Workload Expectations

National Standard Workload per Credit hour

In general at an accredited four year college , students should expect to do 2 – 3 hours of work (outside the scheduled class sessions) each week PER every 1 credit hour they expect to receive for the course.

Meaning, if you’re receiving 3 credits for this class, you should expect to do 6 – 9 hours of work each week outside of our scheduled class times. (You can see why it’s important not to overload your course schedule!)

The weekly readings should not take you 6-9 hours to complete each week.* As such, you should plan to allot some of those weekly 6 – 9 hours of outside work to completing some of the other assignments related to class. For example, you might:

  • review the reading and prepare yourself to discuss the text in class (see: active reading pro-tips for details)
  • thoughtfully complete weekly journal activities
  • read and/or contribute to class blog discussion
  • meet with final project group members
  • brainstorm, research, draft, and/or edit materials for upcoming papers, presentations, and/or projects.
  • review feedback
Instructor’s Specific Expectations for this Course

My goal is to maintain the quality and standards of your BC education while also being sensitive to the fact that students, like so many folks, tend to have very demanding schedules (academic and otherwise). As such, I gear my expectation towards the lower end of the average per-week, per-credit amount of outside work. The course design is such that you should be able to successfully complete the course requirements without spending more than 6-7 hours a week (on average) to completing assignments (outside the scheduled class sessions).

6-7 hours a week is an average. Many weeks you may spend much less, but depending on how you and/or your group members manage your time, there may be weeks when you need to dedicate more than 6-7 hours a week.

Again, I stress that 6-7 hours a week is an average. We are all different, and we approach text, topics, and learning in different and dynamic ways. Yes, some students (for a variety of potential reasons) may spend on average less than 6-7 hours of outside work a week and still do very well in the course. And yes, some students (also for a variety of potential reasons) may need to spend a little more than an average of 6-7 hours per week to successfully complete the course readings and assignments.

HOWEVER, if after the first 3-4 weeks of class, you are already spending over an average of 8 hours per week outside the schedule class time trying to keep up with the assignments, please check in with me so that we can make sure you’re establishing a healthy and sustainable pace.

How Long Should I Spend on Readings?

How long you should spend on the readings will depend on the type of reading assigned; how many readings assigned; as well as what kind of reader you are and/or other relevant factors in your life (e.g. how much sleep you’re getting). Nevertheless, if you’re trying to determine how much time to dedicate to the readings, make sure you consider:

  • Your Individual Reading Needs

Again, everyone is different. For my own part, I’m a fairly slow reader. I need 1.5x and some times even double the amount of time the average reader needs. I am a good reader, but I’m not a fast one, so I have to plan ahead. If you need help working with your skill sets and learning style, contact the professor immediately to help you establish a workable plan. In general it’s better to contact the professor before you’re actually falling behind, but if you are behind, don’t get further behind. Let me know.

  • The Length of the Reading(s)

A lot of the readings for this course are quite short in length, and many of you will find you can finish them in an hour or less. However the point of doing the readings isn’t just to say you’ve done the readings. I assign short readings, particularly this semester, in order that you can spend time processing and engaging the reading, which will often mean looking up terms and references you don’t know, writing out questions, drawing connections between other texts, and rereading some or all of the texts again. I assign shorter readings so that some of your 3-4.5 hours of reading time can go towards this active reading work.

  • Dense Readings

Not all writing can be read at the same speed. Some writing might be denser or include more unfamiliar references which will require you to slow down. For many students, narrative texts (stories) read more quickly than poetry even if a group of poems are much shorter than one narrative text. Similarly many students find the secondary texts of theory and scholarly criticism denser and/or replete with new vocabulary and concepts that significantly slow their reading pace. When possible I will try to flag texts that you may find dense in order to help you plan ahead.