This post is designed to facilitate a round table discussion of using blogs for assessment at the 2009 Penn State Assessment Conference: Putting Your Assessment Plan to Work.
Over the past four years, I have used blogs regularly in my classes to facilitate philosophical discussion and assessment philosophical writing. I have used two implementations models:

  1. Multiple Blogs – student owned and operated blogs with a course blog that aggregates material from the student blogs.
  2. Common Course Blog – one blog with students either posting through comments or set up as editors.

There are positive and negative dimensions of each model and the assessment techniques differ in each case.

Multiple Blogs
Pros

  • Student Ownership
  • Diversity of Perspectives
  • Student Work easy to Identify & Evaluate

Cons

  • Difficult to Establish Community of Discussion
  • Lack of Cross Fertilization of Ideas
  • Aggregated Community

Assessment for Multiple Blog Model
Individual Assignments/Individual rubrics; see:

Ongoing Assignment, single rubric; see:

Common Course Blog
Pros

  • More Organic Community
  • Centrally Managed
  • Facilitates Cross-fertilization of Ideas through Posts and Comments
  • Unified Discussion
  • Cultivates Social Learning

Cons

  • Work of Individual Student is More Difficult to Access and Evaluate
  • Minimizes Idiosyncratic perspectives, creative outlets
  • No Individual Student Ownership

Assessment for Common Course Model
Ongoing Assignment with a single, comprehensive scoring rubric:

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Mike says:

    Blogs nowadays are not ordinary writing. Just like you have mentioned in your post, you use blogs to facilitate philosophical discussion. A simple blog can therefore be powerful and useful.

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