Creating a blog rubric

I’ve read everyone’s blog as of 10 p.m. last night and so I want to start with some pointers on customizing your sites. From there we’ll look more specifically at the posting requirements so we can get a sense of the extent of how you are (or are not) meeting expectations. The goal is to clarify as much as possible what will be necessary to do well on the final post in this unit. So let’s start with some pointers on customizing your front page, considering:

  • themes
  • titles of sites
  • banners
  • removing static home pages and features posts
  • getting rid of template text

I. “Excellent” posts

You have two grades in this 1st unit: several short homework blog posts (worth 50%) and a longer one at the end called Truth-O-Meter (also worth 50%). I asked you to be ready to make a case for what excellent posts look like, having at least one example in mind. Although the final post will be greater in scope (that is, longer and more detailed) the basic requirements are the same for the homework posts as the final one.  Again, excellence is defined by being outstanding – by going above and beyond expectations. So one way we might check our criteria for excellence is by reviewing the assignment’s expectations. Where and how have they been defined? Here are some places we might look:

  • the assignment itself
  • daily plans
  • textbook
  • discussions in class
  • examples

Take moment to look back at these places and generate a list of ideas for criteria. If you were evaluating yourself or your peers, what are the things the blog post would have to accomplish or communicate? Once you have a list, let’s more specifically articulate this criteria in this Google Doc.

II. Rubric design

Now that we’ve established expectations, let’s better define what distinguishes truly excellent posts from those that are average or below and translate those to readable scheme. One way we can do that is through a grid, so let’s use this Google Doc to begin drafting one.

III. Testing the rubric on an example 

Now that we’ve clarified expectations and designed a way to read them, let’s test it. I pulled a post from each of the classes and put them on my own site to help us be objective. Let’s take a look at one and talk in class about how well the example might do based on our rubric design:


As you might have noticed by now, the helpful thing about designing and engaging with rubrics, as well as looking at other examples,  is that it clarifies what you know and what you need to know (or what you need to know better). Based on this activity, what are some things you think you should know how to do (better)? Let’s take some of the remainder of our time to talk about them, and plan to continue this discussion on Thursday.

Homework for Thursday, 9/21

  1. Read Caulfield on his 3rd strategy for fact-checking: Reading Laterally, including WHAT “READING LATERALLY” MEANS and EVALUATING A WEBSITE OR PUBLICATION’S AUTHORITY.
  2. Fact-check #3: fact-check by reading laterally, by “looking at what other sites and resources say about [a] source.” You are going to  read laterally by fact-checking the credibility of one of the following sites: Breitbart, Occupy Democrats, or FoxNews. What do people say about them? You might start with Wikipedia. And as you look at what other sites or resources say about these sites, use the their criteria (which Caulfield outlines in Chapter 17) – process, expertise, and aim – to guide your observations. What do other sources say, for example, about Breitbart’s research or how they correct mistakes? What do other sources say about the kinds of writers Occupy Democrats use for their stories? Are they experts? Do they interview experts? What incentive does Fox News have to get things right in their broadcasts? Who do they cater to? Feel free to look at your chosen site, but what you’re really doing is investigating and assessing their trustworthiness.