Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Date of this Version



Essays on Teaching Excellence" Toward the Best in the Academy (1995-1996) 7(1)

A publication of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Copyright 1996, Edward Neal. Used by permission


Attending class is akin to regular religious observance: The ritual or sermon is less important for what it teaches directly than for its motivational impact on what believers do between services. Lowman, 1984, page 165

Even carrying a full course load, students spend a relatively small proportion of each week in class, typically about 15 hours, and research has shown that most undergraduates spend only a few hours a week studying outside of class. How do they occupy their time? According to a national survey of college students (Boyer, 1987), almost 30 percent of full-time students work 21 or more hours a week; 31 percent spend over 10 hours a week in informal conversations with other students; 33 percent watch television more than seven hours a week; 38 percent spend between three and 10 hours in leisure reading; and 47 percent participate in some type of organized student activity, consuming another three to 10 hours a week.