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Description

This document provides a model discussion grading policy that you can download and adapt for use in your own online classes. Download an editable version at the bottom of this page.

Overview

Because the purpose of the class discussion is to increase your understanding of the course material and to encourage us all to interact and get to know one another, I will be grading your discussion participation on the basis of both substance and frequency/timeliness — details below.

Discussion Grading: Substance (70%)

RUBRIC FOR DISCUSSION PARTICIPATION

Outstanding Contributor ("A"): Contributions reflect exceptional thought and preparation. Postings are accurate, original, relevant, well-written — and teach us something new. Arguments are well supported and persuasively presented. These comments add substantial learning presence to the course and stimulate additional thought about the issue under discussion. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished markedly.

Good Contributor ("B"): Contributions reflect thorough thought and preparation. Postings lack at least one of the above qualities but are above average in content and quality. Arguments are well supported and often persuasive. These comments make significant contributions to our understanding of the issue being discussed. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished.

Adequate Contributor ("C"): Contributions reflect satisfactory thought and preparation. Postings lack two or three of the required qualities. Comments based solely on personal opinion or personal experience fall in this category. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished somewhat.

Unsatisfactory Contributor ("D"): Contributions reflect inadequate thought and preparation. Postings present little or no new information and sometimes diverge substantially from the issue under discussion — or repeat what has already been said by others. However, these comments may provide important social presence and contribute to the collegial atmosphere. If this person were not a member of the class, valuable air-time would be saved.

Non-Participant ("F"): This person contributes nothing to the conversation. Hence, there is not an adequate basis for evaluation. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would not be changed.


There are four types of posts in a typical online class:

  1. Informative Posts
    Posts where you share information about the readings or other course materials… something like "In The Republic Plato discusses the ideal state."
  2. Opinion Posts
    Posts where you share your feelings or opinions about the readings or other course materials… something like "I think Plato's ideal state would not be a nice place to live!"
  3. Supportive Posts or "e-Hugs"
    Posts where you encourage your classmates or just offer support… something like " Good job,  Plato!"
  4. Extracurricular Posts
    Posts where you let folks know about something going on outside of class… something like "Public television is showing a documentary on Plato tonight. Be sure to check it out."

All of these kinds of posts are appropriate and necessary in certain circumstances, but only Informative and Opinion posts will count toward your total post number for each discussion. In addition, comments that are vague, repetitive, unrelated to the current topic, disrespectful of others, or without sufficient foundation will be evaluated negatively. Similarly, if your post makes it clear that you did not read the earlier messages before posting your own comments, your contribution will earn only minimal credit.

Discussion Grading: Frequency/Timeliness (30%)

Discussions will generally open on the Friday before the module officially begins and close on Monday, ten days later. This longer access period is intended to give you plenty of time — including two full weekends — to think about the issues and to take part in this conversation. Please note, though, that I will generally not participate in a discussion until its module begins.

My goal in using timeliness as one factor in grading your work is to encourage conversation and interaction, which cannot take place if no one is participating! So here is what you will need to do in order to earn a particular grade:

  • To earn an "A," you must
    • post at least four times on different days AND
    • your first post must be submitted by midnight on Thursday.
  • To earn a "B, " you must post three times on different days.
  • To earn a "C, " you must post twice on different days.
  • To earn a "D, " you must post once.
  • Failure to post will earn you an "F" (zero points).

(warning) Please not that in order to earn at least a "C," you will need to submit your initial discussion post before the final day of the module.

Reminder: Only Informative and Opinion posts (see above) will count toward your total post number for each discussion.

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