Assessing student blogging

A colleague of mine once asked me how I assess the blogging component of my course. I didn’t have a ready answer, because I have been using blogging mostly as an opportunity for students to write in an environment that may be more interesting to them than pen and paper. Assessment has been largely confined to a form of a participation mark — anyone who commented on a post received marks.

I think that assessment can be more meaningful than this, but I am limited by the structure that I have chosen for student blogging. I am giving them a very constrained taste of the blogging world by asking them to comment on posts that I make on the class website. Evaluating on a comment-by-comment basis is not realistic.

What I am planning to do within this structure is to evaluate blog comments much as I do their almost-daily “ThinkBooks” or reflective journals. I won’t dive into every entry in a students’ ThinkBook, but I will check to see that they have at least engaged each topic. And the final culminating activity for the semester will require students to re-read their blog comments and ThinkBook to write and reflect on their own learning.

Konrad Glogowski has given me much to think about today in “Towards Reflective BlogTalk.” His ripple effect worksheets have students reflecting on and analyzing their own blog writing. It’s almost inspiring enough to make me consider having students develop their own blogs as part of my courses.

Almost.

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