July 9, 2020

Blogs and Completion-Based Grading

And here we are: the final post in the series, where I'll say a few words about blogs and completion-based grading. I'm an advocate of ungrading in general (see book chapter here: Getting Rid of Grades), and I definitely do not want to be in the business of grading students blogs or their blog posts.

Here's what I do instead:

Each assignment in the class has a simple checklist for completion. When a student finishes an assignment, they log on at the LMS and take a true-false quiz for that assignment: they see the checklist again there, answer "true" (which is the "correct" quiz answer), and the points go in the Gradebook automatically. For more details, see this post: Gradebook Declarations.

Sometimes it's just super-short, like when students leave comments on each other's blogs:

Sometimes it's a longer list of items to check on for completion, like when students publish a story in their blog:

Here's how that looks in the LMS (and this system works for any LMS that has true-false quiz questions, which means any LMS):

Now, practically speaking, sometimes students do rush through a Declaration, treating it as a kind of "terms of service" agreement that you click on without reading. When that happens, like if I notice a story post that is way too short or way too long, or perhaps the image isn't working, etc., I just contact the student with a quick email letting them know they need to fix the post. It's not a big deal; I just refer them back to the checklist and ask them to let me know when the assignment is complete. I use tags at Inoreader to keep track of things like that; as I watch the posts go by, I add a tag called "pending" to a post that needs fixing up, and then I remove that tag when the student lets me know it's done.

I use this approach of Gradebook Declarations for all the work in my classes, putting the students fully in charge of that grading process. Even if that's not an approach you want to take, it can still be useful to think about what kind of blogging assignments lend themselves to this "checklist" style of assessment so that you can let the students take responsibility for that, while you can focus your time and attention on follow-up and feedback rather than record-keeping.

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So......... that is the last of the posts, and I hope this has been useful. For me, all these different pieces: blogging, blog networking, and ungrading all fit together as part of an overall course design approach which is based on mutual trust and also mutual support. I hope you will find some useful ideas here, and I'm glad to brainstorm and talk about blog-based course design anytime!

Happy Blogging!!!

Descartes Cat says: I think, therefore I blog.
(made with cheezburger)