Workload Reduction in Online Courses: Getting Some Shuteye

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Instructors are a key component of any successful facilitated, asynchronous online course. They are tasked with providing the infrastructure for learning; modeling effective participation, collaboration, and learning strategies; monitoring and assessing learning and providing feedback, remediation, and grades; troubleshooting and resolving instructional, interpersonal, and technical problems; and creating a learning community in which learners feel safe and connected. Accomplishing these objectives is labor and time intensive, often requiring instructors to be constantly online. Besides being impractical, this can lead to questionable instructional quality and eventual instructor burnout. Fortunately, there are instructional strategies that can help achieve instructor presence without requiring that an instructor be online all the time: course orientation and management; assessment of learners during online activities; and discussion facilitation and management. These strategies not only help instructors manage their time without overly increasing learners' workload, but also enhance the learning and overall online course experience for everyone involved