Friday, June 20, 2008

Grading Blog Posts

A bit of a blogevangelist for education, whether speaking to colleagues down the hall or at conferences, I'm often asked "how do you grade a blog, do you have a rubric?" The short answer is "Yes."

Academic blogging is different from MySpace or Facebook. There are rules. Insert groan. I keep it simple for my sake as well as for that of my students. Students earn points under the categories of courtesy, communication, focus, scholarship, and thinking. You can take a look at the rubric I use for my students--click here.

In a recent articlein Campus Technology, Learning in the Webiverse: How Do You Grade a Conversation?, MIT's Trent Batson offers these tips that fit with most things we look for in good writing, conversational and academic:

  • coehesion of elements

  • awareness of audience

  • purpose

  • diction
It's clear from Baston's explanations of these components, there is a powerful difference from writing in a blog and writing a traditional essay. The stakes are higher when students are writing for authentic audience of peers in a public space. Purpose is torqued, too. To write for a class blog, students are called to not merely demonstrate knowledge but to share it meaningfully. Diction and coherency come into play as essential skills to accomplish the message.

I'd say this all adds up to much more engagement, thinking, and motivation to write well.

Image credit: "Conversations Silhouette" by b d solis, Creative Commons Copyright -- Attribution

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