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."

36 comments:

  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"

    http://teaching.berkeley.edu/2006-7-instructor-preparation-time

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting piece on tenure citing your work http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/faisal-kutty-/abolishing-tenure_b_5573255.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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.

      Delete
  3. Is there a state law requiring employers to pay for prep time? Specifically Florida, at the college level?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Holly, this is a good question. This blog is from Washington State. Many adjunct faculty in Washington State are not paid for prep time, but the unemployment office will often count prep time hours so that adjuncts qualify for unemployment benefits, if they survive the numerous appeals. But this is an important point, that not only affects salary, but also workload.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How many hours on an average a content developer may take if he / she is writing a content which is to be delivered in a training room (standup training) in one hour or so approx.?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dr. Jagannath,
    Thank you for your question. I'll offer my take on it, and would also like to hear from others. Generally, writing content probably adds to the prep. time. Some factors include the type of training delivery (computers? paper? books?); your familiarity with the content; the audience familiarity with the content; the assessment process. So, I don't know if there is an "average." Speaking from experience, the type of training you are describing, and writing the content, could take between 5 to 10 hours in preparation, maybe more, maybe less, but this is just my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  7. depending on where you work - initially at the university it was about 1-2 hrs now after doing it for several years the need for prep time goes way down and if you administer exams online with self marking it is great to save time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. Another consideration is the subject. Writing teachers, for example, still have lots of grading, no matter how long they have been teaching. I like your time-saving suggestion! Also,consider the balance of goals and objectives while providing an education.

      Delete
  8. Dear "Stuff I Like,"
    I'm glad to read about lessening prep time. At the same time, for some profs, who teach classes such as writing, the prep time never goes down significantly. There's the everpresent question of whether prep time includes out-of-class student and faculty meetings, keeping up with research, professional development, etc. Best Regards to You!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am a novice nurse educator, and I am presently negotiating with my school's Director of Nursing regarding hours of lecture/theory preparation. She is allowing me 3 hours s week for 11 hours of lecture. That includes study guide preparation and weekly exams - as well as development of discussion topics and special projects. She'd is adamnant that I should be spending my personal time in preparation for those items named. I am paid hourly and have been told to clock-in and out timely and never go over eight hours. I'm not agreeing with this direction. What are your thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As many people have noted, time is money, most famously Benjamin Franklin. I agree with you that 3 hours prep is not enough time for 11 hours of lecture, study guide, weekly exams, etc. Respectfully, your director is stealing your time and treating you as a sub-professional. You might begin keeping a daily log or notes of what you do and how much time it takes. Especially, new teachers need more prep time. Itemize what you are doing, and how the 3 hours is not nearly enough prep time. You can use your notes to make a case for more prep time. It's too bad that your director does not respect the teachers and the students and the profession, as she attemps to belittle the entire educational process.

      Delete
  10. I truly appreciate your response and will do as you have recommended. Thank you for your response.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Glad to respond, wish I could do more. Will look forward to any updates in your situation. Best Regards!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I teach 6 hours a day, it's my first year, so I should be spending 3-4 hours of prep per 1 hour of class... that's over 24 hours of work per day and would not include eating or sleeping. Lol I might go part time...

    ReplyDelete
  13. You have used common sense to calculate and conclude that the 3-4 hours of needed, and/or advised, prep time simply isn't possible. Many other dedicated teachers, instructors, and professors are in your same boat, and they must find ways to be creative and effective in class, and also have a healthy, happy life that is free, and not that of a slave. AFter all, the purpose of education is to help make the world better, not work people to death. Will look forward to any updates in your situation. Best Regards!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for sharing such great information. can you help me in finding out more detail on magarpatta school pune

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry to just be catching up on the replies. For your inquiry, I suggest running an internet search, as this is unknown to me. Best Regards!

      Delete
  15. So your blog states that for each hour of in-class time, instructors should be credited with an additional 2 hours prep time [at the least according to Berkeley Center for Teaching ans Learning]. Is this codified in Dept of Labor or individual state reg's?. I am part time community college instructor and cannot get an answer from DOL or State.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, just answering your interesting question. To the best of my knowledge, the guidelines are not codified, and that's a problem. In Washington State, our experiences are that the DOL and State seem to enable, and let the colleges and universities exploit the "part-time" faculty. That seems to be the reason that you can't get an answer. For many years, in Washington State, the Association for Higher Education has operated with no oversite at all, as it's not technically a "union," so the National Labor Relations Board, at least informally, claims it can't do anything. If you love your job, and love teaching, of course, do what you can to stay in the profession. Keep all your contracts, and a log of time and money you spend. This data may be helpful in the event of legal action. Again, sorry for the late answer and Best Wishes!

