How Many Online Courses Is Too Many?
What is the maximum course load that an online instructor should undertake? Does the fact that a person can work at home provide the increased energy and stamina to teach more classes than a face-to-face adjunct? Is there a set saturation point when teaching effectiveness is diminished in the online environment? I believe there is, but what is the magic number? It is probably different for everybody and the number of classes is likely based on how much online teaching experience one has and the subject area being taught. There is a learning curve with online platforms, so experience does allow for better time usage. Writing intensive subjects can also be more time consuming due to the grading load and feedback requirements.
The institutions where I teach online all have class load limitations; they must feel there is a point where teaching effectiveness begins to diminish. One University has a two-course load maximum per nine-week session. You can teach an overload, but this requires Dean approval and cannot exceed four courses per term. Another University has a strict four-course per term load for experienced faculty, with terms ranging from five-to-nine weeks. This University will limit the load to two
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