Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hours for Teaching and Preparation Rule of Thumb: 2-4 Hours of Prep for 1 Hour of Class

Many instructors may wonder how much prep time to spend on a class. Prep time can mean different things to different people. Many instructors assume prep time includes only the time spent getting ready for a particular class. Other instructors include meetings with students, advising, meetings with other faculty, professional development, and the numerous tasks and responsibilites of teaching.

The University of California at Berkeley included a discussion of actual preparation hours for class.
The newsletter contained the guidelines that distinguish between a class a teacher has taught before and a new class. For a class taught before, the teacher should plan to spend 2 hours out-of-class for each hour of class for preparation and grading. For a new class, the teacher should plan to spend 4 hours out-of-class for each hour of class.
The Office of Educational Development. Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning, Academic Planning and Facilities. "Instructor Preparation Time." 

Other experts concur. The DeCal site answers the question: "Developing a Course: How Much Planning Time Should I Allow for Getting a Good Class Together?"
"Most teachers spend at least two hours in prep time outside class for every hour spent inside class. Most teachers working with material for the first time spend three or more hours in prep per every one hour in class."»

Teaching and the Case Method Harvard Business School Press. "Spend a maximum of two hours prep time for each class hour."


  1. Useful post - I plan to reblog it again as addendum to ACA hours discussions, split between low ball prep time to keep courses or aim for mid range (but still low) ratio to be more accurate and qualify for health care and programs as well as wage and hours / full pay for hours worked

    Here the updated link for "Instructor Preparation Time"

  2. Interesting piece on tenure citing your work

    1. Thank you very much for sending this link! So many hours go into preparing for classes, and we must stand our ground to those who belittle or are ignorant of our efforts.