How many students per online course?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by graymatter, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    One of my (seven) online schools just decided (well, some guy in leadership who has perhaps never facilitated an online course before) to expand class size.

    When I started there (Spring 2012), class size was 20. In the Fall of 2012, it was moved to 25. Now in the Summer of 2013, it is moving to 30! No increase in pay.

    Courses are 5 weeks in length. Rather typical format. Uses Blackboard. Two discussion questions + One paper + One quiz per week.

    Similar schools are 12-18 students. While this school does pay a little more, 30 still seems high.

    What are the class sizes for the online schools you work for?
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I've always had very small class sizes, but I taught for a specialized institution.

    In your opinion, do larger class sizes also impact the effectiveness of your courses, or do they just mean more work for the same pay?
  3. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    My Chemistry and Physics classes at USF in the 1990s held around 250 students and we had one teacher.
  4. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Most are around 20-25 for one school
    Another is 30 (up from 20 3 years ago)
    Another is 1-3. I have asked for only certain grad classes at one school and I usually get the low enrollment classes. The down side is that I do not get classes every semester. Sometimes they offer me one class per semester or none.
  5. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    To get full pay at my school, we need 28 students in an online course.

  6. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Wow. Ok. I should I should be grateful for the schools with 12-14 in class then.
    Thanks for giving me your perspectives!
  7. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    From a student's perspective, my current program averages 8-15 per class. It's lovely. Last year, I took a common core class that was open to everyone in several programs. I believe we had almost 40. It was the most UNenjoyable forum I'd ever participated in. The rest (reading, assignments, etc) we unaffected. The forum, in that size, is a complete waste of time. After about 2 days, I just signed in, replied per requirements, and clicked "mark read."
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There are two "loads" for teachers. First, there's instruction. Then there's evaluation (grading).

    You can do 250 students if (a) you're lecturing and not engaging in discussion and (b) you're using a standardized test that can be machine-graded.

    But when you're doing real teaching and grading real assignments, 15-20 students is way more reasonable. Each extra student represents extra work--there's very little in the way of economies of scale.

    You're getting a pay cut. It's up to you, of course, whether or not that pay cut is acceptable.
  9. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    Having taught at numerous places over the years, I have learned to value pay at an institution on a per-student/per-week basis. Anytime the pay dropped below that established level, I would look for opportunities elsewhere.

    What that level is for you is yours to determine, but I cannot imagine 30 students with that grading load to be worth it anywhere.

    Currently, I am full-time faculty which pays a salary+benefits for a contracted 450 students a year which is a much better route to go if you can get there than the $X per course or $Y per student.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2013
  10. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    The cap is 35 at my school. Yeah, when they are full ( this semester..Summer II..they are..I am teaching three of them), it can be taxing to grade essay tests (3) and research papers (10 pages minimum)...LOL
  11. ruthevans41

    ruthevans41 New Member

    There can be many students but usually depends on the school, But I think 15 to 16 students are enough.
  12. Boethius

    Boethius Member

    What is the pay like for teaching distance/online courses? Can someone please provide a range?
  13. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I have heard people getting around 2000 dollars per course. That is horrible if true considering a teacher can probably only do five courses per semester times four semesters which equates to 40k. Someone correct me if I am wrong on that 2k figure for adjuncts.
  14. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    One school is 5.5 weeks and pays $1,600 (average 3 students)
    One school is 12 weeks and pays $1,925 (average 25 students)
    One school is 12 weeks and pays $100 per student (average 25 students)
  15. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    It is really all over the map. My worst experience as an adjunct was $2000 for a 5-week course with 53 students (55 student would have bumped it to $2200). Another paid $300 per student, (11 week quarter) but the courses tended to have only 1-4 students. Another paid by level of the course: $1900 for undergrad courses (max 29 students, but average 20); $2500 masters courses (average 15-20 students); $3000 doctoral courses (average 10-15 students). These were 11 week quarters as well.
  16. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Wow. I started this thread when one of my gigs jumped from 22 students to 30 (with no bump in pay).

    Since we're playing the "you show me yours, I'll show you mine" game, here's my current list:

    Undergrad. 9 weeks. $1660. Average 16-20 students
    Undergrad. 5 weeks. $1250. Average 8-12 students
    Undergrad. 5 weeks. $975-$1250. Average 7-10 students
    Undergrad (same school as above). 5 weeks. Ind. Study for $300.
    Undergrad. 5 weeks. $2200. Average 22-24 students
    Undergrad. 8 weeks. $2100. Average 22 students
    Undergrad. 12 weeks. $900. Average 3 students
    Graduate. 8 weeks. $2000. Average 12-20 students
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    There is a large online database of adjunct faculty salaries (both B&M and online) at the "Adjunct Project" website. Adjuncts are encouraged to anonymously report salary info to this site.

    According to the Adjunct Project, the average salary nationwide for a 3-unit course is about $3000. But that includes B&M schools; online schools tend to be lower. For example, the reported medians are $1337 for University of Phoenix Online, $1250 for Ashford University, and $1325 for Colorado Technical University Online.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2013
  18. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    In general, the best adjunct jobs appear to be at top-ranked B&M schools, which commonly pay in the $5000 to $10000 range according to the Adjunct Project. Examples in California include $8333 at Stanford, $5250 at USC, and $7041 at Berkeley.
  19. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    One further point about adjunct salaries: they may not improve in the future. The compensation is obviously low, but there seems to be a steady supply of new graduates who are interested in online teaching, and so the schools apparently don't need to offer higher salaries to attract qualified people.

    For example, Argosy University Online cut adjunct pay significantly last year (from $2200 to $1600 for undergrad courses, and from $2700 to $1800 for graduate courses). Yet they still seem to have teachers.
  20. heartgann

    heartgann member

    That's kinda big! Seriously? Well, we only have 5 to 10 per class. I think your company is big because you can handle those numbers.

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