Providing a higher quality of feedback using rubrics

  • 4 Min Read

Discover how a VLE can tie assignments directly to rubrics

Your rubric is there to guide students towards producing the highest level of work on assignments. When used effectively, students can see exactly how they scored based upon the specific desired outcomes of each assignment, provided by instructors. But did you know that using a virtual learning environment (VLE) allows you to tie rubrics to more types of assignments in online learning than paper alone? By taking advantage of online learning and using shared digital spaces, academics can create rubric-based assessments of learning activities like discussions, video assignments, published items in a digital portfolio, and much more. But when students can see the specific rubric attached to each assignment, they are able to focus their activities on the exact areas of learning that will be graded. The end result is an education system that can provide students with access to better feedback and gives academics the ability to have a consistent grade workflow on a greater amount of assessments.

“The use of rubrics has decreased the amount of time needed to give the feedback by several hours.”

-Jon Moe, Faculty at Normandale Community College

Rubrics can provide transparency

Feedback given using rubrics gives students a sense of fairness when it comes to grading. They can see exactly what they did right and what they did wrong, because the rubric clearly states the expectations of each assignment. Armed with this greater depth of information, students can tend to feel less anxious about assignments. In an online learning environment, students can monitor their progress and see what level they’re currently achieving. Instructors as well can have a quick overview of student progress by examining each student’s work based against the rubric. This should make grading a fair bit easier, at least when your VLE allows for seamless integration between the rubric and the grade book. This is really at the root of the story: your education technology should connect all the pieces so you don’t have to.

“Brightspace allows us to have a regular way of looking at online courses, holding them against a rubric, evaluating them, and then identifying ways to improve them on a regular cycle.”

-Jan Kempster, Dean of Distance Education at Pima Community College (read Jan’s full story)

Online learning enables high quality feedback

There are already a huge number of channels for lecturers to provide meaningful feedback to their students. At the same time, rubrics can provide an even higher level of quality feedback. This is because they help students to better understand their expectations. Students are more likely to understand feedback because feedback is relevant to the rubric. And all this data is tied into the VLE for future analysis and consideration.

A VLE provides consistency

The consistency of a rubric structure used across different types of assignments can help to minimise confusion for students, making them easier to use and ultimately, to learn. The same consistency is a huge benefit to academics when grading assignments. Once created, you can be confident knowing that each rubric is clearly stated for the students to use. And you can be confident that your own grading aligns with the expectations from each assignment. Grading can also be more flexible, since you have the option to adjust grade weight of various components to the rubric. As well, you can easily assign a separate overall score, versus level, meaning that you can address each student uniquely, based upon your personal grading standard. The point is, a VLE should not hinder you from teaching and marking the way you want.

The Brightspace VLE provides a consistent workflow so lecturers can be confident knowing that the rubrics they’ve created are consistently able to do their job. With the consultation of academic staff in higher education, D2L has developed a rubric experience that is streamlined and easy to use. For more information on rubrics and all the other tools that Brightspace offers, sign up for our webinar on November 7 at 2PM (EDT). D2L experts will be on hand to provide a full walk-through of the VLE and be available to answer your specific questions. Register today!

“With access to the student’s rubric we can see, for example, if a student is struggling with understanding the content, or if it’s an issue with their writing mechanics. With that knowledge, advisers can take the action that is best suited to each student’s individual situation. This is the SNHU approach to personalised learning.”

-Matthew Thornton, Associate Vice President, Student Technology Experience at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). (read Matt’s story)

Curious about the new features in Brightspace? Check out this video of our latest release.