Using Rubrics to Grade Online Discussions

A rubric is a scoring scale used to evaluate a student's work. Rubrics spell out to students exactly what is expected of them, and they list the criteria instructors use to assess students' work. Rubrics also help instructors by providing guidelines for more objective grading.

The Value of Rubrics

Rubrics are useful for assessing work in any classroom setting, but they are especially helpful in online courses, where all information must be clearly stated in course documents. In some courses, instructors use rubrics for each assignment.


Here are some examples of rubrics used to assess online discussions and journal assignments.

Rubric for Instructor-Facilitated Online Discussions
This example lists expectations for student participation and includes a grading rubric for evaluating the quality of a student's participation in a discussion.
Example 2: Student-led Online Discussion Participation Rubric
This example assumes that students will lead and guide their own discussion. Consequently, the instructor will not directly answer questions unless students specifically address them to him, or if he thinks the students are proceeding in the wrong direction. The topics are typically designed for students to help each other by sharing ideas, resources and experiences not a place for them to give each other the correct answers. 
Example 3: Online Classroom Attendance and Participation Expectations
This example consists of a participation grading rubric and a letter to the class that defines the differences between logging on, attendance, and participation.
Example 4: Online Journal Rubric
This example provides student expectations and a grading rubric that evaluates a student's ability to reflect on course content such as readings, lectures, and other class activities.
Example 5: Netiquette Resources
This example provides some ideas for discussion board etiquette. Some professors prefer that students use "classroom English," by which I mean: be courteous and use standard (not slang) English. Students often chat online using an abundance of abbreviations or "chat slang" (e.g. i will c u 2-morro). The instructor or a teaching assistant will want to monitor all course online discussions to ensure students use proper netiquette.
Example 6: Wondering what you should do for the "participation" portion of our class?
This example discusses participation expectations, defines a substantive post, and provides other ideas for participation.
Follow this link for more References on Effective Practices in Online Discussions

Please use the examples for educational purposes only. Please feel free to copy, distribute, display, perform, remix and create a derivative work based on the content of the examples.