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Time to teach: Revisiting teaching time in German higher education

Alexander Mitterle, Roland Block and Carsten Wuermann

management revue. Socio-economic Studies, 2015, vol. 26, issue 3, 203-226

Abstract: An important question in the study of academic work is how much time academics spend on teaching. Large-scale workload-measurements point to the fact that in nearly all cases academics spend more hours per week on teaching than they ought to. Yet in qualitative interviews academics struggle to estimate weekly worktime counts considerably. In this article we investigate the way teaching time is constructed in German universities. We argue that weekly clock-time measurements do not provide an adequate picture of teaching time compared to how it is structured and experienced by academics. Teaching time rather evolves from the time classification of the weekly contact hour (SWS) and produces different time frames depending on how courses are allocated, coordinated, conceptualized, prepared, conducted and how students are supervised or examined. By following the trajectory of the SWS through the activities of teaching we propose to concentrate less on how much time academics work but rather why time de- and inflates and how this affects teaching experience.

Keywords: teaching; higher education; academic practice; actor-network-theory; time (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I22 I23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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