Rubrics and Other Tips for Writing Online Assignments

Once you have decided on your activities and assessments, here are some tips for making them happen online:

  • Make all expectations for individual activities as crystal clear as possible since you are not physically present to explain details. Students will need to know how to proceed through all aspects of the activity. It's a good idea to test drive the instructions with some students. See if a few students can follow the instructions before they are added to the course.
  • Make your expectations and grading of a particular assignment as clear as possible. A rubric is one way to do this.
  • Create a chart to explain your overall grading scheme for the course and how individual assignments fit into the grading scheme. Example
  • If students will need particular equipment and/or software for course activities, let them know before the course begins. You cannot assume, for instance, that everyone has a mobile phone, digital camera or access to a fax machine.
  • Help students understand the rationale(s) for particular activities.
  • Provide a space within the online classroom where students can get help.
  • Develop a rubric for how you will assess students work. Writing a rubric can help you clarify your expectations for student work and then communicate those expectations to students.

Rubrics

A rubric is an explicit set of criteria used for assessing a particular type of work or performance. A rubric usually also includes levels of potential achievement for each criterion, and sometimes also includes work or performance samples that typify each of those levels.  Levels of achievement are often given numerical scores.  A summary score for the work being assessed may be produced by adding the scores for each criterion. The rubric may also include space for the instructor to describe the reasons for each judgment or to make suggestions for the author. Blackboard has a built in rubric creation tool. By using this tool you can attach your rubrics to specific assignments.

Read about advantages rubrics offer and rubric guidelines.

Sample Rubrics

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