Rubrics for Online Instruction

This week I decided to go online and take a look at the various rubrics that were discussed in the textbook. I’m a big fan of rubrics (they speak to the organized star student in me) and I was curious to see if the approaches were any different coming from separate sources. I examined three online course rubrics this week and these were my findings in order of least favorite to favorite:

The Illinois Quality Online Course Initiative also uses six categories, but I was unable to find the “checklists” referred to in the textbook that actually broke down specific requirements of each category – like CSU Chico had made so easily accessible. I agree with these six categories as well, and would love to find those checklists.

The Rubric for Online Teaching at CSU Chico is straightforward and easy to navigate. There are six categories to evaluate your own course, or another course, with. By clicking on any category the corresponding rubric will come up with three different levels of proficiency (my word) – “baseline,” “effective”, and “exemplary.” I like these levels of evaluation because it gives the instructor some idea of what merely acceptable looks like versus something really outstanding. I can see the value in this for both online teaching newcomers and seasoned online instructors alike. I also agree with the six categories because I feel as if they are the most salient of the features I would choose myself if I were creating a rubric. Now, do I know much about this yet? No! But, in my humble, not yet educated opinion, this one is user-friendly and appears to be generated from people who know what they’re talking about.

The Quality Online Course Standards developed by the North American Council for Online Learning were incredible. I found this rubric to be very detailed and thorough. I think one could learn a lot about what makes up a successful online course simply by reading the rubric. Actually, I should say that for any good rubric, obviously, but this one was even more in-depth than CSU Chico’s was. It actually employs twelve categories and a breakdown of each of those. It is a .pdf file and I not only bookmarked it, but printed it.

Overall, I really didn’t know there were rubrics out there for instructional design of online courses. If I had given it any thought, I suppose it would have occurred to me that it would be logical to have them, but prior to this week’s readings I had not given it any thought. I really found these to be informative and something practical I would like to refer to when designing a course.




7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tami-Fellow Blackbordian
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 15:30:13

    Hi Erica:

    I went and looked at these too…I have learned more about online teaching from seeing and playing with the work of other instructors. The Chico standards and examples make me wonder about a few things though:
    Are their high quality online courses without all the bells and whistles of technology? Courses should appeal to multiple intelligences and learning styles. It is better to have a visual attraction to draw students in…But I wonder, is the student enjoying the class because it more like a video game or because they are learning the content? Or should we trick them into the learning with the technological enticement? A conundrum of sorts or my justification for not adding all the bells and whistles…? As an educator now for many years and a parent of four, I see a loss of wonderment in learning just for the sake of knowledge. Some modern students expect that instant gratification or knowing of why I need to do this and where can I see the immediate result. And then there is the old school of learning: you need to know this stuff just to be educated, well-rounded, a contributing citizen to your nation and the global community. These rubrics left me with plenty to think about again….


    • ericaduran
      Sep 21, 2011 @ 17:11:06

      Tami – You have some good points and I think valid considering we are still negotiating how much is too much, right? I’m not sure all the bells and whistles are needed, no, but I think certainly some are. I am keeping in mind multiple types of learners as I say this. I see my online course, perhaps wrongly, as an extension of a face-to-face class in that in my face-to-face class I use multiple styles of teaching in order to capture as many students as possible. I think many of us do regularly use group work, PowerPoints, perhaps You Tube videos, some Blackboard or blog work, etc… as part of a Face-toFace class, and so for me using multiple pieces of technology in an online course feels fairly organic. As there are so many different ways of learning, there are so many different ways of teaching. I see these multiple uses of technology as multiple opportunities for them to learn and perhaps “get” something they may not in another form – while also recognizing where too much may be exactly that. I understand many people to do want that instant reward or result, as you said, rather than just the knowledge itself – but I’m not sure I see the connection you’re making to that and the bells and whistles? – Erica


  2. elearnbpGreg Walker
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 15:51:23

    Thanks for sharing your rubric links. I like and have used the Chico State rubrics. I was unaware of the Ion site. I like how you can enter a new course for review. Have you tried this? How do you intend to use the ION resources?


    • ericaduran
      Sep 21, 2011 @ 17:05:39

      Greg – I haven’t entered a course for review yet – no. I’m lookiging forward to doing that in the future though. Also, I have not yet decided how to use the ION sources, lol. I’m working on it 🙂 I really enjoyed Chico’s though as well – so I think I’m still deciding on how to incorporate these into my repertoire ! – Erica


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  4. franklearns
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 03:38:43


    I very much enjoyed your review of the rubrics. A well-constructed rubric makes things much easier for everyone involved in a course and your favourable comments have encouraged me to explore these to see how I might be able to incorporate them into my development process.




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