Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rubrics for individual posts, comments, and portfolios

This post is meant to help just as much as a reader as it is aimed to help you as a writer. Before getting to the items let me note here that I'm writing this as much in reacting to what I've read so far from you as to what I had in mind before the course started.

Blog Posts
On the Economics
  • Getting to the gist of what you have read. What is the heart of the matter? Can you say that succinctly? Can you give a quick insight into that? (At present, many of you seem to either be skating around the edges or only skimming the surface of the issues.) If you think you understand the piece you need to show that. If you feel unsure about what you've read, then indicate that in the post and try to be as specific as you can on your points of confusion.
  • Tying into other things we have discussed. Where does this piece fit in? Can you make some tight connections with other works, including works we haven't discussed in class?
  • Examples of the issue at hand. Illustrative examples really help make the point. The richer these examples are the better, but they do have to support your point. This means you have to think about counter arguments as well.
On the Writing
  • The piece flows. Ideas follow one another in a sensible form of presentation. Things are not helter-skelter.
  • There is some depth and a sense that you've done an exploration or been on a journey.
  • There are no distractors. A claim of fact that is not supported by a reference is a distractor. An inappropriate word choice can be a distractor. (I'm sympathetic on this one especially with homophones, since I tend to read by how it sounds in my head and anticipate the ideas that will be coming up next rather than carefully worrying about the text on the screen.) Obvious misspelling can be a distractor. Errors do happen and some go undetected. But one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel so if you've put in some serious thought on the piece do proofread to at the least purge the worst of these from your piece.
  • Need to connect to the post or a previous comment.
  • Should add to the discussion, not more of the same.
  • The set of comments together with the original post should give a semblance of having a discussion.
  • Some improvement over time. (I hope the quality rises over the next few weeks.)
  • Not too much variation in quality regardless of which team member is writing the post. (This means, in particular, that stronger students are expected to help out their teammates who may be having a hard time of it.)
  • Aha! It is possible that as individuals and as a team you have an Aha moment during which you say, now I get it. Here it is the approach for the entire course. You may struggle quite a bit until that happens. Here is some encouragement to keep struggling.

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