Assessing Student Blog Activity

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As more faculty continue to leverage the University's blog platform for teaching and learning, we continually are asked:

"How do I assess what my students are doing on the blog?"

This question is particularly challenging for a variety of reasons.  In some instances, students are writing in their own personal blog space.  With a roster of 50 students, this represents 50 different blogs the instructor must visit for each assignment (although an RSS reader can help instructors be more efficient using this method). The model that we see more often now involves instructors creating a blog, then adding all of their students as authors to that blog.  This alleviates the need to go visit each blog separately while also increasing the interaction between students.  When all entries are authored in a single blog, it makes interacting with one another simple.

In terms of the actual assessment of student work, we typically see two different methods.
  1. Assess each individual entry.  This typically involves some sort of rubric to guide the student's writing, and each individual entry receives a specific grade.  Mark Sample offers a good example rubric in the Chronicle.
  2. Assess the students' blogging activity as a whole.  This method of assessment provides a single grade for the entirety of a student's blogging activity throughout the semester.  Chris Long, Associate Professor of Philosophy, assesses student blog work in this manner and also shares the rubric he uses on his website.
Do you have a rubric for assessing student blogging activity?  If you do, and you don't mind sharing, please feel free to send it to me (bkp10[at]psu.edu).  I'm working on a collection of blog rubrics to share on our website for new faculty looking to experiment with blogs.

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