Teaching Online: Where Do Faculty Spend Their Time?

February 26, 2017

An understanding of online teaching time requirements provides essential information to inform scheduling, course size and instructor workload; in addition, awareness of the distribution of time across online teaching tasks provides insight to focus faculty efforts and tailor professional development to target instructional needs. The purpose of the current study is to examine the investment and distribution of instructional time as a function of instructor experience, class size and course duration. Findings reveal instructors spend 12.69 hours per week per online course (with an average class size of 22 students); teaching time is distributed across a range of instructional activities with approximately 40% spent on grading and feedback, 30% on discussion facilitation, 10% on asynchronous, one-to-one communication, 10% on synchronous communication, and 10% on content development. While there was a trend for novice instructors to require more time than more experienced faculty, there was not a relationship between instructional time and number of students in the course. Recognizing the ubiquitous nature of the online classroom lacks inherent benchmarks to guide start or stop times, results are discussed in relation to mental anchors that may influence faculty time investment in online teaching.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration