edtech podcast #7: what do we mean when we talk about academic rigor?

In this podcast Brian & I discuss the notion of academic rigor. Using the book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa as a starting point, we explore what we mean we when we talk about a rigorous education and if and how it fits into our cultural and economic understanding of the purpose of a college degree.

edtech podcast #7: what do we mean when we talk about academic rigor?

    • Greg Ketcham
    • April 29th, 2011

    Jeff and Brian:

    We’re reading and discussing “Academically Adrift” here as well. You touch on the key point – is “pure” time spent a measure of learning? How is this any different from the antiquated notion of contact hours as an effective unit of teaching and learning?

    The writing element of the study is problematic, as it’s likely discipline specific. We wouldn’t expect intro bio or chem students to be engaging in writing intensive activities, unless they’re lab results…?

    But if we’re trying to do a meta-analysis of evidence of rigor, as described in course syllabi (a notion we’re kicking around), how in the world can I identify and code “high expectations” in a given syllabus?

    • dave
    • May 4th, 2011

    Refreshing discussion, guys. I can’t understand why expecting students to work hard and failing them when they don’t appears to be such an outsider view. Would it be possible to share some examples? Imagine some rigor injected into some typical Penn State classes and give us the before and after views. How much do we read? How many papers do we turn in? Does a tweet count as class participation or do I need a click?

    I guess I’m wondering where a faculty member would go for best practices? Where a student could go to see if they’ll get what they paid for?

    • Robert Mahaney
    • February 10th, 2012

    I have gone to college during this period and I accept the results of Academically Adrift. Not based on any metrics, but based on my experience of classes as an undergraduate and graduate student. A college education has a high cost and a very low value. Universities are simply in the business of selling loans, pure and simple.

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