n Education as Change - Between a rock and a hard place : faculty participation in online Classrooms

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Throughout academia, more and more instructors are spending time in electronic classrooms. Many of them believe that they are overworked and consequently underpaid. At the same time, administrators want instructors to be more active in online discussions. Consequently, instructors feel that they are caught between a rock and a hard place. This exploratory study asked administrators to create a set of expectations with respect to the frequency of content-related postings an instructor should make in an online discussion forum that is part of an online course. It also examined the performance of ten online instructors in the discussion forums of the online classes they were teaching in order to quantify the amount of time they were spending. Finally, the study projected how much time the instructors would have to spend to meet the administrators' expectations. The data indicate that while meeting administrator expectations would on average increase the workload of instructors by 50%, the amount of time actually spent is not onerous. This suggests that instructor perceptions of their workload may be being influenced by other factors, such as the structure of the discussion software or the pervasive belief that online communication has to be almost immediate.


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