Evaluating Compromises: A Reader’s Story

As discussed previously, a 2010 survey of professors, counsellors, and libraries conducted by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations discussed recent trends in Universities, regarding class sizes (increasing) and full-time hiring (decreasing), and the impacts of both on educational quality.

I’m indebted to a professor who responded last week to confirm that these trends aren’t restricted to Universities, particularly the survey’s claim that “a third of responding faculty admit that they were compelled to change the way that they teach”, as a consequence of increased student numbers:

This is something to which I also testify.  I have had no choice but to change, even excise assignments from my courses because I do not have enough time to mark them properly; my class sizes are just too big to accommodate more than a few assignments for each course.  Some assignments possess multiple choice sections precisely for the purposes of saving time.

Sure, it hurts my students in more ways than I can classify.  But I have to work with the limitations I have, rather than the illusion that such limitations do not exist or are temporary.  I have a feeling the situation is going to get worse, and I’m not sure if the rest of the cliché even applies.

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