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University Student Workload and Leisure TimeResearch Paper

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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… [END OF PREVIEW]

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