On teaching an overload

I’m teaching my regular 2-course load this semester. Of course, because I’m in Seattle, I’m teaching both courses online. But that’s no big deal: I’ve taught online several times before, though never 2 courses at the same time.

But I’m also teaching my MOOC –- in fact it launched just yesterday –- so I’m effectively teaching an overload this semester. (Though not getting paid for an overload, I would like to add. I’m doing the MOOC because I want to, not for the big bucks.) By happy coincidence, one of the courses I’m teaching for SILS is Metadata, so I’m leveraging the content I’ve created for the MOOC for that course. Plus the MOOC is only 8 weeks long, while the “regular” courses are the regular 15 weeks. So while I’m teaching an overload, it’s not quite a full 3 courses. On the other hand, prepping the MOOC has been about 3 times as much work as prepping any course I’ve ever done before, so in some ways it’s a 3 course overload and then some.

In any case, I don’t know how faculty at institutions where they have a 3-and-3 load do it. It’s not that it’s difficult, strictly speaking… as I said, I’m used to teaching online. Rather, it’s that there’s 150% of the work for teaching that I’m used to having at this point in the semester. So for the past several weeks, I’ve been constantly feeling like I’m behind. Which I don’t actually think I am… I’m pretty organized, & I’m hitting all the items on my work-related To Do list. (At least, not more than 24-48 hours late.) But it still feels like I’m missing things, even if another part of my brain knows I’m not.

My hope is that if & when the MOOC is offered again, it will be less work. Certainly I won’t have to prep the videos & assessments, which has been, up to this point, the major time expenditure for the MOOC. Now that the course has launched, there are the discussion forums, which are worthy of a whole separate post here. But if & when the MOOC is offered again, my hope is that it won’t feel like I’m doing 150% of my normal teaching load… I’ll settle for 125%.

I’ll also be teaching entirely online for SILS again in the Spring semester. And a different 2 courses than I’m doing now, so it will again be new preps. Though I’ve taught Digital Libraries online before, so that won’t be a full new prep for the Spring. So again, my hope is that the Spring semester feels a little more back to normal in terms of the teaching load.

Well, I knew what I was getting into when I put in my proposal for a MOOC.

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