Students all across universities are troubled with planning their credits, as they have to devise a learning time for themselves, as well as find leisure time. In the words of Lavigne (2003), credits should be allocated in accordance with Relative Student Workload. but, that is another story altogether. The aim of this paper is the academic experience involving students in universities assuming MSc program. The paper explores the work they do, the teaching they receive and their satisfaction with the study workload. More, specifically, this study focuses on whether the concept of students being overworked a perception or a reality. Keeping all of the above in mind, the MSc program was taken into consideration and following questions were asked:
What do students consider as being overworked?
What do students do with their spare time?
Key Literature/Knowledge Underpinning the Research Questions
In order to adjust to the Higher Education Space, university teaching is presently in transition with respect to curriculum and syllabus up-gradation and standardization . Alongside, comes the orientation for subject programming adjusted to the current credit system. For adjusting the present subjects to credits, for rearranging teaching and restructuring teaching guide, it’s imperative for every student to go through the voluminous work first in order to pass a course or a higher grade. That’s exactly what the current credit system entails. The credits are all set for a student’s work inside a class and outside of it as well. In this system, each student has to study for at least 1500-1800 hours for passing each year (European Commission 2006, Bologna process 2006).
According to one study, a one year’s course should contain credits, so that makes 25-30 hours of work done by students, with nearly 40 weeks work allocated for every one year course which includes exam periods too (European Commission 2006, Bologna process 2006). Here’s the math:
40 weeks x 40 hours of work/week = 1600 hours (26.5 hours per credit).
A method adopted by the educational researchers is to inquire the students through questionnaires. This goes against the argument made by teaching staff that, students aren’t taken in consideration that seriously and hinders the active student joint participation. Thus, the lack of educational innovation is apparent, which stipulates that active student participation is evidently required in learning- teaching process (Viennot 1997, Gil et al. 1991).
In most the researches, the students are under microscope as the aim is to determine the amount of working hours / studying time they spent on a subject. The results attained for assessing student working hours/studying-time are differing as fluctuations are found in the ranges of 20 to 37 work hours a week in case of engineering students enrolled in European universities (Kolari, Savander-Ranne, and Viskari 2006; Garmendia et al. 2008).
Educational researchers have proposed another method which is assigning credits with respect to learning results. This entails both amount of time spent by a student and work done in order to attain a learning objective. The method is already in implementation by distance learning universities which have open and distance learning semesters, making use of surveys to ensure that a student’s work effort is adequate or inadequate. In this case, anonymous questionnaires are made use of and student’s work effort is calculated and it’s established whether the required work effort was appropriate / inappropriate (ECTS, 2006, Garmendia et al. 2008).
One of the contributing factors of students withdrawing from their studies is high workload which affects them in different ways as well as the society and the institute. A lot of institutes struggle a lot with the amount of dropouts due to overload of work and the long time it takes for the course to complete. At least one third of the students from OECD countries dropout of their institutes before the course is completed and most of them drop out in their first year only (Bowyer, 2012). This high rate of dropout is not favorable for the students, society and institute because the student will have a less chance of creating a successful career, the society will not benefit from people with knowledge and higher education and the institute will not make enough money while its reputation will also be at a risk (Bowyer, 2012). Students face many difficulties like employment pressure, poor time management and stress but the major one is workload which becomes the reason of dropping out of the institute when they can no longer handle these.
Another factor is the overload of units stacked on the students which forms time management issues as a result of inadequate planning by the faculty of the institution; however the stacking of units can also be because of the greediness of students who want to learn as much as possible in less time. These results in them being experiencing stress due to the amount of pressure that they fail to handle (Bowyer, 2012).
It would be fruitful to know the amount of hours spent on a particular subject, how it is spread out over the entire course along with the leisure time available to the students and how they spent it. This will evaluate whether the course gave learning curve, maturing skills, skill development, and capabilities enhancement whilst enjoying the workload and student university life or a volatile dedication based on rote learning the subject contents and disposal after its conclusion (Garmendia et al. 2008). This study focuses on whether the concept of students being overworked a perception or a reality.
