Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Some Preliminary Results

Well, we did our "Moodle" experiment in which I asked the students to identify four examples of web writing and to categorize them as "Excellent," "Decent," "Poor," or "Horrible." I then asked them to explain why they put the example in the category they did. On moodle I was able to create four different forums for the students to post in, which made the organization easy and accessible.

The students seemed to really enjoy the project, and I am happy to say, I/we seemed to get something out of it too. I did have a couple of students who didn't really engage with the project or wrote random, sarcastic things like "blah, blah, blah . . . same as everyone else's." But overall they took it seriously and did well. (By the way, "random" is one of the characteristics of bad writing they identified--so on their web discussion this kind of thing will affect their grade--by their own choice!!) I'm hoping that the fact that they created the rubric themselves will give me more buy-in, we'll see.

I have to admit that this rubric is quite a bit different from the one I would have created had I done it on my own and just given it to them. For one thing, they roundly rejected web language or "txt tlk," which I found interesting. They also helped me think of things that I wouldn't have thought of, like "random," "rambling," and "offensive." I would have definitely told them to be appropriate, but I like the fact that this last item is part of the rubric itself--I probably wouldn't have done it that way on my own. If you're curious, my rubric would probably have been some slightly modified form of six traits (which is my default rubric for everything--and as you can see, some of those traits show up here, but this one is more to the point for our particular assignment).

I also found it interesting that it did turn out to be important to include both good and bad examples; I debated about the value of this with myself (and one of my students remarked "duh, the opposite of good writing" in the "bad" forum). But there were things that showed up more in the bad column than the good that might have been missed had I focused only on good examples, and that made the rubric better I think.

Here is the rubric we created (the numbers reflect the number of students who mentioned the trait). Interestingly, when I totaled the votes for each of the eight most popular items in the rubric, it magically and miraculously came out to exactly 100, which made the weighting of each item easy (based on how many students identified it as important).

Results of Class “Moodle” on

Good and Bad Web Writing


By combining the good and bad characteristics you identified, I created the following rubric, which is based on the top items you thought were most important overall. They are weighted based on the number of you who identified them as important. I will be using this rubric to grade the web discussion we have on Friday:

Good Spelling and Grammar/No Errors _______/19

Has a Point/Is not Completely Random _______/16

Understandable/Clear/Logical _______/15

Stays on Topic/Does not Ramble or Digress _______/12

Does not Contain Slang/Txt Tlk _______/11

Uses Factual Information/Credible Sources _______/11

Is Interesting/Funny/Entertaining _______/10

Is not Offensive/No Profanity _______/6

Total Points ____________/100


4 comments:

camdaram said...

What a great idea. As a high school student, I would've LOVED the chance to do something like this: I get to choose, I get to grade, and the explain why, this justification, will provide such insightful data as to why they think what they think.
You rock.

Mrs. Pretz said...

Jason,
I love the fact that the students got to create the rubric. I would be interested to know how the students react at their grades based on the blah, blah, blah. A lot of times we think they don't care, when in fact, this may be something they react to. Just a curiosity of mine.
I love this assignment. You probably learned a lot about the internet.

Natalie said...

Although I'm still not sure about how Moodle works I can comment on the inspired development of your grading rubric. Just goes to show that despite how detached students may appear to be, they are pretty attuned to the "point" of the assignment. Without taking anything away from your expertise as a teacher, I'll bet your rubric wouldn't have been much more thorough - and how much more relevant can you get! Good job! I look forward to hearing more.

respo said...

This sounds a lot like what I started in class at the end of the year. It is exactly what I was thinking about (minus the moodle).

I would be interested in clarifying how you came up with the examples and how you came up with the numbers. This definitely the part that gives me problems.