FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Task Group A4
Faculty Workload Issues
Bill Hamrick, Convener
According to Provost Sharon Hahs , key goals of the Teaching and Learning Technology Roundtable (TLTR) that we believe are most relevant to teaching are: (1) to incorporate online learning (e.g., web enhancement) and other technologies into a large number of courses throughout the curriculum; (2) to encourage the development of a limited number of appropriate online degree programs or degree-completion programs; and (3) to nurture new ways of learning and teaching and to foster life-long learning. TLTR has shown us a number of exciting technological possibilities for creating and increasing online courses and web-enhanced courses. From the TLTR discussions that emerged this Spring, it has become clear that a large number of faculty across the University are envisioned as actively participating in diverse activities related to technology and teaching in the near future. Some of the most intensive activities, such as on-line teaching (see Goal 2), may be limited to a few faculty, while utilization of technology to improve the quality of teaching and learning (see Goals 1 and 3) are envisioned as having much broader faculty participation. Moreover, given the rapid rate of technological change, and the rather significant departure that technology-enhanced teaching represents from more traditional teaching models, active faculty participation in training and development activities is also envisioned. However, it is not enough to have a vision; we also have to discover ways to actualize it. In particular, we must resist uncritical enthusiasm for technology as an all-purpose solution for improving the quality of education. One of the most significant obstacles consists in the time- and energy-commitments that such technology will impose on already severely burdened faculty. Most faculty, when asked how they are doing, will reply, correctly, that they are "really busy." Many also suffer from unhealthy fatigue.
Many of the faculty workload conflicts entail additional time commitments, such as the following:
Faculty workload questions that emerge from these conflicts include the following:
We prefer to see these workload issues as challenges rather than fatal objections. Meeting these challenges will require the close cooperation of the University adminis-tration, the administration of particular Schools and the College of Arts & Sciences, and individual faculty members. To meet these challenges, we make the following recom-mendations.
Incentives to consider:
Mini-grants to fund, or encourage participation in, technology training, such as those provided to participants of this summer’s SIUE Faculty Summer Institute.
Release time to develop and teach online courses.
Research assistance, such as graduate student support for assistance in the use of new technology.
A University-wide inventory and evaluation of current teaching awards to determine whether they provide adequate recognition of the use of technology in teaching. If necessary, new awards should be established for this purpose.
We also note in passing that there are other work-related issues that are important incentives for faculty to develop and implement technology in their courses. The issue of intellectual property rights is an obvious example that we felt were beyond the purview of this committee.
Evaluation recommendations include:
The following documents provide overviews of how such questions of technology and faculty workload have been addressed recently by a number of professional organizations and faculty unions. Some parts of these reports bear directly on our considerations. Unions have been forced to specifically address questions on faculty workload, so their work is a good model for us to consider. Most of the texts refer to “distance learning,” but for our purposes we substituted “online courses” or “technology in teaching.”
In the NEA online journal, Focus on Technology, an article titled "Distance Education: Challenges and Opportunities" discusses faculty workload issues. This document which can be found at http://www.tecweb.org/eddevel/telecon/de913-3.html, indicates, "Distance education also means new union contract issues, such as evaluation, student contact, workload, and compensation. A review of the contracts on NEA's Higher Education Analysis System (HECAS) indicates this is an unsettled area of negotiations." Also, the article states that "faculty members cannot be forced to teach telecourses and the courses are not used to fill their regular teaching load... As the use of technology grows and telecourses become part of the regular course loads of faculty, compensation will become an issue. Another issue related to compensation is class size."
Another article, found at http://www.nea.org/cet/briefs/10.html (Ed. note: link no longer active, 03/02/04), "Education Technology: National Education Association Resolutions 1997-1998," states the NEA's position on technology in the educational process and sums up its resolutions as:
At http://www.aaup.org/Issues/DistanceEd/Archives/speccmt/dlrpttxt.htm, a report from the AAUP’s "Committee on Government Relations" is posted, titled "Report on Distance Learning." This report dates from 1997, and was published in the May/June 1998 issue of Academe. Among its contents is a consideration of faculty workload and compensation in distance learning. The report includes these recommendations to be considered by universities incorporating distance learning:
Time needed to develop a distance education course.
Enrollment: "The need to determine class size for a distance education class should be based on pedagogical considerations."
Preparation: "Faculty who teach in distance-education programs should be additionally compensated for the extra time required to prepare for their courses…” "Faculty members teaching a course utilizing distance education technology for the first time shall be provided course load reductions to properly prepare the course."
Office Hours: "Discussions should occur and agreement should be reached on how the faculty member teaching a distance education course will hold office hours for the distance education students."
In a report titled "Distance Education: Guidelines for Good Practice," issued May, 2000, by the Higher Education Program and Policy Council of the American Federation of Teachers addressed the question of technology and teaching. In the section labeled "The Standards," several recommendations are made, including the following:
Faculty must be prepared to meet the special requirements of teaching at a distance. These requirements include being prepared to spend more time constructing distance courses, and teaching them; and being prepared to spend more hours being available to students.
Required Supports: To handle these responsibilities, faculty should have adequate training and technical support as well as additional compensation for faculty to meet the extensive time commitments of distance education. Also, institutional reward systems for faculty should accord positive recognition for the creative work of formulating distance programs. The report maintains, "teaching distance education courses should be a matter of faculty choice."
A separate AFT report issued by the same council in January 1996, titled "Report of the Task Force on Technology in Higher Education," considered (among others) the following question: "Are the rights of the faculty and professional staff protected?" when it comes to dealings with management about technology issues. Some of the recommen-dations for protecting the rights of faculty included
The report also recommends "rewarding technology-related creative effort" and recommends that "higher education unions push for greater recognition of technology-related creative effort in tenure, promotion and other faculty reward processes."