Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rubrics for Online Discussions

Rubrics are common tools for evaluating complex learning outcomes, such as student writing or discussion. Penny & Murphy (2009)* examined 50 rubrics used for evaluating online discussion, and they identified four core categories among these rubrics, which you may want to include in your online discussion grading as well:

Cognitive (44.0%): "Criteria and ratings in this category reflect a preoccupation that ensures learners are not only providing information, but also engaging in higher level thinking skills such as analysing, interpreting or critically reflecting on the information presented in the forum. The criteria also emphasise learner’s ability to show evidence of deep, rather than superficial, understanding and thinking." (p. 810) "Few ratings specifically rated the learner on evidence of debate, agreement or friction. However, we located a number of ratings that rate learners on their ability to present viewpoints, perspectives and possibilities, and to strategize, compare or contrast. Some of the ratings identified thinking skills related to problem solving, such as the ability to competently analyse problems, a necessary step towards resolution. We uncovered little evidence from an examination of the ratings that they evaluate learners on the co-construction of new knowledge." (pp. 811-812)

Mechanical (19.0%): "The core category ‘mechanical’ focuses on the assessment of language use, grammar and spelling, organisation, writing style, and the use of citations and references." (p. 813)

Procedural/Managerial (18.29%): "Procedural and managerial elements of the discussion are managed by criteria and ratings that focus on learners’ presence, contributions and conduct in the forum." (p. 814)

Interactive (17.17%): "Some rubrics encourage interaction and keep the discussion focused and interactive by using criteria and ratings that encourage learners to share their reflections, resources and thoughts about the discussion. Others look for statements that elicit or encourage responses from others; that contribute to the discussion; and that respond to others." (p. 815)

*Penny, L., & Murphy, E. (2009). Rubrics for designing and evaluating online asynchronous discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(5), 804-820.

Posted at 08:15AM Sep 21, 2010 by dantonacci

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