Analysis and Presentation of Findings
In the interviews, with regards to the first and fourth questions about the MSc management course the subjects were studying and their previous posts. The Middle East male student was studying MSc management and previously was enrolled in an undergraduate program for three years. Middle East female was studying the same course as well but she was a teacher back in her country; while, the Indian female was enrolled in MSc management in human resource management and previously was a graduate in English journal from New Delhi. The European female is enlisted in MSc management in innovation, creativity and designing management and previously was an assistant analyst and studied economics for two years. The African Female was enrolled in MSc management program and previously was working for the government to get her degree. The African male was enrolled in the same program as African female and had previously completed his undergraduate program. So is the case with Chinese female while the Chinese male was enrolled in MSc management and had done his bachelor’s in English previously. The questionnaires were filled by 60 respondents in which 40 were female and 20 were male, however this does not state that the females constitute of a large amount in the higher studies; but the sample was random and could indicate that the females were more interested in being surveyed. According to the second question of the survey, out of 60 respondents, 25 were Chinese, 10 were Indian, 9 were African, 7 were European, 5 were Middle Eastern and 4 were other Asian nationals. As mentioned in the above studies as well, the universities are now accepting a diverse population which includes students coming from different parts of the world and their duties regarding understanding the needs of each of the student have now increased.
Furthermore, on the second question relating to the respondent’s feelings about their course; the Middle East male student asserted that the course was quite interesting and interactive with a steep learning curve. While, she (Middle East female) says it’s too stressful as so much work has to be done in so much little time. The Indian female feels that management courses are worth the effort and trouble. European female feels that it’s so easy and not that irksome as she imagined it to be. The African female says she’s fine. The African male says it couldn’t be easier. For the Chinese female, it’s both hardworking and new. as, she is from China it’s new and hardworking because life is busy for her. The Chinese male says he’s fine. In question three of the survey, 27 out of 60 respondents stated that their major reason for taking the MSc course was to raise their chances of seeking a good job, while 13 respondents stated that going for higher education is the main reason for seeking admission in MSC. 10, 9 and 1 respondents think that joining the MSc program would increase their knowledge and provide them with an overseas experience. Following the response of question 4 of the survey which was related to the course being interested or over-working, 12 ranked 1 and 21 ranked 2 (58% of total) who think that too many assignments make them tired and overworked while 17 and 14 individuals also proved by ranking 1 and 2 (55% of total) that if too many assignments are given to them with deadline that also get them overworked. On the other hand 50% of the subjects disagreed with the reason of unfair distribution of workload in class teams by ranking 1; and 33% also disagreed that their personal life issues make them tired. Question 10 of the interview was asked to know how the students managed their study time in which the Middle East male asserted that no particular time is fixed for study at all. The Middle East female is more organized and managed than Middle East male. She keeps friends and studies close. She has a proper timetable for herself and gives extra hours in library if necessary. Her timetable is for ten days ahead. The European female is a hardworking girl. Thus she manages her time so smoothly, it’s effortless. The African girl has no particular time of study. She studies when she feels like. The African male feels the same way. The Chinese female is a bit complicated. She uses iPad to manage her life. The Chinese male is very flexible and manageable. Once again, the key finding here is that all students have their individual set of strengths and weaknesses as learners and they set plan their learning process and strategy accordingly. A lot of institutes struggle a lot with the amount of dropouts due to overload of work and the long time it takes for the course to complete. At least one third of the students from OECD countries dropout of their institutes before the course is completed and most of them drop out in their first year only. This high rate of dropout is not favorable for the students, society and institute.
