The FSSE survey asks faculty members how much time students are expected to spend preparing for their selected course and how much they believe students actually spend preparing for their course. Similarly, the NSSE survey asks students to report how many hours per week they spend preparing for class. To compare student and faculty responses, student-reported means are converted from weekly to per class averages by dividing the total number hours per week by four which represents the typical course load for full-time status.
In general, NSSE and FSSE results reveal a considerable gap in the amount of time faculty members expect students to spend and how much time students actually report spending preparing for class. Results suggest faculty expect students to study about six hours per week for a single class, but students report nearly half that amount of time (a little over three hours per week per class). Although faculty members have higher expectations, their estimation of the actual time students spend preparing for class (3.1 hours) closely resembles to students’ self-reported data (3.6 hours).
Additionally, expectations and estimates fluctuate when disciplinary area is considered. For example, faculty members in the physical sciences expect more per class study time than any other subject area. Also while most faculty tend to closely estimate students preparation for class, biological science faculty underestimate study time by over an hour per week.
Table 1: Percentage of faculty time spend per class on selected teaching practices by general academic area of their selected course
The same pattern exists for the Typical-Student version of the FSSE survey. On average, faculty members expect a typical student across all their courses to spend nearly seven hours per week preparing for class, whereas students report spending nearly half that amount of time. Again, there is a variation by disciplinary area. (Please note averages are slightly higher due to survey design).
Table 2: Percentage of faculty time spend per class on selected teaching practices by general academic area of their selected course