A few days ago, Yong published a round-up of the latest numbers of blogs and wikis hosted by the Digital Commons. It’s fantastic to see such faculty and student participation in scholarly blogging. But the question of evaluating blogs as a course component is still a relatively new one– how do we assess this digital work that students do?
As we know, communicating clear expectations to students is a vital component of any course assignment. Assigned blog posts are no exception. Creating a rubric is one way of ensuring that your students are aware of the criteria by which you are assessing their work. Mark Sample, a professor of literature and new media at George Mason University, has been grading student blogs using a simple rubric that has served him and his students well. He described this rubric and his overall blog assessment strategy on the Chronicle of Higher Education last week, and comments that followed provided links to a number of other rubrics professors across the nation are using to assess their students’ blog work. Recognizing that a blog is an inherently social medium and requires new evaluation strategies, Gideon Burton of Brigham Young University, for example, has included both an “interactivity” and a “community” element in his criteria for evaluating research blogs, indicating to his students that being part of a wider scholarly community is an important quality of blogging. Karen Franker at the University of Wisconsin shares a rubric that values voice, multimedia, and mechanics, among others.
This latest round of sharing blog rubric ideas, initiated by Mark Sample’s recent blog post, joins a conversation that has been going on for some time. Earlier this year, Jeff McClurken (University of Mary Washington) and Julie Meloni (University of Victoria) shared best practices for evaluating student blog participation, which included suggestions to provide feedback early on, highlight good posts, and talk with students about the components of a good blog post.
These reflections and rubrics are excellent resources for thinking about how to grade blog posts with transparency and intention. If you would like to meet with any of the Digital Commons team to discuss blog evaluation, please email us.