Forum-based Assignments: Expectations and Rubrics
(This is the current version of this policy document, which has been in effect for at least the past complete academic term. See older versions.)
Modules within various Institute courses utilize forum-based assignments among the suite of various assessment methods designed to engage students in interactive discussions, conversations and collaborations.
These assignmetns include, for example, tasks which might assign a student to start new threads on a given topic, based on a recent lecture or readings; or to post replies to others’ entries for a given assignment, offering critical response, reflection and reaction.
Each forum-based assignment will specify what must be done in order to complete the assignment (and most are in multiple parts: e.g., ‘Part I: Post a new thread of 400 words on…; PART II: Make at least three replies to others’ posts…’, etc.).
While most other assignment types should be approached in the normal order within a module as outlined in the module’s Pacing Calendar, but can be submitted at any time up to the module’s final Closing Date, forum-based assignments will normally include an assignment-specific deadline (indicated in the assignment itself). This is to ensure that students are working on the forum assignments together, enabling responses to fellow student and instructor posts, active engagement with peers and teachers, etc. While forums may technically allow posts to be made after the assignment deadline has passed, no texts / replies posted to a forum-based assignment after the deadline will be considered in determining the student’s assignment grade. These forum-assignment-specific deadlines remain in effect even if an extension is granted to a student more generally for a module, since forum-based assignment interactions cannot be undertaken apart from interactions with fellow cohort members.
Grading and Rubrics
Most forum-based assignments are graded on a standard 0-100 point percentage scale, though some shorter assignments may be marked on a 0-10 scale and given a lesser weighting within a course.
The weighting of various forum assignments within a module’s overall course grade will be described in the assessment critiera document in the module’s VLE resource suite.
Course instructors will use the following rubrics when assessing forum-based assignments and assigning a grade:
Academic focus, content and learning (70%)
The posts/replies focus on the question(s) as assigned; the posts directly engage with the material under review, and demonstrate an engagement with assigned reading / lectures and a desire to come to a deeper understanding of the material; the posts demonstrate an expected level of learning of the content provided in the course; the postings seek to understand, examine and explore the subject matter from an Orthodox Christian perspective; etc.
Constructive and interactive tone and scope (20%)
The posts engage with the material, and with fellow students, in an appropriate manner for study, rather than being simply an expression of personal opinion; the posts strive to draw out and engage in interactive learning (e.g. responding directly and concretely to other students’ posts; critically interacting with the thoughts of others; seeking critical response from other students); responses are not one-way, post hoc reflections on others’ materials, but are genuinely interactive: seeking conversation, contributing to ongoing discussions, and in general being actively interactive in the ongoing discussions with fellow students and instructors.
Written Style (10%)
Proper English usage commensurate to level of study; clean text gives evidence of proof-reading; grammar / spelling / punctuation; etc.
Receiving a grade for a forum-based assignment is dependent upon completing all assigned parts (e.g. the prescribed number of new threads and/or replies, of the indicated length); a grade will only be assessed according to these rubrics once all required parts of the assignment have been posted to the assigned forum. Once a forum-based assignment’s specific deadline (as indicated in the assignment) has passed, no further contributions made after that deadline will be considered in determining the assignment grade (though the forum may continue to allow further contributions, so as to allow fruitful conversations to continue apart from a question of grading, etc.).