The international students also find difficulties because of the cultural and norm differences in language and education, but it does not entirely mean that they all do badly in their studies. In response to the fifth question, which dealt with similarities and differences between their country of origin and their current destination; the Middle East male asserted that the undergraduate was relaxed and carefree. The Middle East female feels the same as there is a huge difference. She had a presentation to give as a teacher, while being here; she has to work so much. The key finding in this question is that subjects are not giving a negative vibe, which would normally be the case, if they are overloaded. In question 5 of the survey, 76 per cent of the students accepted their great interest in the MSc program while 40% accepted that they had less workload in the previous degree. In contrast to the local students, the international students are expected to work harder because of the differences they feel in the new country. Comparatively, it is easier for the local students to adjust to the environment because they are surrounded by their own people while the international students have to adjust to a totally new environment, learn their language and perform their studies in a new language as well. While a lot of students find the environment similar to their own home country, others find it difficult and have to work with more concentration in order to not disappoint themselves and their families.
As mentioned above, the students have in order to fulfill their expectations and succeed in their studies throughout the university have to devise a proper timetable and manage their time. In relation with this, the third question of the interview tells about the details of the student’s week and how each one spent it. The Middle East male, the Indian Female and the European Female worked hard during the starting days of the week while the African female, the African male and the Chinese male had a less stressful routine. The key finding here is that the initial problems faced by the Chinese female also seemed to have been overcome and that she seems quite motivated to pursue her education further. In contrast, the international students adapt quickly to changes and they should be appreciated in studying in the language that is not familiar to them rather than being criticized over it (Bowyer, 2012). The sixth and seventh question of the survey revealed that on an average, students expect 15 hours on independent individual and for group study in a week excluding class hours. 40 hours are the maximum hours which student expects to spend according to this survey along with minimum 3 hours in a week. Question 8 of the survey also revealed that when an assessment is due, the students study 20 hours a week whether individually or in a group.
The institutions nowadays are accepting a more diverse population however with that acceptance; they are not addressing the needs of every student. A lot of students are re-entering the college with a large gap in their education and such students lack confidence in their abilities; however they show motivation to learn (Hester, Cunliffe, & Hunnisett, 2013). Some of these students are also juggling between their personal lives and jobs and they need extra attention from their faculty in order to feel accepted and motivated. In relation to this, the students who were surveyed mostly had a job experience before being enrolled in the MSc program. 27 respondents (45% of total) revealed that a major reason for undertaking MSc management master’s degree was to raise the probability of seeking a good job. While in the eyes of 13 respondents (22% of total) attaining the higher level of education is the major reason for seeking admission in MSc. But on the other hand 10 respondents (17% of total), 9 respondents (15% of total), 1 respondent (2% of total) think that the reason for joining is increasing their knowledge and getting overseas experience and others respectively. Furthermore for the Chinese female, learning English was a huge undertaking as it’s difficult to speak and write at the same time. She was assisted by her tutors. English language was also found out the be one of the factor because the higher the level of the language, the more easier it was to handle the workload while low level of the English language made the students feel more pressure and workload. This is mainly the issue with the international students whose first language is not English and they first have to cross that obstacle in order to be able to learn. According to a survey, 80% of international students do 60 hours/week of studying while 11% spent 61 to 100 hours/week and other 60% found it very hard to cope with the work provided by the institution. Additionally, in the fifth question of the interview, the Chinese female says that she is facing a tough time with studying and understanding English; but for the Chinese male, his classmates were from all over the world so he had no difficulty in speaking or writing in English. The European female also had no problem with the English language as she had studied in America for some time. The findings here reveal a mixed picture where some students are finding it difficult to cope with the courses, while for others it is a walk in the park. The difficulty may have to do with how well the students are able to understand and converse in the English Language, as pointed out by one student.
