Well, we had our class blog discussion today. Overall I think it went well, the kids definitely seemed to enjoy it. The responses to the topics ranged from insightful and profound to completely inane and totally random. Luckily I have my rubric so that I can give credit to those kids who took it seriously and did a great job (which was the vast majority of them).
Grading this is going to be interesting, but I have a system worked out. I am going to have a rubric printed for each student and as I go through the discussions I'll be adding points and taking them away in the relevant categories based on the quality of the comments they make in each post. Then I'll be able to give each student credit relative to the quality of their contribution to our discussion. Focus will be on quality as opposed to quantity; quality will be defined by the rubric they created. It'll take some time, but not any more time than reading and grading a stack of essays.
One other thing that I think is cool. There were four kids gone today, but unlike most class discussion days they don't have to miss out on what we did. I can just give them the web url and they can read the discussion and post their responses when they get back. Yet another benefit of this forum.
By the way, I've linked the discusssion page above and I'll do it again here if you'd like to take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.