Grading Discussion Forums

Discussions can be graded in several ways in Brightspace. This article explains how to use each of the possibilities.

Basic

Recommended: Assess students per topic with just a grade and general feedback
  • Go to Course Tools in the navigation bar of your course.
  • Click on Discussions.

The screen below will appear. 

Click on the arrow of the topic you want to asses and click on Assess Topic.

Next, click on Topic Score of any student to start the assessment. A pop up screen will appear, as shown below.

  1. Add a score
  2. Add General Feedback as desired.
  3. Here you can see an overview of all the posts of the student in this specific topic.
  4. Either Publish your evaluation or Save Draft.
    • If you choose Publish, the grade and feedback will be immediately visible for the student.
    • In case you want to release grades and feedback to all students at the same time, opt for Save Draft

After you have clicked Publish or Save Draft the pop up screen closes automatically. Now you can start the assessment of another student's contribution.

 

Finally, when you're done assessing, select all students and click on Publish Feedback. This will release all grades and written general feedback for this discussion topic.

Assess per student in Thread view with just a grade and general feedback

You might prefer assessing students from within the thread you're reading. The Assess Student option enables you to do so. Please note that this flow has a lot of going back and forth in order to assess all students.

  • Go to Course Tools in the navigation bar of your course.
  • Click on Discussions
  • Click on a Topic title and navigate to a Thread.

The screen below will appear.

From the View Thread screen, click on the arrow next to a student's name in a post or reply and click on Assess Student.

  1. Add a score
    • NB This grade will be transferred to the Gradebook if a Grade item is associated.
  2. Add General Feedback as desired.
  3. Here you can see an overview of all the posts of the student in this specific topic.
  4. Either Publish your evaluation or Save Draft.
    • If you choose Publish, the grade and feedback will be immediately visible for the student.
    • In case you want to release grades and feedback to all students at the same time, opt for Save Draft

After you have clicked Publish or Save Draft the pop up screen closes automatically. Now you can start the assessment of another student's contribution.

Note that you can only assess students that have replied in this thread. You will not see a complete list of all students in your course, as you would via the Assess students per topic with just a grade and general feedback way.

To Publish all the Feedback (release the grades and feedback to the students) you must navigate back to the Asses Topic List view.

Click on the arrow of the Thread Title and click on Assess Topic. The screen below will appear.

Finally, when you're done assessing, select all students and click on Publish Feedback. This will release all grades and written general feedback for this discussion topic.

Advanced

Assess individual posts

You have the option to calculate a student's score on a topic based on the assessments of individual posts. This might come in handy when you want to assess contribution on multiple threads within one topic.

In order to allow assessment of individual post, you need to change some settings on the assessment tab of a Topic within a Discussion Forum.

  1. Check the box of Allow assessment of individual posts
  2. Choose a calculation method. Depending on you calculation method it will result in a Topic Score (i.e.: the grade) that will be transferred to the Gradebook.
  3. Decide what you want to do with the scores of the posts you did not asses:
    • Do not check this box if you don't want to take the unnassessed posts into account in the calculation. The calculation will ignore these posts.
    • Check this box, if you want to treat unnassessed posts as 0. This will influence the Topic Score.

After you have adjusted the settings, you can start assessment as explained under Assess students per topic with just a grade and general feedback or Assess per student in Thread view with just a grade and general feedback. As you come across the pop up screen for assessment, you will notice that you can no longer add a score in the top right corner of the screen. In the example below, we have used an average post score calculation.

  1. Add a score per individual post
  2. Recommended: Opt for Save Draft.
    • The calculated score will only be shown/updated after you have clicked on Publish/Save Draft.
    • If you opt for Save Draft, you can still make some changes in case the result of the calculation is not as expected.
    • In case you click on Publish the grade for this Topic will be automatically released to this student.

After you have clicked Publish or Save Draft the pop up screen closes automatically. The calculated score will be visible in the Score column, as shown below.

Finally, when you're done assessing, select all students and click on Publish Feedback. This will release all calculated grades and written general feedback for this discussion topic.

Assess with Rubrics

The Rubrics tool is used to evaluate an activity or item based on a predefined set of criteria. They help ensure that activities and items are evaluated fairly and consistently. The Rubrics tool allows you to create analytic rubrics (multiple criterion) or holistic rubrics (one criterion). Once a rubric has been created and is now linked to a discussion topic, you can then grade the students based on the rubric.

Please see this extensive article on how to assess with Rubrics or check out this chapter to review more information about Rubrics in general.

Have a look at the video below. In the tutorial they use a rubric while assessing a discussion topic.

This video is produced by Brightspace supplier D2L. Some screens may look different from the University Leiden Brightspace.