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Like everything else, the structures and modes of modern education have evolved immensely. Gone are the days when ‘the classroom’ was but the only option when one needed to get an education. Online courses and programs have since taken the place of the traditional teaching methodologies in all aspects. In today’s world, one can get their course introduction online, their entire course work done online and yes all their group discussions and evaluations done online. Contrary to the situation in yesteryears when one had to avail themselves for tests and evaluation, nowadays an online grading rubric is in hand to ensure all work done online by a student is essentially graded to reflect on an individual’s effort. This structure essentially requires continuous student interaction mostly through online discussions. Many have questioned the effectiveness of online grading rubric as the most effective means of means of evaluating online course participation, but a closer look at the facts would assist in shedding light at this possible quagmire. It is a known fact that online course participation provides a great deal of motivation for learners and is resourceful to instructors when it comes to evaluating course comprehension and understanding for individual students. Unlike other rubrics, work done online by students does not only pass through instructors and faculty members but is also evaluated by their fellow students. This is reaffirming to the learner in two ways; first, the opinion of his peers who would later become colleagues provides a valuable form of criticism given that most fields of expertise are competitive, secondly opinions from more than a single party tend to be more convincing than those from a single source. Hence, fear of a bias eliminated as the grading rubric constitutes of divergent views and opinions. Nursing being a science means that it does not change much with geographical, social, or religious conditions. Thus, online participation having overcome all of these restrictions provides a perfect platform for those who want to learn and interact with like-minded individuals from across the board. For instance, in a discussion of a case study of a disease not common in ones region, one is likely to benefit a lot if the online discussion consisted of people from across states or continents that may be more familiar with the disease. Generally, the scope of any online participation is usually wider to accommodate a formidable online purely educational community. The online participation-grading rubric has effectively taken into consideration this fact and in turn capitalized on it.
There may be the perception of an online participation rubric being more lenient as compared to others, but all bases are covered as far as this rubric is concerned. Both quantitative and qualitative aspects are taken into account. On the quantitative front, the frequency of postings, how long they are and how often they are posted is taken into account. When it comes to the qualitative aspect factors such as relevancy, research reference, quality of writing, importance to the rest of the academic community and the debate it elicits from the other students are considered. The ‘interrater reliability’ (Luney-Margret, 2009) a major consideration in this rubric goes a long way to ensure all the parties are satisfied with its reliability. As much as the effectiveness of online grading rubric as an effective means of evaluating online course participation may have been questioned during its emergence, over time it has been re engineered become a revolutionary tool in modern education. Attending class is no longer the only way to evaluate an individual’s involvement. The process has been re-designed to accommodate a lot more and achieve redoubtable standards. It has been a tool for both motivating students and ensuring more contact with instructors. As things progress, there has been talk of this being the leading grading rubric but only time will tell.