ELT 7008: Assignment 3 Discussion – Time Management Issues

Discuss a few of the time management issues that you feel are critical in an online course, possibly issues that you have dealt with personally. Discuss issues that are of concern to both instructor and student. Provide strategies and approaches for dealing with these issues.

Both instructors and learners will find that online courses generally take more time to develop and require more time commitment than the traditional face-to-face course as "online courses are actually estimated to require at least twice as much time as regular classes because of the amount of reading and processing involved" (Palloff & Pratt, 2003, p. 77). Time management is critical for both an instructor and the learner not only in the traditional classroom but even more so in the online classroom. As noted by Roper (2007) "successful online students highlight several techniques instructors can use to help their students develop effective online learning skills. Most important is a student's ability to develop a time-management strategy to help manage course requirements as an independent learner" (para. 25). Proper time management strategies benefit the instructor and the learners and according to Shi, Bonk, and Magjuka (2007) by utilizing the six strategies they have identified "both instructors and students can enjoy the convenience of online teaching and learning without getting lost, feeling overwhelmed, or sacrificing the instructional quality and overall learning outcomes" (para. final).

A few basic tips provided by Palloff and Pratt (2007) are useful to instructors and learners who venture into the online learning environment:
  • Divide time into tasks
    • Instructors need to construct the activities by task and with specific deadlines;
    • Learners need to approach the course by identifying tasks based on priorities and deadlines;
  • Learners suggestions include
    • Log on to the site to complete specific tasks;
    • Print new messages when possible to allow more time to review at a different time rather than just online;
    • Formulate responses and avoid immediate posting of responses;
    • Prepare responses in a word processor and then copy into the course site - this allows for more thoughtful responses;
  • Instructor suggestions include
    • Continued professional technology development;
    • Monitor course postings for appropriate participation on a regular basis;
    • Provide timely feedback;
    • Develop activities to encourage active participation;

According to Shi, Bonk, and Magjuka (2007) there are six proven strategies for time management when teaching an online course:
  1. Write concisely and clearly - shorten the text and make the text scannable;
  2. Organize material in an easy to follow order - chunk materials weekly, create 'read me first' documents, and clearly label optional activities;
  3. Be explicit and emphatic about the time requirements in the syllabus - clear due dates and turnaround for responding to learners;
  4. Manage asynchronous discussions - keep open longer and build the discussions;
  5. Take advantage of the technical tools available - customization options and batch processes;
  6. Utilize other resources - share with colleagues and include internet options

Given that I have been both an online instructor and an online learner I easily concur with the fact that online takes longer as an instructor to properly develop the course activities and as a learner I found myself spending more time online researching information and interacting with other learners. The main issues I encountered as an instructor were learning new technology and updating course curriculum to keep pace with the changing business environment. As a student I found, and continue to find, that unexpected life situations interrupt my time allotted for online learning activities and the lack of required interactions with peers on a time sensitive basis interferes with successful completion of assignments in a timely manner.

Explore the resources listed below for further information and tips.

Visual Concept Map for Time Management

Online Resources
How Students Develop Online Learning Skills by Alan Roper http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/HowStudentsDevelopOnlineLearni/157435

Time Management Strategies for Online Teaching by Min Shi, Curtis J. Bonk, Richard J. Magjuka

Video Resource by Randy Pausch

Carnegie Mellon University. (2008, February 6). Randy Pausch lecture: Time management. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTugjssqOT0

Paloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2003). The virtual student: A profile and guide to working with online learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Roper, A. (2007, November). How students develop online learning skills. Educause Quarterly, 30(1). Retrieved from

Shi, M., Bonk, C., Magjuka, R. (2006, February). Time management strategies for online teaching. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/journal/feb_06/article01.htm