Day 8: Tips for Grading Moodle Forums

The forums in your online course are the main place where you facilitate the learning community and exhibit your “presence” in the course. You may have a rubric for your online discussion, or you may require a certain number of participant posts, or a combination of both. When it comes to grading, however, how to do this easily?

Viewing Students’ Posts

First, you probably wish to view all of an individual student’s posts at the same time to either compare it to your rubric and/or to count the number of posts. Here’s how to do this quickly:

  1. Navigate to one of the forums from the past week.
  2. Click Search Forums. (Don’t put anything in the box to get the advanced search options.)
  3. Select the specific forum to analyze and enter a student’s name.
  4. Now you’ll see the results of everything that student posted.
  5. To quickly search for the next student, this time, edit the search box. It will show something like this:
    Move the cursor past “user:” and change the name to the next student. Then click Search.
  6. Now you can analyze the next student’s posts.

Grading Posts

Here are a couple of ways you could grade the posts. You may think of other options.

Option 1: Enter grade directly to gradebook. You can set up a grade item in the gradebook and enter it directly there.

Option 2: Rate one or more posts. Moodle allows you to use ratings on posts. This is my preferred method. For this to work, the forum has to have ratings enabled. Here are the settings I use. Since I only allow the teacher level role(s) to rate, I choose maximum rating, in case I want to change a grade later. Then I enter the number of points for that forum.

Then, when I am grading and viewing a student’s posts from the previous week, I look for number of posts and the quality of writing/thinking.

After I’ve decided on a score, I click the pull down menu for rating on the student’s initial post. (Since that is usually the post with the most “meat”, I always put the grade on that post.)

Then the grade automatically is entered in the gradebook as well!

Your Turn

Reflect. How do you grade your online discussion forums? What works best for you? What other ideas do you have for ensuring quality participation in your online learning environment?

This post is Day 8 of the 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses.

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