14 August 2009

Ongoing Discussion Grades

Instructors can use a combination of grade categories and hidden items to create an ongoing discussion grade, which saves having to re-read every post at the end of the semester when assigning an overall discussion grade:
  • On the Grades page, create a new category with the name for your overall discussion grade (eg, "Online Participation").
  • For each topic that you want to count toward your overall discussion grade, edit it and click the Assessment tab.
  • Click the New Grade Item link and (in addition to the name and points possible), choose the category you picked and the option to "Hide this grade item" on the New Grade Item dialog box. There are two advantages to hiding the grade item: it makes the students' view of the grades page shorter, and it allows the instructor to make some topics optional without adding to the anxiety of students seeing they got zero points for a grade item.
The points possible for the category will be the sum of the points possible for the discussion topics it includes. As the instructor grades each discussion topic, the overall discussion score grows over the course of the class.
Thanks to Timaree Hagenburger for asking the question.

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