Workload allocation of studies

Teachers and students approach the workload allocation of studies differently. Thus, planning the workload allocation considering the views of both parties is important both in terms of learning and in terms of overall well-being. Some study units require students to be present and practise the subject matter concretely, while others require more independent work, research and development of thought. This can mean that all study units worth the same amount of study credits are not as laborious or demanding for all the students. There is also plenty of differences between degree programmes in this; certain degree programmes focus more on concrete skills while in others the focus is on achieving ‘meta-skills. Due to this, while considering the workload of individual study units is important, the extent and workload of studies at the level of whole study modules and degrees should be assessed. As in all curriculum work, cooperation between teachers, specialisation areas and degree programmes is essential.

There is no unambiguous way of modelling workload, as the workload is always an individual experience from the viewpoint of both the teacher and the student. From the teacher’s point of view, the workload is defined by several factors: the extent of the course, the teaching and assessment methods used, teaching experience, familiarity with the teaching methods, how and at what stage the work is focused during the course, as well as the teacher’s personal traits. In general, if a meaningful framework of reference for the activity is missing (ie the participants are unable to justify why they are working on it), the situation gets stressful for both the student and the teacher. For this reason, we advise that the teachers take some time to consider, what their own concept of learning is, and how their own choices are in line with this concept. Discussing the guiding thread of the course with the students will reduce the workload, and make studying more meaningful for both the teachers and the students.

When applying collaborative teaching (co-teaching), and designing the studies in collaboration, it is worthwhile to consider that it takes time to reach a common understanding of the objectives and to plan the actions. However, it is very important to reserve this time to reach a common understanding both from the point of view of the content coherence and pedagogical coherence of the course. In co-planning it is also important to learn the way of thinking and acting of your co-teacher and to create a way of communication that enables dealing with challenging issues constructively and respectfully. This way teaching can develop into a relaxing and rewarding experience. At its best co-teaching and team, teaching offers all its members an enriching experience both in terms of content and pedagogical aspects, and it clarifies and strengthens persons own teacher identity.

Links checked 19.1.2024