Why do instructors need to be concerned with workload when teaching online? How can instructional designers assist instructors who teach online? What can administrators in institutions of higher education do to support instructors who teach online? These are key questions that concern leaders in the field of online education and point to implications for future directions.
The workload can substantially impact instructors’ work and quality of life. Online quality education depends on how the course is designed and delivered; however, it is impossible to function and succeed in online teaching without infrastructure and support. When instructors identify strategies for managing workload ahead of time, they can better plan courses during the preparation stages of their online courses and during course delivery. Also, depending on the course discipline, enrollment, and other academic workload, instructors can allot time before the beginning of the course and be more efficient during the delivery of their courses.
Instructors need more than identifying workload strategies to succeed in online teaching. Institutional support can be the foundation for instructors to embark on online instruction. Institutional leadership and management can make it happen through incentives, rewards, and infrastructure support.
Learning designers can be supportive in assisting instructors to succeed online. By understanding strategies that best work for them, learning designers can help instructors organize, prioritize, and anticipate the various aspects of the course design process.
Administrators play a critical role in establishing, maintaining, and sustaining online offerings in higher education institutions. They are the ones who are responsible for administrative services, infrastructure support, and can provide instructor incentives and rewards. By understanding instructors’ workload for online offerings, they can make better policy decisions and identify sound procedures for different disciplines and course enrollment.
Our book, Managing Online Instructor Workload: Strategies for Finding Balance and Success, can have practical implications for online instructors, learning designers, and administrators. In addition, this book can help policymakers interested in modifying the fields of distance education, learning design, and educational technology to develop guiding principles related to teaching improvement. Our book can influence leaders in higher education to make pragmatic changes in online teaching and adequately address market demands.
Conceição, S. C. O, Lehman, R. M. (2011). Managing Online Instructor Workload: Strategies for Finding Balance and Success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.