Rubric for Commenting on Blogs

Just came across this article about creating more effective e-learning discussion forums: 

If You Build It, They Will Come: Building Learning Communities Through Threaded Discussions by Susan Edelstein and Jason Edwards

The authors put together a nice little rubric that could apply equally well for social media, i.e., it could be used to judge the quality of one’s contribution to online communities (comments posted to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.):

Category 1 2 3 4 POINTS

Promptness and Initiative

Does not respond to most postings; rarely participates freely Responds to most postings several days after initial discussion; limited initiative Responds to most postings within a 24 hour period; requires occasional prompting to post Consistently responds to postings in less than 24 hours; demonstrates good self-initiative  

Delivery of Post

Utilizes poor spelling and grammar in most posts; posts appear “hasty” Errors in spelling and grammar evidenced in several posts Few grammatical or spelling errors are noted in posts Consistently uses grammatically correct posts with rare misspellings  

Relevance of Post

Posts topics which do not relate to the discussion content;

makes short or irrelevant remarks

Occasionally posts off topic; most posts are short in length and offer no further insight into the topic Frequently posts topics that are related to discussion content; prompts further discussion of topic Consistently posts topics related to discussion topic; cites additional references related to topic  

Expression within the Post

Does not express opinions or ideas clearly; no connection to topic Unclear connection to topic evidenced in minimal expression of opinions or ideas Opinions and ideas are stately clearly with occasional lack of connection to topic Expresses opinions and ideas in a clear and concise manner with obvious connection to topic  

Contribution to the Learning Community

Does not make effort to participate in learning community as it develops; seems indifferent Occasionally makes meaningful reflection on group’s efforts; marginal effort to become involved with group Frequently attempts to direct the discussion and to present relevant viewpoints for consideration by group; interacts freely Aware of needs of community; frequently attempts to motivate the group discussion; presents creative approaches to topic  


What’s missing in the above rubric:   Just about everything having to do with issues around attitude, motivation, good manners, humor, appropriateness, self-promotion, ego, and so forth — all the “hows” and “whys” of constructive communication (not just the “whats” and “whens“).   This is not meant to be a critique of those authors, or that rubric (which was written in 2002, which is eons ago, in social media years) , or even instructional design.   I enjoy instructional design, however, sometimes I find that its systems are so process-and-detail-oriented that it’s easy to loose one’s bearings and drift away from the obvious, common sense solutions.

Having said that, it might not be a bad idea to put more weight on measuring folks for the “whats” and “whens” — i.e., the content  — of their contribution to their respective online learning communities.  This happens naturally in the “open wild” of blogs and Twitter, where solid contributors gain readers/followers, for whatever that is worth.  In the “wild,” there’s no lack of content… no lack of folks who are happy to grab the microphone and say, Imma let you finish…”    But in the more closed setting of an organization’s online discussion forum, it can be a lot harder to spur people to share and contribute.


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on December 2, 2009, in Blogging, Learning, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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