Social Learning: redefining contact time and workload, with Katherine Haxton


What do students do with their time? It's a key question and one the student workload project in Chemistry seeks to address. By analysing timetables, and teaching and assessment patterns, a typical workload for our students can be obtained. Social learning, particularly related to the flipped classroom, results in an increase in 'non-contact-contact-time'. Preparatory activities may range from assigned reading through to edited lecture recordings, and these are estimated in the workload project.

My findings show that our module proposal system needs to better account for 'non-contact-contact-time' associated with social learning practices, the need for recommendations on the quantity of contact versus self-study time in modules, and for assessment planning to take a reasonable working week into account.

Small changes in how we structure a semester may have a marked impact on student achievement as well as potential benefits in reducing the pressure some students may feel completing assessments. This in turn may allow them to engage in social learning more effectively.