Professors Overloading Students

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been devastating for students, especially in correlation with their academic workload. According to this study most students feel their academic workloads have increased during the pandemic, however, professors retain they are giving students less work then they normally do. Following this strange discrepancy, Betsy Barre, an administrator at a teaching center wrote an essay about some of the possible causes and fixes of this issue, let’s go over a few of them.

One possibility is that professors are not clearly communicating their expectations of students. For instance, if a professor asks a student to write a paper they will not usually specify how detailed it needs to be or what aspects of the paper will be grader more heavily. This causes students to spend far more time working on the paper than the professor had intended them to. 

Another possibility is that students may be perceiving that the workload has increased when in reality it has remained fairly consistent. This is a bit of a strange idea, but consider that students have become more stressed and anxious during the pandemic, meaning increased stress levels and mental fatigue. This strain makes it difficult for students to focus on school work resulting in decreased efficiency and the perception that the workload is larger than it really is. 

So now that we have looked at some possible causes for this phenomenon let's look at some proposed solutions. On the students' end, they should reach out to their professors if they give unclear instructions or they are not sure what they are expected to do for an assignment. This means that students will know exactly what they need to do and will not waste extra time adding things that are unnecessary. As for the professor, they need to reach out to students and ask them how long they are spending watching their lectures and doing their assignments. Professors can compare how long students are actually taking to complete assignments and how long they expect students to be working on assignments and adjust accordingly.


The problem can really be solved with better communication between the professor and the student. Unfortunately this connection has not been as present during the pandemic, students are less engaged in classes and don’t want to reach out to their professor directly. As for professors, most haven’t even seen the faces of half their class and seem to spend hours talking to screens of initials and occasionally answering questions from the chat. So with better connection, both the students and the professor can work toward making online learning better for everyone.



Barre, B. B. (2021, January 22). The Work Load Dilemma. Wake Forest University.