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Center for Teaching & Learning: Perspectives on Teaching & Learning

Supporting the MCPHS faculty and staff in their commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching and learning

Are You Assigning Too Much or Too Little? Estimating Student Workload

by Reena Lederman Gerard on 2018-03-26T00:00:00-04:00 in Educational Technology | 0 Comments

How long do you think it takes a student to draft a reflection or narrative?

In Elizabeth Barre’s blog post, How Much Should We Assign? Estimating Out of Class Workload, she explains how she and her co-developer, Justin Esarey  researched and created the Course Workload Estimator app. Barre discusses the literature and how the research can be reasonably applied. The post references multiple studies on reading rates. However, the research on writing rates is slim. Her primary source was the Torrance study, Individual differences in undergraduate essay-writing strategies: A longitudinal study.

How did your estimate measure up? Compare it with the table below.

Learn how to use the Course Workload Estimator. And, next time you write a syllabus or revise a course, use try the Workload Estimator. Enter the readings, papers, exams, and the semester length to calculate and gauge your students' weekly workload.


Barre, E. (2016, July 11). How much should we assign? Estimating out of class workload [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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