Student workload: a case study of its significance, evaluation and management at the Open University

Whitelock, Denise; Thorpe, Mary and Galley, Rebecca (2015). Student workload: a case study of its significance, evaluation and management at the Open University. Distance Education, 36(2) pp. 161–176.



Distance students are time poor and some drop out of their studies because they fall behind with coursework. This raises the issue of how course teams decide upon how many study hours should be included in a course. This article presents a number of Open University projects that have addressed student workload management and relates how learning design has incorporated these findings into advice for new module development. Moreover, the article also discusses how recent automatic feedback systems can motivate and support time-poor students when writing their assignments. This is an important finding as drop-out can occur when students are unable to devote the necessary time to their summative assessments and drop out of the learning process.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions



  • Item ORO ID
  • 43756
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1475-0198
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Not SetEP/J005231/1EPSRC
  • Keywords
  • assignment feedback; learning design; pedagogy; student-focused approaches; student workload; study time
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
    Other Departments > Other Departments
    Other Departments
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2015 Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia, Inc.
  • Depositing User
  • Denise Whitelock