Skip to content Skip to navigation

OpenStax-CNX

You are here: Home » Content » Best Practices in Online Teaching - During Teaching - Assess Messages in Online Discussions

Navigation

Lenses

What is a lens?

Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

This content is ...

In these lenses

  • AndreiLens display tagshide tags

    This module is included inLens: Andrei Aiordachioaie's Lens
    By: Andrei AiordachioaieAs a part of collection: "Best Practices in Online Teaching"

    Comments:

    "another test for the lens ... I wonder if the author of this article can read this comment ? :)"

    Click the "AndreiLens" link to see all content selected in this lens.

    Click the tag icon tag icon to display tags associated with this content.

Recently Viewed

This feature requires Javascript to be enabled.

Tags

(What is a tag?)

These tags come from the endorsement, affiliation, and other lenses that include this content.
 

Best Practices in Online Teaching - During Teaching - Assess Messages in Online Discussions

Module by: Larry Ragan. E-mail the author

Summary: This module focuses on how to assess student messages in an online discussion forum when teaching in an online environment. This module is part of the Best Practices in Online Teaching Course created by Penn State University World Campus as a guide for faculty who are new to teaching in an online environment.

What to Do?

Assessing students’ messages in online discussions encourages their participation and hopefully helps improve the quality of discussion as well. Set specific assessment criteria and make the criteria available to students in the beginning of the course.

How to Do It?

  • Include the assessment criteria for online discussions within one or more locations (See Example):
    • The course syllabus
    • A course announcement prior to the first online discussion task
    • The instructions for the discussion task
  • Make sure the assessment criteria measure both the quantity and quality of the online messages.
  • When designing a rubric for assessing online discussions, consider assigning some points to encourage posting.
  • Make use of sample rubrics from literature:
    • Edelstein & Edwards' (2002) Assessing Effectiveness of Student Participation in Online Discussions. This rubric considers five categories that are important for building a learning community: promptness and initiative, delivery of post, relevance of post, expression within the post, and contribution to the learning community.
    • Garrison's, et al. (2001) Cognitive Processing Categories. May be useful when assessing the quality of postings: (1) triggering (questioning); (2) exploration (information seeking and sharing), (3) integration (providing solution), and (4) solution (testing solutions)
    • Kleinman’s (2005) Grading Rubric for Online Discussion Participation. Provides detailed grading criteria.
    • Dringus & Ellis' (2005) Assessment of Student Progress in Forums
  • For more information about facilitating online discussions, please see Ten Tips for Generating Engaged Online Discussions by Donna Reiss.

Example 1: Example - Referring to Assessment Criterion

Message Board Discussions

How it works: * Midnight Sunday through midnight Friday

I will post a question by midnight Sunday. Your tasks are to:

  1. Post a thoughtful, unique answer to the instructor's question in 300 words or less (your answer should not be the same as someone who has already posted). You should build an informed response between Sunday night (when the question is posted) and Friday night (when your response is due).
  2. You will be graded on the quality of your responses--not quantity. Be thoughtful rather than verbose. Due midnight Friday. Each student will be graded on an individual basis (max score is 10)

The grading criteria used includes:

  • Your ability to synthesize different aspects of the posted question, particularly with reference to the articles in the course packet. The more detailed your explanation of specific points from the articles, the better the quality of your response.
  • Your skill in posting a response with specific and unique examples that showcase your understanding of the salient points of the posted question, as well as your understanding of different aspects of the course materials (such as course packet articles, lecture notes, and textbook readings).
  • Your ability to build a final, thoughtful response based on prior postings. This requires you to respond more than once to the instructor's post. Your final response should be structured around your previous postings, and you will attempt to integrate your different thoughts and opinions.

Why Do It?

When instructors grade discussions in an online course, students tend to participate in the discussions actively and thus have higher levels of sense of community (Rovai, 2003). However, too much emphasis on solely quantitative analysis of postings/messages can only result in coerced participation, poor quality of learning and student contributions to the online discussion (Garrison & Anderson, 2003).

Thomas (2002) suggests that three factors account for the lack of “normal discussion” that is necessary for learning to take place: “isolated mode of participation, the structural organization of messages, and the conflict between the written form and oral function of technology-mediated interpersonal communication” (p.362); good facilitation by a tutor or moderator is important to creating coherent online discussions.

References:

Dringgus, L.P. & Ellis, T. (2005). Using data mining as a strategy assessing asynchronous discussion forums. Computers & Education, 45, 141-160

Edelstein, S., and Edwards, J. (2002). If you build it, they will come: Building learning communities through threaded discussions. The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 5(1). Available Online: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring51/edelstein51.html

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., and Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), pp 7-23

Garrison, D.R. & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Kleinman, S. (2005). Strategies for encouraging active learning, interaction, and academic integrity in online courses. Communication Teacher, 19(1), 13-18

Rovai, A. P. (2003). Strategies for grading online discussions: Effects on discussions and classroom community in Internet-based university courses. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 15(1), 89-107.

Thomas, M.J.W. (2002). Learning within incoherent structures: the space of online discussion forums. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 18, 351-366

Content actions

Download module as:

Add module to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks