This is the second time I come across something like this. A course workload calculator. This one from Rice University (I have a soft spot for them because I taught there in 2008).
On the one hand, I feel like it can be useful for people who teach courses at the same level to compare their workloads to each other or what is expected.
It differentiates between reflective, argumentative and research writing. But it does not ask any contextual questions about exams. Like how much needs to be studied, what the format is (MCQ, essay, problem-solving, open book, take home) but I wonder if using it in a workshop to promote critical discussion – e.g. when we are building a new syllabus, might be useful? So not necessarily to use the calculator per se, but to critique it and use it as a starting point for discussing workload and academic rigor and what it means for us.
Which reminds me of one of my favorite articles of all time – Beyond Rigor, in which Pete Rorabough, Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel write:
We must move past our traditional definition of rigorous academic work, and recognize that a learning experience or a pedagogical methodology can be both playful and also have the qualities of the best academic work, if not the reagents of traditional rigor.
What do you think? Should this kind of calculator be used? How useful is it for doing its job, vs for a starting point for critical conversation in a workshop around rigor?