Time and teaching online

I’m working on a book chapter about time and teaching online. In this chapter, I consider the way in which time changes when teaching online. Some of the themes I see are these:

Amount of time: The amount of time you spend teaching online is likely increased. Even if it is the same amount of time as you would spend onsite, it at least feels like it is an increase in teaching time.

Fragmentation of time: When you teach online, rather than having a block of time dedicated to teaching (3.g. 1.5 hrs two times per week), the time is much more fragmented (e.g. 5 minutes to answer an email, 30 minutes to develop a 5 minute video, later 10 minutes to post an assignment, later 30 minutes to respond to discussion boards, with spaces in between the activities), so teaching is stretched over a longer period of time

Siphoning of time: The strectched time occurs over a longer period, so we may be less efficient. That means that time that could have been spent for other activities (researh or service) is lessened.

I think these are themes I see in the research anyway. Do research and practice align in this case? Do online teachers experience these changes?

I’ve been thinking about how to manage such changes effectively. The materials provided by POTCERT this week are very useful. I also found these videos from the Sloan Consortium:

Part 1:

Part 2:

While I thought these were useful, I thought it was interesting that they also felt quite long to me! I wanted text so I could move more quickly through the information…and thus make better use of my time!

2 thoughts on “Time and teaching online

  1. I think your questions are great: ” Do research and practice align in this case? Do online teachers experience these changes?” I wonder what others reading your blog post think about this analysis of time. The parts most interesting to me were how it might feel like more time. Feeling like it is more time is maybe all that is important to consider because perception can definitely create different reactions/feelings. I also wonder how many people schedule blocks of time to work on certain aspects of their online classes. Thank you for getting me thinking.

    • Several research studies have tried to document time spent designing and developing online courses, bu they’ve been inconclusive, in that some say more, some say less, some say same. What they _all_ agree on is that it _feels_ like more time. I agree that the findings are interesting…and they might suggest something about practice. Perhaps as you say, we should block out chunks of time, but….oops….just heard my email…have a message probably from a student…gotta go…


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