May 29, 2020
Dear OCADFA Members,
Our Spring General Members Meeting (GMM) will take place on Friday June 5th from 11-2pm on Teams. You will be sent an invite to the GMM next week. President Diamond recently announced that September classes will be delivered remotely with some ‘in-person learning opportunities’. OCADFA would like to hear your thoughts on the fall announcement. This is our opportunity to share concerns, strategies and support each other through these challenging times.
Remote delivery has required faculty to work longer hours during a time when work and home life pressures have intensified. Designing and delivering new courses and being available for extended and unpredictable hours.
The workload burden is unevenly distributed. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequities in our sector. Members who have school aged children, who carry elder care responsibilities are carrying extra loads which impacts on their capacity to meet other service and research obligations. There is a gendered lens to this scenario as this article highlights:
The expansion of class caps for Spring/Summer courses in 2020 are the subject of a Group Grievance filed by OCADFA on the increased workload resulting from increased course enrollments, increased course caps, and remote delivery of courses.
OCADFA reached out to our members delivering remote instruction for the Spring/Summer terms to get a sense of how their workload has been impacted by the increased class sizes and the mode of delivery. This is a snapshot of what they had to report:
Consultation on expanded classes:
“I was, and still am shocked that there is a new cap of 35 to 45 for classes that had previously been 18 and 20 last summer. I was told that I needed to make a decision that day. So I accepted and signed the contracts because I had to start preparing very quickly to record all the content and revise it for remote delivery.”
“Prior to the first class, I had logged 70 hours on Canvas preparing these materials. Typically, I would spend about 30 hours prepping materials and then making edits/adjustments as necessary. This includes creating new recorded content with captions, extra tutorials, and many revisions to a course that had already been prepped and delivered in studio before”.
“Contact hours with students almost triple due to the extra correspondence with online delivery of this course and with the course cap increasing from 18/20 students to 35 students”.
“What is normally a 15 hour a week commitment is nearly double that at 25 hours per week plus another 50 hours in front end redesign work”.
“I have been tracking the time I am investing in workshops, meetings, communication and course development and am currently at 27.5 hours. This is for a summer course. “
“45 additional hours for grading assignments and email communications for the increased cap size of 15 students.”
“It is overwhelming. Students want a more ‘classroom-like experience’, and I have had to add class Zooms as well as individual meetings. The extra students in online delivery is a heavy concern because there is a lot of overseeing of projects, with at least four sections of student / instructor meetings for review per/project. These have now turned into online delivery with hours more correspondence with each student.”
“I have had to rely on responding to the many emails seeking clarity or one-on-one help by selecting the most generic questions to answer for all in group announcements – which I do 4-10 times a week. Conflating this with online teaching has made my work level and quality level suffer.”
“I was not provided additional TA support and the support I have is inadequate”.
“Increasing the class size without increasing the amount of TA hours in unfair and extremely labour-intensive for the instructor, with a short turnaround time. In addition, students have online presentations and discussion groups that need to be marked. It is untenable for me to be able to do that much marking in the short time allotted.”
Members report having to buy furniture, retrofit their basements or office spaces with small repairs or adjustments. Faculty have had to buy accessories to support ergonomic issues that arise from spending so much time at the desk and on screen.
OCADFA is very concerned about the experiences of our Spring/Summer faculty members. We know these workload issues can be addressed with adequate compensation, TA support and resources. The impact is not evenly carried. Sessional faculty are especially vulnerable. They are required to re-design their courses, commit hours to training on new modes of delivery and log extra hours to manage the extra students – all without any increase in compensation or job security.
Spring/Summer Newsletter: Our Labour in Times of COVID-19
The deadline to submit is May 31 (11:59 p.m.)
Submissions can include, but are not limited to:
● Short story
● Visual Art
● First person narrative
Please e-mail submissions and include a very brief bio to Maria Belén Ordóñez (email@example.com) with the subject heading “OCADFA Spring Newsletter”. As this is a fast-approaching deadline, it’s also a fast-thinking submission about something you may already be thinking about, or, you have even started writing/making/composing/brainstorming. It can be as short or long as the deadline allows.
We are on Facebook and Twitter, where we frequently share relevant news and articles on labour, pedagogy and artistic/research practices. Please like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And if you have a upcoming exhibition or a event that is related to your professional practice or pedagogy, please email details to Vice President Surendra Lawoti (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will share them on our social media.
Min Sook Lee