Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Workload Management Strategies for Online Educators

Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Workload Management Strategies for Online Educators

Article excerpt

Abstract

With increased use of online education, both students and instructors are adapting to the online environment Online educators must adjust to the change in responsibilities required to teach online, as it is quite intensive during the designing, teaching, and revising stages. The purpose of this study is to examine and update workload management strategies developed by Rag an and Terheggen (2003) and to investigate new emerging strategies, A modified Delphi method was used wherein the participants, business education online educators and trainers, were asked to revise current workload management strategies and to add emerging strategies. These workload management strategies provide a course of action (1) for those teaching online courses to help them reduce workload, (2) for online instructors acting in the role of course designer, and (3) for external course designers and administrators through valuable institutional support.

Workload Management Strategies for Online Educators

In 1972, the International Council for Correspondence Education coined the term "distance education" (Moore, 1990). Since that time, distance education has evolved from correspondence study to interactive, workload intensive online education. Online education has progressed to include synchronous and asynchronous learning in pure or hybrid online environments (Huebner & Weiner, 2001; Williams, Paprock, & Covington, 1999).

Teaching online has the reputation of requiring more work than teaching in a traditional classroom. No exact answer exists as to how much time is required to develop and implement an online course, but the literature has noted that "based on much anecdotal evidence plus real experience over the last 10-15 years of building computer-based materials, we can say with some level of certainty that it can take an average of about 18 hours - of faculty time - to create an hour of instruction that is on the Web" (Boettcher, 2006, p. 2). When looking at a three semester hour course, one can discern that approximately 36 hours of class time (hours of instruction) is expected.

Thirty-six hours of class time is based on a course that meets twice per week for 1.25 hours per class meeting (2.5 hours per week). Therefore, approximately 650 hours (18 hours to create one hour of instruction ? 36 class hours) would be required to transfer a traditional three semester hour course to online. These 650 hours are calculated for creation time only and do not include learning-curve time for such issues as technology, copyright, and compliance, all of which increase the hours necessary to implement an online course fully. Consequently, the importance of workload management strategies for teaching online cannot be overlooked.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine and update workload management strategies developed by Ragan and Terheggen (2003) and to investigate new emerging strategies. The finalized list, created through a modified Delphi study, represents effective workload management strategies for online educators.

Objectives of the Study

As the learning environment continues to change, e-instructors must modify instructional strategies and learn how to manage the workload of teaching online. Thus, the objectives of this study are to (1) examine and update existing workload management strategies, (2) develop accurate descriptions of the workload management strategies, (3) investigate new and emerging strategies, and (4) provide workload management strategies to online educators, trainers, course developers, and administrators. With increased use of online education, both e-students and e-instructors are adapting to the online environment. Learners have developed from passive receivers into active participants and instructors have adapted from information providers into consultants and facilitators throughout the learning experience (Hang & Liaw, 2004). …

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