"Rubrics for Online Discussions" (article; dead link but the information and rubrics below remain useful) provides two sample rubrics for clearly "communicating expectations, streamlining the grading process, minimizing grade challenges, and establishing performance benchmarks."
1. General Advice
- "Share your rubric with students so they know what to expect and how they will be graded."
- "[I]f you do give a student a two out of five or a one out of five, be specific in your feedback. ‘Here’s the reason you got the score that you did.’"
- "It’s kind of an eye-opener for them and usually gets their attention" -- and such feedback is, after all, a key aspect of teaching them how to make better and more substantial posts.
2. Sample Rubrics
- Four categories: Promptness; Grammar, spelling, and format; Content of assignment; Peer evaluation
- Four descriptive levels of assessment (1 pt, 2 pt, 3 pt, 4 pt)
b. Higher-Level Rubric for Forum Discussion (scroll down; much more substantial)
- Four categories: Content, Written Expression, Forum Participation, Critical Thinking and Reflection
- Four detailed and specific levels of assessment (Exemplary, Proficient, Developing, Basic)
3. Additional Resources