The students find the course to be of mixed values and while some find it manageable, the others find difficulty with the skills of English language. According to question seven of the interview, the international students find the course interesting even though it was alien. It is too much hard work for the Middle East female, but they work together and get good numbers in the end. It is time consuming for her too. For the Indian female, life is too hard work and tons of assignments are to be given to respective teachers; but with time come skill. The European female had a different field before. Now she combines both fields making her a unique candidate. The African female says Nigeria was based on rote learning. Learn everything and appear in exams while over here, learn and summarize is more like it. Then, work load is less and life is quite flexible. The Africa male is a slacker and works when required. Not more and more less. The Chinese female is still embroiled in learning English; but she says she has time to learn and teachers are flexible too. Another survey regarding the engineering students stated the sources of stress for engineering students which included the difficult nature and high level of the curriculum as well as the workload; lack of sleep and huge amounts of assignments that they have to complete and grade competition among the classmates. The results of this study corroborate the findings of Garmendia et al. (2008) who asserted that European Engineering students on average study between 20 and 37 hours weekly; whereas in this study, students studied somewhere between 15 and 40 hours. The key finding here is that all students have their individual set of strengths and weaknesses as learners and they have discovered these attributes whilst studying here at the university. Question 6 of the interview also provides details about the students’ feelings about the course, each of them describing them with a given set of words. The Middle East female said no to challenging and rewarding only and yes to all. The Indian female said no to beneficial and yes to all. The European female said no to stressful, frustrating, rewarding and overworking and yes to all. The African female said no to comfortable, interesting, frustrating, overworking and yes to all. The African male said no to comfortable, challenging, beneficial and yes to all. The Chinese female said no to time consuming, frustrating, rewarding and overworking and yes to all. The Chinese male said no to comfortable and interesting and yes to all. Once again, the findings here reveal a mixed picture where some students are finding it difficult to manage, while others are finding it easy. The difficulty, once again, here, may have to do with their English language skill level.
Leisure time activities are an important part of a student’s life and in relation to that in question eight of the interview, the students were asked about other activities they do with their spare time besides studying, the Middle East male asserted that his social standing completely changed with hanging out with new friends, studying with them at home and at their house. The Middle East female is all alone with no friends and family here; thus, she has all the time for herself and cooking. Indian female attends parties and hangs out with friends. She was a content writer in India and she loves libraries. The European female frequents gym and her friends while maintain a job search. The African female watches Hollywood movies only. The African male is into football a bit too much and the Chinese female hangs out with friends and contacts her family over the weekend. The Chinese male hangs out with his foreigner friends and studies with them at the same time. Students throughout their academic year go through a lot of problems that involves immense pressure of workload as a result of which they experience academic problems, coping issues and dropouts from school. According to a research even in the leisure time that students find between their studies, they are continuously coping with different strategies to get over the stress of workload. Students under extreme pressure and stress try to adopt different strategies in their leisure time in order to get rid of the stress. Every person adopts a different mechanism according to their personality to best cope with the issue causing stress. So, the key finding in the last question is that all students have their individual set of strengths and weaknesses as learners and they set plan their learning process and strategy accordingly. In relation to this, question 9 of the survey showed that, 33% students are saying that they spend their time on social activities, 29% students denied this statement and 36% students did not want to comment. 33% students also said that they take care of their family in their spare time; while 40% students denied this statement while 26% people did not take a part. 15% simply said yes to spending their time in part-time jobs while 66% respondents denied this statement and 17% did not respond. So, the main finding in relation to the questionnaire stated that the students either did part time jobs or spent time with their family as a way of relaxation.
Reflections on the Data Collection Process and Team Operation
Data Validity and Reliability
In this study, high respect was given to execution and planning out the interview questions so that they will not create an obstacles or any kind of problem to the responses of the interviewees. Widening the purpose, the research worker made an anxiously eager attempt to create trust between the interviewer and interviewee in order to prevent the rise of any kind of doubt or biased attitude in context to validity and reliability of the data. The second observed bias was the interviewee’s personal bias which basically triggers by opinions or views about researcher and is pretty much understandable to happen in this kind of interviews where the interviewer has the freedom to inquire about events and find explanations and try to learn details about them (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill 2012). In such occasions, in spite of the fact the researcher tried to get access and achieve trust of the interviewee before the interview was conducted, but it is understandably clear that the interviewees were aware of all the exploration of particular issues and topics and may not disclose some aspects of the topic. On balance, I would say that the data in this study is reliable.
