Covid Workload Survey Results

In September 2020 the JACFA Executive sent out a survey to its members to gather data regarding workload increases.  There had been reports from members that workloads had increased due to the nature of online teaching which was now necessary due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As of October 8th, 2020, 259 members had responded to the survey.  One quantitative question was asked regarding the number of increased hours and the others were qualitative questions allowing members to leave comments.  These qualitative questions were analyzed to find common and recurring comments which have been quantified below.  Note that 250 responses were analyzed as the last 9 responses were submitted after the deadline.

Below are the results of the survey.  Note that the percentages included is the percentage of overall responses (out of 250)

Responses by Department

Below are the number of responses per department. Note that not all respondents indicated their department.

Department# of Respondents%
Anthropology10.4%
Biology114.4%
Biopharmaceuticals20.8%
Business104.0%
Chemistry93.6%
Computer Science62.4%
Dental hygiene104.0%
Engineering technologies31.2%
English2911.6%
French124.8%
Geosciences52.0%
Graphic and Web Design52.0%
H/P/R156.0%
HEPS83.2%
Information and Library Technology52.0%
Language, Literature and Culture20.8%
Mathematics197.6%
Media Arts83.2%
Nursing187.2%
Paramedic Care31.2%
Physical Education93.6%
Physics124.8%
Police technology52.0%
Psychology124.8%
Sociology41.6%
Theatre145.6%
Visual Arts31.2%
Youth and Adult Correctional Intervention41.6%
No department mentioned62.4%

Quantitative Data

The following question was asked regarding how many more hours teachers found they were working:

Compared to a typical semester, how many more hours are you working per week?

Results:

Selection# of Responses%Colour on Pie Chart
062.4%Blue
1-2 hours (Approx 15 – 30 min more per day)218.4%Orange
2-5 hours (Approx 45 – 60 min more per day)6726.8%Green
6 -10 hours (Approx  75 – 120 min more per day)8935.6%Red
10 hours or more per week6325.2%Purple
No Response41.6%None

From these responses, it can be stated that over 60% of members who responded to the survey are working an extra day per week than in a usual semester.

Qualitative Data

A series of open-ended questions/prompts were presented.  There was an analysis of the comments done of the most common responses and themes, with these common responses/themes quantified by the number of times they were mentioned.

Nature of Teaching

The following question was asked regarding how the nature of member’s teaching activities had changed due to online teaching:
How has the nature of your teaching work changed by the COVID context compared to a typical semester for the following types of work?

Respondents were asked to comment on the following categories

Course Preparation, Student Consultation, Marking, Participation in Departmental Activities, Supervision of Stage, Labs and Lectures, Other Types of Work.

Results:

Course Preparation

Comments Regarding Quantity of Additional Prep Work# of Respondents%
More time without quantification8935.6%
A lot (or some other qualifier, I.e. “significantly”, “much”) more time without quantification7329.2%
Same amount of time to prepare166.4%
Less than 50% more time52.0%
50% more time10.4%
2x more time to prepare145.6%
3x more time to prepare41.6%
More than 3 x20.8%

Student Consultation

Comments# of Respondents%
More time consuming / more 1-on-1 chats / too many emails+chats+MIOs14056.0%
About the same2811.2%
Less than before208.0%
Students expect quick responses / availability any time (evenings and week-ends)218.4%
Lots of hand holding / solving tech problems / helping with personal problems / expected to accommodate for tech93.6%

Marking

Comments# of Respondents%
Spending much more time marking8935.6%
Marking has been automated (less feedback/lower quality)228.8%
Difficulty using College tech for marking/ had to buy own tech218.4%
Screen time causing eyestrain/headaches/exhaustion/health problems2510.0%

Participating in Departmental Activities

Comments# of Respondents%
Increased amount of department meetings5522.0%
No change4116.4%
Department meetings are less efficient/longer3413.6%
 Informal contacts and communication between colleagues is lost239.2%
Communicating in general is more difficult due to emails/Mio vs in person135.2%
Meeting online increases time in front of screen which is tiring/exhausting93.6%
Not participating because no time to spare83.2%
Department meetings are more efficient/better41.6%

Supervision of Stage (Internship)

No common themes were found in the responses. Each program had unique and specific issues related to their internship requirements.

Labs and Lectures

Comments# of Respondents%
Preparation time has increased7228.8%
Preparation time is the same176.8%
Preparation time has lessened31.2%
More tiring/stressful for teachers & students2610.4%
Lack of engagement (damn cameras off!) “It’s like talking to ghosts”8132.4%
Requires more one-on-one time249.6%
Group work issues62.4%
 Quality of learning not as good3112.4%
 Need to redo all labs/lectures187.2%
Technical issues156.0%

Other types of work (Please specify)

Comments# of Respondents%
Student management/communications increase3413.6%
Added burden of consultation/meetings etc.2710.8%
Time spent on computer208.0%
 More preparation166.4%
Technical learning/training156.0%
 Home office/internet/ technical issues83.2%


Increase in number of students

There were reports that courses had an increase number of students.  Thus, the following prompt was presented:

Some teachers have indicated that they have more students in their classes than a typical semester.  If this is the case for you, please indicate how many students are in your class in a regular semester and how many are in your class this semester.

There was no indication that student numbers had increased significantly in courses taught online.  There are some instances where this has happened, but it is unique to specific disciplines and not across the board at the college.

Solutions

The following question was asked of members of how the College could help ease the increase in workload:

If you are experiencing an increase in your workload as a result of the COVID context, what measures could be undertaken by the college to help ease the load?

Results:

Comments# of Respondents%
Lower class sizes/CI8032.0%
More funding for home offices166.4%
Hire teaching assistants/support for teachers166.4%
Give teachers more flexibility to change evaluations124.8%
Pay more money124.8%
Fewer preparations per teacher93.6%
More in-person teaching72.8%
Shorten semester/more days off62.4%
Less meetings62.4%
Better support62.4%

Other Information

The following question was asked to members to share additional information not necessarily posed in the previous questions:

Is there anything else about your experience teaching this semester that you would like to share?

Results

Comments# of Respondents%
Reports of physical and emotional distress2911.6%
Reports of overwork114.4%
Concerns about pedagogical implications of online teaching3413.6%
Enjoying online teaching135.2%
Expressing a need for financial compensation156.0%
Problems associated with work-family-life balance104.0%
Missing contact with students and colleagues104.0%