faculty evaluation models, perception of online degrees, and faculty workload considerations. Jean received her B.S. in comprehensive psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, an M.S. in experimental psychology from Western Illinois University and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
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