17 July 2016

Course Workload Estimator tool

With syllabus prep now underway for many university instructors, we share this interesting tool from Rice University's Center for Teaching Excellence: Course Workload Estimator.

As the tool's creators note, these are just estimates based on students' self-reporting, as "there is very little research about the amount of time it takes the average college student to complete common academic tasks." The authors provide their rationale regarding how they calculated their reading and writing rates for the tool, and invite feedback on the tool based on instructor and student experiences/ research.

Even so, instructors might find this tool useful for calculating their expectations of students' work outside of meeting hours. Including and flagging a link to this tool for students on a syllabus, early in course, or in online course platforms might help students better manage their time across all of their courses.

I punched in some estimated numbers for the second-year core concepts course that I am planning for September, where there will be one major assignment and test each semester, with other assessment taking place during course meetings. So, at a minimum (40 pages of readings assigned each week), my students should expect to spend at least 3 hours preparing this course each week. Good to know.