Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rigor: scrupulous or inflexible accuracy or adherence

I saw a blog post in the #ccourses feed about rigor and wanted to comment; DOH - I did not even notice that the blog was restricted to "team members" before I had typed out my comment. 

So.... here is the comment I was going to leave. This is a topic on which I have much more to say, but just the dictionary definition of RIGOR says a lot! :-)

~ ~ ~

I really agree with these goals, but rigor just is not the right word, is it? "Rigor means well-designed and meaningful experience in courses that connect students with their colleagues, with the instructor and with the content, as well as the things that actually matter are the critical thinking and the literacy skills"
That simply is not what rigor means in any common usage. Just to confirm my own very negative impression of the word rigor, I looked it up, and the dictionary definition was even WORSE than I expected!
So, I'm all for meaningful experiences. Rigor does not seem like the right banner to wave for that though...
Rigor defined.


  1. First of all, thanks for noticing my comment settings! I've edited that so 'registered users' can now leave comments, not just 'members.' And, thanks for reading my post. I agree that 'rigor' is not the right word to use in this instance, but my post was a reflection on the comments on same from Richard, Mimi and Josipa in the video. What I was trying to get at were the expectations of 'high standards' for students, as well as 'high standards' for faculty. All too often, I've seen courses in which little was expected from learners, less from the instructor, and not much connection fostered among them.

  2. Oh, I agree absolutely - although I prefer to say "high expectations" ... my courses are very open-ended and standards cannot anticipate the wide range of learning outcomes that I am happy to see. For me, I see the vocabulary of rigor playing into the hands of the grade-inflation agenda (with the possibility that our freedom to use our own grading approaches might be curtailed), and I see the vocabulary of standards playing into the hands of the testing companies. If courses are failing to be meaningful, I don't think invoking rigor will help... but there are lots of others things we can try, like... CONNECTED LEARNING. :-)

  3. Nice! High expectations doesn't need to be 'high stakes.' High stakes testing and classes that weed out low performers both lead to higher instances of cheating and other devious behaviors. High expectations means 'we're going to a lot that is meaningful, we're going to engage (connect?) with each other, with the subject matter and the learning outcomes, we're going to go through some open and honest revisions of our understanding, what we write, what we do, and how we do it, and I'm going to share in this as your instructor who's a partner in the effort.' I just want my faculty and my college to do good work and to give students a great experience, sending them on their way to do the next great work.

    1. Oops.

      "we're going to DO a lot that is meaningful..."

      Not "who's," but "whose."

  4. One of the things I love about students publishing and sharing their writing is that over time I've seen that raises expectations better than anything I can ever say. At the beginning of the semester, when students see what students achieved in past semester, that naturally sets the bar higher and higher. That works for me! :-)

  5. Another best practice. Distributes the workload, gets 'em connected and raises the bar. Yes!


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