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Example rubric for discussion task

Taken from Whitworth, A: MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education. University of

Manchester 2013.

Could be used as a method of qualitatively assessing student contributions to online discussion

tasks. For further ease and reduction of workload in assessing marks could be grouped out of 5.
Student could be asked to look through their contributions to date and put forward the contents of a
number of their posts for evaluation by staff. Always make sure that students see the rubric before
engaging on the task. Allow students to undertake some non-assessed low-level discussion board
tasks at the beginning of the course (as per ‘5-stage model’) and stress that will be building up to
higher levels.

0 marks: No contribution.

1-2 marks: Irrelevant or cursory contribution.

3 marks: You have made a contribution that tries to address the issues under discussion, but
it is very limited, probably because you have only posted once and/or you have not tried to back up
your ideas with reference to any of the literature or teaching on the course.

4 marks: There is some attempt to engage in a discussion but without any real justification
for your point of view.

5 marks: Passable contribution, but still rather limited - largely, you will be following the
ideas of others, rather than showing signs that you have come up with new ideas of your own
throughout the discussion.

6 marks: Fair contribution. You will have engaged with discussion, shown signs of developing
new perspectives, and are prepared to criticise the work of others if necessary. There may still be
some weaknesses in how you present arguments however: e.g. posting too much, wandering off the
topic, not always rooting your ideas in the literature, etc.

7 marks: Good contribution. Your posts are efficient, effective and justified. You have clearly
shown signs of a developing perspective as the discussion has gone on.

8 marks: Substantial contribution. As for #7, but you have also shown signs of taking on a
leading role in the discussion and acting in at least one of the roles of moderator, summariser, or
source searcher, on behalf of your group.

9-10 marks: Excellent contribution. You have led a discussion from start to finish and introduced
new ideas to the group that are fully justified and relevant. Marks of 10/10 are awarded very, very
rarely, so please do not be disappointed if you do not get 10 -though they have been known.