With regards to validity the outcomes from this study cannot be generalized to other existing studies or forthcoming research works and the results can only be used to the research herein. This is because the studier comprehends that social science lack static regulations and there are many variables which dominates the result of a specific research and for that purpose it is almost impossible to assure that new researches will create identical results.
Results of this study as compared to those in the literature
The results of this study corroborate the findings of Garmendia et al. (2008) who asserted that European Engineering students on average study between 20 and 37 hours weekly; whereas in this study, students studied somewhere between 15 and 40 hours.
Personal Learning Experience
I found that the survey method seemingly is the most suitable method used to conduct this form of research. Therefore, next time too, I intend to use both, induction and deduction methods, coupled with the survey method, as these methods have proven to be the most effective of them all.
This survey reveals the responses students provided to the queries about the amount of teaching hours they acquired, their personal effort, studying individually or in groups; and their activities in their leisure time. That is rather a different topic, as well as, the recognized teaching students acquire — and the number hours they undertake to study privately — are simply a few of the contributions that go in the direction of gauging the standard of their experience and whether the concept of students being overworked a perception or a reality.
Student life at Masters Level or at any other level is full of difficulties and stress. The increase of stress experienced by the students is as a result of intense workload, less time to study and studying for exams under pressure to stay ahead of other students in relation with the grades and less time to swallow all the important information required to pass the exams. The examinations and the grade competition is considered to be the most important reason for stress as it disturbs the external and internal environment of the body of the student and result in different psychological changes. Excess amount of overload or workload creates a huge amount of pressure and the students go through different issues of anxiety and stress and they feel that they should give up instead of going through all those experiences. Such students lose their ability of learning efficiently and they do not gain any positive experience of learning. Different strategies are adopted by students to overcome the pressure of stress which are either positive or negative. Throughout the college life students make multiple decisions to manage their time which they divide into devoting their time to job and academics, maintenance and sleeping and leisure time. Utilizing the activities in leisure time helps to overcome stress which in turn have long-term effects and improve the different behavioural and learning skills.
Bologna Process., 2006. Available from: http://www.aic.lv/ace/ace_disk/bologna/index.htm
Bowyer, K. (2012). A model of student workload. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 239-258.
Cook, T.D., and Reichardt, Ch.S., 1986. Qualitative and quantitative methods in evaluation research. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, Inc.
ECTS: European Credit Transfer System., 2006. Available from:http://ec.europa.eu./education/programmes/socrates/ects/index_en.html
European Commission., 2006. European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS). Key features. Available from: http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/education_culture/publ/pdf/ects/en.pdf
Garmendia, M., Guisasola, J., Barragues, J., and Zuza, K., 2008. Estimate of students’ workload and the impact of the evaluation system on students’ dedication to studying a subject in first-year engineering courses. European Journal of Engineering Education, 33, (4) (August), 463 — 470.
Gil, D., Belendez, a., Martin, a., and Martinez-Torregrosa, J., 1991. La formacion del profesorado universitario de materiascientificas: contra algunas ideas y comportamientos de ‘sentido comun’. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formaciondel Profesorado, 12, 43 — 48.
Hester, H., Cunliffe, C., & Hunnisett, a. (2013). Stress in Chiropractic education: a student survey of a five-year course. Education Research Service, Vol.27.
Kolari, S., Savander-Ranne, C., and Viskari, E.L., 2006. Do our engineering students spend enough time studying? European Journal of Engineering Education, 31 (5), 499 — 508.
Lavigne, R. de., 2003. ECTS credits and methods of credit allocation. Available from: http://www.ee.bilkent.edu.tr/undergrad/ects/credit_allocation.pdf
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., and Thornhill, a., 2012. Research methods for business students. 3rd Ed. London: Prentice Hall.
Viennot, L., 1997. Former en didactique, former sur le contenu? Didaskalia, 10, 75 — 96.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more