I just responded to an online classmates’ discussion board post about the challenge of grading online assignments, such as discussion board and blog posts. I’ve also found that it can be challenging, but I have developed two systems which require honesty and responsible behavior from my students.
For discussion boards, I do not respond to each student. Instead, I expect them to respond to one another and submit their work using a Google form. Then, I just skim the posts—I see it as they were having an in-class discussion and I was observing.
For blog posts, I use another Google form and Google Reader. The students submit their work using the Google form, which contains instructions, a simple rubric, and a place to paste links to their posts. This form collects all of the assignments in a spreadsheet, but I normally just use it to see which students completed the assignment and the grade they expect to earn. My TA also checks these forms and comments on posts throughout the week. In Google Reader, I have organized my students’ blogs into folders, English 9 and English 10. Every weekend, I tackle one folder. I read each student’s posts in Reader and comment on one post in Blogger. So far, this system is working.
· Sample Discussion Board Form
· Sample Blog Assignment Form
· Sample Student Blog Comments Form
Students: What are your thoughts about the forms we use? Do you mind that I only respond to your posts every two weeks?
Adults: What strategies do you use to grade online discussions?