Friday, May 27, 2005

Question number 3

Well, as intrigued as I was by Mr. McNamar's questions, I am just now getting around to thinking about #3:
3. Should posts be graded, if so, what should the criteria be?
This is something that I have thought about and written about before - here, here and here. I have seen several rubrics and schemes for grading blogs, including Dennis Jerz's, Bee's, Rick West's, Jill Walker's and some others I can't find right now. It seems that people who are assigning blogs for their students are grading them.

Of all the ideas I have seen, I think I like ones suggested by Bud's students best of all. Elle had some really excellent ideas, including
Blogs should be graded on all three; frequency, subject matter, and content.
For example; when writing a newspaper article (as I often have for the class we have at the school), you need the entire package of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?
Blogging has the same kind of essentials; Frequency, Subject, and Content. Kinda like the whole a+b+c = d, well Frequency+Subject+Content = Good Blogging.
Tyr' had some very good ideas, saying
I would like to put forth the idea that blogging should be based on a student by student draft, this is rather hard to do for large-scale communities, but at the same time for what we are doing in our experimental blogging class it is the perfect way to address the grading issue. Students, at the beginning of the class should explain what they want to accomplish with their blog as a final goal or as a 'major' goal. The occasional assignment/prompt from the teacher is fine to keep people on track and to make sure they have an accurate depction of what they are meant to do. If a student then does not do what attempted to set out for the class goals, then s/he will not receive an A, the grade would then fall into the hands of the teacher based on the other work this student has submitted. I feel this is the most fair way to grade without degrading the usefulness and limiting our abilities as a community to blog.
I guess I believe that blogs should be graded - or at least that some blog posts should be graded. The criteria should be spelled out and understood before the class actually starts. I think it should be graded in a portfolio format where students choose their "best" posts. It seems obvious that the student who writes more would have more to choose from and would, therefore, be likely to produce a better portfolio. That would seem to cover the question of frequency and content and, to a large degree, subject matter, as well.

Well, I am listening to Bud's podcast as I am writing this, and I think I have babbled on long enough. Still no real answers, but it was interesting to think about it. I'd like to hear your adeas.


Stephen Lazar said...

Your thoughts really helped me think about my teaching with blogs. I posted some thought on my blog.

Jason said...

Interesting comments about bloggers and evaluation. I refuse to read my student's blogs on any systematic basis. I prefer random checks, stats, and peer to peer evaluation. That way they are blogging, not writing for teacher. True, I tend to us blogging with graduate and senior undergraduate students, and it will be interesting when I shift this to elementary students in the next few years, but since my thinking about writing online is more social constructivist than anything else, I can't imaging it changing much. If writing for professional writers is communal, I cannot see why it should not be seen as communal in learners as well. And I think that formal summative evaluation speaks against that.

Of course, there's no problem with having student USE their blog materials to construct formal assignment...

Anonymous said...

As far as assessment is concerned, schools have always put the horse before the carriage. The fundamental question is whether it is for the students to shape their work in compliance to assessment criteria. I believe it should be the other way around: it is for teachers to identify, in the overall production of a student, wherein lie the skills that can be evaluated and to assess them accordingly. Blogs are wonderful tools to that effect, especially from a student's perspective.

Anonymous said...

Shoot! That would be "put the cart before the horse". Sorry about that!