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Effects of Multiple Instructors


Jones, F., S. Harris, 2012, "Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Multiple Instructors to Teach Single Courses, 2012, College Teaching, Vol. 60, No. 4, pp. 132-139.

Questions or Goals

  1. What makes having multiple instructors in a single course effective? 
  2. What drawbacks are there to having multiple instructors? 


At the end of Spring term, 2009, we asked students in five courses to respond to the following two open-ended questions:

1.  Please comment on how having multiple instructors makes this a MORE effective course for you.
2.  Please comment on how having multiple instructors makes this a LESS effective course for you.

At the end of Fall term 2009 we asked slightly modified questions, and we asked if multiple instructors was generally and advantage or disadvantage.

A full report on this work is now available, including an executive summary. See "Products" below.

People (contacts)

  • Sara Harris is P.I. on this project
  • Francis Jones
  • Sarah Henderson
  • All STLFs and instructors involved in these courses.


  • The report was completed in spring 2010 and an article for publication is being prepared during summer 2010.
  • During summer, 2009, we hired an EOS student, Sarah Henderson, to code the student survey responses from all five classes.  Results will provide us with some preliminary response patterns and help us make plans for another round of data collection in Fall 2009.
  • Dec 2009: data gathered from 746 students, 17 instructors and 9 courses using 3 teaching models.
  • March 2010: full report and executive summary (see products below).
  • April 2011: This work is now being submitted for publication in "College Teaching".

Products (papers, presentations, etc)

  • Executive summary plus full report (PDF).
  • Shorter (<5000 words) article submited for publication. Link will be provided to published article when it becomes available.
  • Poster presentation for CWSEI Year End event, April 2010
  • Bibliography.


Our aim is to see whether student perceptions of multiple instructors differ in these different formats, and, if so, what is happening in the different formats that makes it more or less effective.  We plan to be able to make recommendations regarding how to make a multiple-instructors model work best for students.

Anticipated benefits to undergraduate learning

Recommendations about optimal implementation practices when a course has multiple instructors will affect all courses the use or plan to use multiple instructors.

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