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Online Discussions - Rubrics

Below is a sample of a class rubric for online discussions. Feel free to use and customize for your class needs.

How to Succeed in Discussions

Discussion Scoring

The discussion will be graded according to a rubric designed to reflect the outcomes of the assignment. Each weekly discussion is worth 30 points, 15 points for your initial posting and 15 additional points for your replies to your peers. Initial discussion postings are due on Saturdays by midnight, replies are due on Tuesdays by midnight.

Discussion scoring rubric
Above Standard
10 - 15 points
Below standard
0 - 10

Initial Posting - This excellent posting reflected that the student read and understood the assigned material, referring specifically to assigned reading or related research.

The posting has a clear purpose: to inform, persuade, or raise an interesting question. It may also provoke conversation or offer an opposing view of the devil's advocate.

When appropriate, the posting refers to outside sources in supporting its arguments.

The post meets the word requirement of 150 to 350 words and there are no are no proofing or spelling errors.

Post is made early in the assignment period, giving fellow group members plenty of time to reply.

Initial Posting - This posting does not reflect that the student did or understood the reading. This posting could have been made without the student doing any reading or research at all.

The posting has no apparent purpose other than meeting the assignment requirement. It does not move the conversation forward or offer a reasoned opposing opinion.

The posting fails to make appropriate reference to outside materials in supporting any arguments.

There are one or more proofing errors.

Post is made at the last minute or late.

Replies - Replies are substantive and reflect that the student read and thought about the assigned reading and additional sources posted by the person they are replying to.

The reply moves the conversation forward or makes a reply to a question asked in response to their own posting.

Replies are made over several days rather than all crammed into the due dates.

Replies - Replies lack substance and do not reflect any reading or thought about the reading or additional sources.

The reply does not move the conversation forward or answer a question presented.

Postings are made late on the day the assignment is due so that it is difficult for others to respond.


The Question: Do you think that the malnutrition of hunger and the malnutrition of overeating are equivalent? Do you think that discussing them as equivalent somehow undermines actions to eliminate hunger?

Please note that I pulled these examples from actual student discussions from my environmental studies class. However, they are not from the same discussion groups, so the replies are not necessarily replies to the postings noted.

Above Standard Postings

According to pge. 50 of the text, overweight people rival the number of underweight people. Both are now estimated at 1.1 billion who are malnourished. At individual levels, both under and overweight people have some of the same problems with their health. Reduced physical fitness, susceptibility to illness, and a shorter lifespan are all problems of malnutrition. (Environment)

Obesity seems to grow as income increases. Even in sub-Saharan Africa is seeing an increase in obesity. Hunger and obesity can be solved by good nutrition. "We already knew that the world produced enough food to feed everyone, unfortunately food does not always get to the people who need it most," states Barbara Burlingame, Senior Officer in FAO. Hunger and obesity are results of this problem. In my opinion, when there is talk about malnutrition, you cannot talk about hunger without talking about obesity. Discussing them as equivalent does not undermine the actions to eliminate hunger. Like Burlingame said, we have the food, it's just not being put in all the correct places. Therefore hunger and obesity are tied together when talking about malnutrition regardless of the world's misconceptions on the subject.

Related Link:

Before reading the article I never considered obesity and starvation on equal levels. Our nation has the leading obesity rate due not only to our lifestyles, but to the type and amount of food we choose to consume. People who are starving don't have that choice and have to get by on as little as a dollar a day. How can overeating and hunger be treated as equal if one has a choice and the other does not? After doing some research it seems to me they can be viewed as equally destructive but in different ways.

In our society our economic status has made an abundance of food available to us. Food advertisements, fast-food chains, vending machines are every where you turn. It has made over eating built into our culture. As a result, our nation leads any other industrialization nation in obesity (WHO). With the influence of overeating heart disease has become the leading cause of death in our nation (WHO). When compared to developing nations, hunger just as severely contributes to death rates. Hunger leads to starvation which leads to weakness and illness. The hunger that exists is caused by poverty and low income rates of these countries. So in other words they're economic status leads to hunger while ours leads to overeating. Both situations of malnourishment have similar outcomes so they should be viewed with equal proportions. I don't think viewing them as equal should undermine actions to eliminate hunger. Both problems need to be dealt with since half the world population isn't sufficiently nourished. (WHO). By focusing more on the socioeconomic contributions to both problems more could be solved.

Below standard posting

While malnutrition of over eating and undereating are both problems. I feel that starvation is a greater problem. People who overeat have much more control over there nurishment problems that people who are starving. You can always choose to eat less when you have the food but if you dont have any food you cannot choose not to starve.

I think that the malnutrition of hunger and the malnutrtion of overeating are compeletly different. A malnutrition of overeating is the choice of that person. They apparently have money to buy that food and a person that suffers from malnutrion of hunger does not. The person that suffers from malnurtition of hunger does not have a choice, because the choice is already made for him or her by the country's econmoic state. I believe that does undermine hunger, because people will think it is the same thing, but in reality starving is far worse than actually having food in the refrigerator.

Above standard replies

Though I think you made a good point, I will have to disagree. Even though it is true that starvation is forced upon people while overeating is not, it can be argued that our society enforces overeating, or unhealthy eating. As the book says, we usually just say that overweight people overindulge themselves with the luxury they have of being able to eat too much, but it is a very serious thing. When you get to the point where you are considered obese, that's a big problem, and not just someone who likes to eat. Its like when a dieting girl gets obsessed and develops a sickness. I don't think the makeup of malnourishment from hunger and overeating are equivalent, but I do think their seriousness is. I really don't think letting people know about the seriousness of overeating is undermining hunger at all. Just because we try to save the whales and the dolphins, does that mean the whales are forgotten?

You said that the person that suffers from malnutrition of hunger does not have a choice because the choice is already made for him or her by the country's economic state. But wouldn't the same be true about the economic state of a country faced with the malnutrition of overeating? With a strong economy like the U.S. we are able to afford an abundance of food. Because of the money we have the food is available and we can indulge as we wish. In that way hasn't our economic state set us up to overeat? In that way our choice has been made by the way we are fueled by our economy.

Below standard replies

I completely agree with you on the statements about how you have control over overeating. With starving people starve out of their living situation not based form choice.

I agree with you when you say hunger is a big problem because most Americans take food for granted.

Creative Commons Attribution License  "Online Discussions - Rubrics" by Educational Technology, Highline College is licensed under CC BY 4.0