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Grading Forums

Why Do This

To encourage meaningful forum contributions, grade the forums based on:

  1. Quantitative and qualitative contributions to the discussion
  2. Responsiveness to discussion and demonstration of knowledge and understanding gained from assigned readings.
  3. Adherence to forum etiquette and protocols as described in your syllabus

There are two different ways to review and grade a student’s forum contributions:

  • Assigning individual grades (ratings) for each post and reply. This is best used when you want to evaluate the students’ posts in the context of the entire discussion.
  • Grading all of the forum activity for a student in a holistic manner, assigning one grade for the quality of all posts combined. When you use this method, only one of the student’s posts will have a grade assigned, so you will need to explain to students that the grade covers all posts for that forum.

See Faculty Guides>Forums>About Forums for a description of the 5 forum types, when to use each, the different ways to use forums and how to write effective forum questions.

Access the Forum

  1. Log on to Cougar Courses and go into your course.
  2.  In the Contents area, click on the topic that contains the forum. Scroll down and click on the forum.

Grading Each Post

  1. Click on the title of the first discussion thread.
    select individual discussion thread
  2. The initial discussion appears with the replies nested below. Read the initial discussion. Use the rating dropdown and select the score you wish to assign to this post.
    grade threaded reply

    Note, the scoring (rating) method is determined by you during the forum settings when you select the Aggregate type.
    aggregate type
  3. Continue reading the replies to the initial discussion and assigning a score from the rating box below the post.

Assigning One Grade for All Posts by a Student

You will need to refer to a list of the enrolled course participants. One way to do this is to go to the Navigation
block>Courses>Course name>Participants. Select all, copy and paste into a Word document.

  1. Access the forum, by following steps 1-3 above.
  2. Click the Search forums button at the top of the screen.
    search forum box
  3. In the Advanced search screen, select the forum you are grading from the “Choose which forums to search” dropdown.
    search forum options
  4. In the last field: “This name should match the author”,enter the last name of the first student on your list of particpants. 
  5. Click Search forums.
  6. Read all posts and determine the combined score for all posts. Use the rating dropdown to grade one of the posts, usually the student’s discussion post (not replies), or to the best post.
    individual forum from search results
  7. In the Search forums field, delete only the text after “user:” This should be the name of the previously graded
  8. Type the next student’s name at the end of the search field text, leaving the remainder of the text intact. Repeat grading and replacing the last name until you've worked through the list of Participants.

 search forum box