Over-length course material Key points from Fred Lockwood Estimating student workload, readability and implications for student learning and progression
What is over-length material? Course material that takes too long for students and staff
How long is too long? Longer than the credit time allocation. Longer than 40 hours total per week for the student.
Why can’t students just spend more time on study? Because they also work for money. Because they also have a life!
What is the issue for staff? Over-length material takes too long to prepare as well – unsustainable.
Whats’ the issue for the institution? Uses up resources too quickly. Limits potential to develop more courses (and therefore earn more money).
How can teachers get it right? Estimate time component for each section of the learning activities. Keep time allocations generous More is NOT better.
How long does it take to read? <ul><li>Easy material – 100 words per minute </li></ul><ul><li>Moderate material: 70 words per minute </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult material: 40 words per minute </li></ul>
How do students cope with over-length material? They don’t. They cut corners to save time. They become stressed and disheartened. They perform poorly. They quit.
Why don’t students just complain and get it fixed? Teachers don’t have time to listen. Students trust the material to be the right length – they think they are underperforming.
What needs to happen? Keep course material manageable within allocated timeframes – for the sake of students, staff and the institutions.