Online Instructor Burnout: Discussing Strategies and Ideas for Prevention and Recovery

Concurrent Session 6

Brief Abstract

Online instructor burnout (OIB) is costly. Prevention strategies are often provided but also often not realistic for overwhelmed instructors. What strategies or ideas do you suggest to prevent or recover from OIB? Send your ideas or comments to and join us as we discuss the aggregate results and OIB. 

Sponsored By


Dr. Mindy Menn is an Assistant Professor in Health Promotion and Kinesiology at Texas Woman's University.
Mckelle Hamson is a Ph.D. student at Texas Woman's University studying health promotion. She is currently an adjunct instructor at Utah Valley University and has taught face to face and online courses. Mckelle's research interests include evaluating prevention efforts, underage alcohol prevention, and online student success. She hopes to accept a full-time tenured position at a university upon completion of her Ph.D. program. In Mckelle's spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with family.

Extended Abstract

Background:  Online instructor burnout is a costly problem for instructors, students, and institutions. With declining job prospects in many disciplines, lower salaries, and higher workloads, online instructor burnout is a frequent topic of discussion in higher education newspapers, blogs, and commentaries. Unfortunately, many of the prevention strategies offered through such avenues are not realistic for instructors who are approaching or already experiencing burnout. For example, prevention strategies such as taking time off are difficult for individuals who identify as “online road scholars” and teach six evenings a week in order to pursue their pedagogical passion. While such prevention suggestions are almost certainly well intentioned, they are not optimal or even feasible for many online instructors. Consequently, this session will serve as a platform for open, constructive dialogue about online instructor burnout. As online instructors who are also health education specialists with academic preparation in health promotion and disease prevention programming, the presenters are uniquely qualified to discuss this timely Professional Development and Support topic.

Approach and Presentation Outline: Within this session, the presenters will share foundational information about online instructor burnout.  This session will systematically and progressively address the fundamental elements of online instructor burnout while allowing ample time for open informal interactions, dialogue, and discussion. Our content outline includes: 

  1. Published definitions of burnout and online instructor burnout
  2. Current literature (both peer-reviewed and popular) regarding online instructor burnout
  3. Proposed strategies for preventing online instructor burnout
  4. Online instructor burnout recovery

Provided Materials: The presentation slides and supplemental resource handouts elaborating on each of the primary presentation topics above will be posted on the conference website for easy retrieval.

Session Objectives and Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Discuss current literature findings regarding online instructor burnout.
  • Discuss two benefits of preventing online instructor burnout.
  • Deliberate two limitations to preventing online instructor burnout.  
  • Propose a strategy for preventing online instructor burnout.