This study compared the workload and value of work done outside of class reported by 3512 undergraduate students at Brigham Young University completing 16-week semester and 8-week term University Core (General Education and Religion) classes. Based on the results of this analysis, significant differences in workloads were found when comparing them by occasion (semester versus term). Significant differences were also found in workload and value of homework based on the autonomy of the instructors. On average, the workload difference by occasion equates to approximately 54 minutes more per week in a 3-credit semester course when compared to a term course. While term workloads are lighter than semester workloads in general, both could be called "University Core lite," in that none of the courses exceeded the expected workloads of two hours outside of class per hour in class. The value of homework reported by occasion was overall not significantly different between semester and term. When comparing the reported workload based on the autonomy of the instructor to make changes to a course, statistically significant differences were found. Regardless of occasion, workload tended to decrease when the instructor had greater autonomy in designing the course. The difference in the value of homework reported by autonomy was also found to be significant. The pattern for this factor was reversed in comparison to workload. Students reported greater value in the homework done outside of class in courses when the instructor had greater autonomy. Overall, based on calculated workloads coupled with changes instructors made to their term courses, the impact to the course in terms of workloads was greatest for reading- and writing-intensive courses. Each of which reported a substantial decline in workloads when taught in term format. Math and physics courses came closest to meeting the expected workloads and remained constant between semester and terms. These and other implications are discussed, and recommendations are made regarding the types of courses that are best suited to being taught in a time-compressed format.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





accelerated course, compressed course, time-shortened course, student workload