Commenting on Blogs and Assessment

As part of this year’s CMST 691: Designing Community-Engaged Research, we are making it required for the credit-bearing students, and encouraged for non-credit bearing students, to comment on each other’s blog posts.

For the commenter, we hope that commenting helps to:

  • Develop skills in engaging in critical, and civil, public discourse
  • Develop skills in helping others advance their thinking and improve their work (good for teachers grading papers, colleagues working in teams, grant reviewers, editors, supervisors, etc)
  • Make connections in their thinking and learning
  • Build and enhance their personal learning networks

For the bloggers, we hope that receiving comments, and responding to comments helps to:

  • Develop skills in engaging in critical, and civil, public discourse
  • Develop skills in receiving and responding to feedback (this is good for all kinds of things)
  • Make connections in their thinking and learning
  • Build and enhance their personal learning networks

Since we view commenting and responding to comments as an important part of the learning process, we are going to assess the comments. For the sake of finding the comments, we are asking that people comment in the comment section. But then there is the tweet below that gives me pause.

We are thinking about using the rubric below that is adapted from the 5-point rubric created by Mark Sample  with inspiration from Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. We also are using this rubric for the Intellections described here, so it has the benefit of already being a part of the course assessment structure. Any thoughts or suggestions?


Rating Characteristics
4 Exceptional. The comment is focused. It coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. It demonstrates awareness of limitations or implications, and consider multiple perspectives when appropriate. The comment contains appropriate links or images, with the image sources being acknowledged. The images and links are referred to within the text.
3 Satisfactory. The comment is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. It reflects moderate engagement with the topic. The comment contains appropriate links or images and these are referred to within the text.
2 Underdeveloped. The comment is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. It reflects passing engagement with the topic. The comment may contain a link or image.
1 Limited. The comment is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of engagement with the topic.
0 No Credit. The comment was submitted late or not at all, or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.

2 thoughts on “Commenting on Blogs and Assessment

  1. Hey there. I started reading this before realizing it was part of our Twitter convo earlier. I don’t usually assess comments on my students blogs (but remember hearing about this idea from Laura Gogia). I am thinking of something here. The value of commenting is kind of intrinsic. In two ways: I learned the value of comments when people commented on my blog, and I value comments for how they actually take my thinking further. Because of that, I also try to comment on others’ work to reciprocate (tho it won’t always be the same person who just commented on my blog but just in general). I wonder if there might be a more holistic way to encourage and assess comments as an overall experience rather than by evaluating individual blog comments?
    For example: could we give a grade for how, over the course of the semester, someone’s comments influenced the thinking of another? Or how much of an actual intellectual conversation their comments sparked on a blog? Like, I won’t now look at the rubric and try to meta-assess this comment I am writing right now 🙂 but does (can?) a rubric capture how comments might actually influence someone’s confidence as a writer and scholar? Particularly important for vulnerable populations, right? Thanks for sparking my thoughts on this. Will be thinking of how to work on this for my class next semester to encourage more interaction. But i really want my students to comment on blogs because they want and like to rather than for a grade. This isn’t a criticism of what you’re doing as i am likely to fail at getting them to appreciate the value if i don’t find a way to get them to try it first. Maybe require it for a couple of weeks then see if they continue on their own! Might be worth experimenting…

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