Evaluating Blogs

Some of the folks at the Class Blogmeister mailing list have been talking about evaluating their students’ blogs.  They’re looking for rubrics and other tips for assessing student bloggings.  One rubric that came to our attention was a Blog Reflection Rubric from a course (EDTEC 296), taught at San Diego State University.  So if anyone knows of, or is using a rubric for evaluating student blog writings, please comment or send me an e-mail.

My personal inclination is to ask, “Are you teaching blogging?” or “Are you teaching communication?”  If it’s blogging, then you do need a separate blog evaluation rubric.  However, if the reason for student blogs is to improve their writing skills, then use the same rubric you would use if the students were writing on paper, or typing with a typewriter or word processor.  (Did I say typewriter?)

Of course, there are some distinct differences between writing on paper and writing on a blog.  Your assignment might involve reading the blogs of classmates and then comment, responding to their writings in some way.  This would probably require a richer rubric for evaluation, because you are evaluating a conversation, not just the putting down of some ideas.

On the other hand, we are talking about an avenue of communication that is fundamentally different, resulting in a new and rich source of content — a blogosphere.  In what ways does this dynamic and diverse information landscape differ from our traditional print/published environment?  What are its advantages?  What are its weaknesses and potential problems?  I think that these are conversations that should be happening in almost every classroom, especially in conjunction with blogging assignments.  It challenges, in my opinion, our very notions of what it means to be literate.

A few months ago I posted a number of questions that might be used with blogging assignments to help students think about the content that they are writing and reading, within the context of a different kind of communication.  I’ll repeat them here.

When reading a blog, ask:

  1. What did the author read in order to write this blog?  What did he or she already know and where did that knowledge come from?
  2. What are the other points of view?  What are the other sides of the story?
  3. What did the author want readers to know, understand, believe, or do?
  4. What was left unsaid?  What are the remaining questions and issues?

When writing a blog, ask:

  1. What did you read in order to write this blog?  What do you know and where did that knowledge come from?
  2. What are all points of view on the issue?
  3. What do you want your readers to know, understand, believe, or do?
  4. What will not be said?  What are some of the remaining questions about the issue?

Image Citation:
NYC, Susan. “Students Hard at Work.” Susan NYC’s Photostream. 27 Sep 2005. 8 Dec 2006 <http://flickr.com/photos/en321/47153763/>.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.