Components of development and delivery: Content development, pre-semester setup, and overall involvement in the class decrease in time consumption by the third iteration. Yet, Grading & Assessment time consumption actually increases.

The survey found that [of the respondents]:

  • When teaching a course the first time, Content Development (85 percent) is more time-consuming for online courses than face-to-face courses.  The same can be said for Pre-Semester Setup (82 percent) and Instructor-Student Interaction (75 percent), while Grading & Assessment (54 percent) and Overall Involvement in the Class (56 percent) are less so.
  • Comparing the 2nd time teaching a course in both modes, the areas noted above remain mostly the same in terms of time consumption.
  • For the 3rd time teaching a course in both modes, Content Development (49 percent), Pre-Semester Setup (48 percent), and Overall Involvement in the Class (51 percent) have lower ratings than in previous iterations. These three components are still more time-consuming for online courses than face-to-face courses.  However, Instructor-Student Interaction (66 percent) remains high, and Grading & Assessment (66 percent) is at its highest level yet.

Learning curves: The problems, “myths,” and concerns associated with online course development and delivery are more likely associated with pedagogy than with technology.

The survey found that [of the respondents]:

  • Instructors make it through the Online Technology Learning Curve faster than the Online Pedagogical Learning Curve, and they make it through the Face-to-Face Pedagogical Learning Curve the fastest.

“Trainers and support personnel should make instructors aware of realistic expectations in terms of the pedagogical learning curve and the technological learning curve,” noted Freeman. “These two areas, while linked together because of online courses, should be treated separately when possible.”

Freeman also concluded that instructional designers should look for ways to remove time-consuming (and perhaps unnecessary) pedagogical approaches during online course development.  Additionally, designers should remind instructors that there were also “hurdles and problems the first time they taught in the classroom, but now (after many years and iterations) the class runs smoothly.”

“Ideally, future studies can expand the data set to include a greater number of institutions, and therefore better representation across academic disciplines,” emphasized Freeman. “…generalizing these data to all academic disciplines should be done with caution.”

For more information on the survey, including overall perceptions, instructor excitement over time, and future research implications, read the full report here.


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