      Delete
  16. At my college, the administration wants to pay 1 hour of prep for every 4 hours of classroom instructions/lecture. Please give me some responses that I can use to justify that the ratio above is unreasonable. By the way, I am referring to adjunct instructor work at an undergraduate Bachelor program. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry for this late response. Mostly, I would have advised to quote the Berkeley guidelines, which are the bare minimum needed, and certainly more time is often required. You might also check with your state unemployment office. There are sympathetic employees there who will try to get adjunct faculty more hours to qualify for UI benefits. They recognize that just counting classroom hours, with only one hour of prep, is not indicative of the amount of work necessary to prepare quality classes. Also, keep a log of your work, "clock in" and "clock out" so to speak. It's often startling how much work you are actually doing to prep for class. Best Wishes, and again, so sorry to be late in the reply.

      Delete
  17. At my college, the administration wants to pay 1 hour of prep for every 4 hours of classroom instructions/lecture. Please give me some responses that I can use to justify that the ratio above is unreasonable. By the way, I am referring to adjunct instructor work at an undergraduate Bachelor program. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  18. Totally! I was taught this when I started my law exam preparation. LSAT Logic Games were my favorite that time and I made sure I practiced more than 4 hours because I really wanted to clear my exam. It’s not that easy because I cleared my exam in my second attempt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulation on clearing your exam and on your hard work!

      Delete
  19. https://www.toppersnotes.com/product-category/ies-gate/ies-general-studies/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Excellent blog, good to see someone is posting quality information. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Keep up the good work.
    Preparatory Courses in Lucknow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your note, and sorry to be late to reply. Best Regards!

      Delete
  21. Nice blog provides many informative and helpful articles. Thanks for sharing the information. Looking for more updates in future.
    Preparatory Courses in Lucknow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, and sorry for the late reply. Yes, will be doing more updates. I do wish the updates were not just the problems facing "adjunct" faculty, but were notices that everyone would be earning professional salaries and receiving recognition for their outstanding, scholarly, and educational work!!! Until then, we'll carry on. Others have faced and overcome this type of oppression.

      Delete
  22. Very interesting piece, thank you!

    Could you please update the link to "Instructor Preparation Time." ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your note, and sorry for the late response. Thanks also for letting me know of the "dead" link to "Instructor Preparation Time." I have not been able to find it yet, but will keep looking. (It's a bit worrisome that it's disappeared). I did find this info for UC Berkeley Extension Instructor Handbook:
      http://instructorlink.berkeley.edu/instructor-handbook.pdf
      I just gave all 65 pages a quick glance, and can't find any guidelines regarding prep time. (Not to say they aren't there, just couldn't find them yet). However, the kind letter from the dean is unintentionally ironic, I believe, as a handbook to let teachers "focus on what you do best: teach." Most of the 65 pages are complex guidelines/rules that will take hours to read, understand, and implement. In fact, after skimming through the guide, my personal opinion is that the rule of thumb should be at least 5 hours of prep for one class hour, and perhaps more for new instructors! The requirements on the instructors are simply daunting. Meanwhile, I'll keep looking, or if anyone else finds the link to "Instructor Preparation Time," please let me know. Best Regards!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for letting me know the link to Berkeley "Instructor Preparation Time" is gone, as is the link to DeCal site. The loss is worrisome. I did find a UC Berkeley Extension Instructor Handbook at this link
      http://instructorlink.berkeley.edu/instructor-handbook.pdf
      The 65 pages are daunting, and during a quick skim through, I saw no guidelines for prep time. Ironically, though the purpose of the handbook is to let teachers teach, all the legal rules and guidelines, both reading and implementing them, will take up tons of time, and take time away from actual course prep. After reading this, I think that Berkeley and other institutions should allow about 7 to 10 hours prep time for one class hour!

      Delete
  23. This is really fascinating, You are a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for searching for more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks! click here

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you, and sorry for the late reply!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have just been (tentatively) offered a part-time position at my local university. Classes start in five weeks. I have never taught before, let alone done any substantive research on the subject of the course. I am hoping the lecturer who is hiring me will give me a syllabus or two to review, but I’m still worried that with five weeks I will not have time to properly develop the course. My time during the week at this time is limited because I work another part-time job. Do you have any advice?

    ReplyDelete