When is homework too much?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by Pelican, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Pelican

    Pelican Member

    I teach 3-credit 100-level and 300-level courses, half on-line and half in lecture.

    My students are always complaining of too much homework. I suspect they are just poor students. They never want to answer how much time they spent on the work. All of the work is so easy for me, if I tried to do a week's homework myself, it would take 30 minutes, but this seems a poor measure. How can I measure if the work is genuinely too much?
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    What do your fellow instructors say about this?
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Well, for starters, I would ask how much homework you are giving them and what type? Short answer? Essays?

    Then I would look at time frame. Are you assigning them four chapters to read on Monday to be due on Wednesday?

    I, personally, don't assign very much homework at all for my courses (100 and 200). I hand out a syllabus at the start of my course. It has readings by week. There are two tests, a final and a participation grade (I also give a 10 point extra credit assignment BEFORE the first test). If you don't do the readings, you likely aren't going to do well on participation or the exams. And you'll have no one to blame but yourself. I get complaints about it all the time. I get plenty of students who perform crappily on both tests and then, just before the final, come begging for extra credit (after having not done the first, and only, extra credit assignment I offer).

    So I have a system in place that, I feel, is manageable for most students (while allowing flexibility to work around courses that actually assign homework) while making the course grading manageable for me since I have a full-time job beyond teaching. I also feel that my system works for my subjects.

    If you feel that your homework assignments are most appropriate for your subject then you might consider input from fellow instructors. Ultimately though you know best how to teach what you teach. The fact that they refuse to tell you how much time they are spending on it tells me that they likely have ridiculous expectations for how much time is spent on homework and/or they are not spending anywhere near a reasonable amount of time on homework.

    Another thing I would probably do is try to address students individually. I'd ask one of my top performers, privately, how much time they spend on homework and their thoughts on the workload. Then I would speak with one of my underperforming students, privately, to discuss the same. You may find that the disparity exists merely because the top performer is a full-time student with loads of time to dedicate to schoolwork while the underperforming student is trying to support a family. If that's the case, then you need to take into account the culture of your students and your school in determining how to strike that balance.
  4. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Have those academically non-productive /unengaged and subsequently complaining students to either make the decision to Cowboy-up or quit wasting everyone’s time, e.g., Adios

    Not PC ... nevertheless, welcome to the real-world connection /application! :smokin:
  5. DouglasHannah

    DouglasHannah New Member

    In my opinion, as I am taking training under an organisation they are also giving me homework but with a maximum time limit and in addition to this some practical work is also necessary.

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