#SUNYCIT – Using Rubrics, Goals, and Evaluation Data to Improve Critical Thinking Skills in an Online History Course

#SUNYCIT - Using Rubrics, Goals, and Evaluation Data to Improve Critical Thinking Skills in an Online History Course

Presenters Andrea Gilbert and William Drumright from Monrose Community College explained how they redesigned their course rubrics to better align with student outcomes as well as capture measurable data. This was all done in Blackboard. 

One of the things we are experimenting with at SUNY JCC is using Blackboard goals and outcomes to capture learning results across different courses. This presentation fits in neatly with that objective. Here is a copy of their presentation and my notes.

The presenters began by explaining that their course had 6 modules and each module had quizzes and discussions. They outlined their goals for the change:

  • Timely and constructive feedback
  • Tie to learning outcomes
  • Rubrics provide guidance for discussions
  • Assess student data

With the original rubric, they had difficulty distinguishing grades between posts. They needed an easier way to provide feedback.

Blackboard is set to grade overall discussions. There is not a way to grade individual posts. They looked to work around this limitation. They also desired to have students give ongoing effort through all posts. Finally, they needed to provide feedback after each post.

Redesigned Rubric

When creating the new rubric, they also changed parts of the course. Specifically, they had to create separate discussions for each module. Therefore, students had to submit in each forum. This resulted in separate issues: students were confused where to post and separate discussions broke up the flow of the discussion.

On the other hand, there were benefits based on the change:
  • Rubrics have more opportunities to provide feedback
  • Rubrics could be easily duplicated
  • Aligned with Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Aligned with learning objectives
  • Feedback more detailed

Other benefits:

  • Increased collaboration between instructional technology, department, and assessment coordinator.
  • Used rubric evaluation reports.
  • Grade center showed a tie to learning outcomes.

The presenters raised one important concern: Goals do not work correctly with rubrics. A workaround is to collect averages for each learning outcome using the Smart View from the Grade Center.

This presentation provided some new insight into using goals and rubrics to measure student performance. We will be looking at this further.

Additional Presentation Resources

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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