Involving Students in Rubric Creation Using Google Docs

This article first appeared in the Teaching Professor on September 26, 2016. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. 

Editor’s note: There are two articles in this issue on rubrics. First, Raz Kerwin shares how he engages students (via Google Docs) in the creation of assignment rubrics, while Perry Shaw’s piece focuses on how faculty can improve their use of rubrics. Both articles reflect the growing interest in and use of these more elaborate delineations of grading criteria.

Wide consensus confirms the usefulness of rubrics. For instructors, rubrics expedite grading with standards; at the same time, they reinforce learning objectives and standardize course curricula. For students, rubrics provide formative guidelines for assignments while—ideally—spurring reflection and self-assessment.

Rubrics can do these wonderful things for students only if students actually look at, understand, and use them. Many of us have seen students do just the opposite—file them away or, even worse, toss them

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What are We Doing About AI Essays?

The November newsfeed heralded the arrival of AI essay writing. AI (or Artificial Intelligence) essay writing recruits online software that sifts through information and generates a thoughtful written analysis.  Enter a prompt, and AI can turn out a reasonable essay on everything from utilitarianism to the Krebs cycle…for free.

In truth, AI authorship hardly qualifies as “news.” There is nothing new about it: AI has been generating blog content for online businesses for some time and is largely responsible for the current glut of meaningless search engine results. Enter a query about stain removal, and the top matches feature links to vacuous 1,500-word essays filled with advertisements and zero practical information. That’s AI.

That said, given the right prompts, AI software can truly deliver some lovely, thoughtful college-level writing.  Of course, such a claim should require evidence, so we submitted increasingly specific prompts to a free online AI writer and

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Promote Positive Affirmations Between Students in your Classroom

What Kids Can Do For Themselves

Children should move past simple statements that make them feel better at the moment, like “I can do hard things,” and should also tie that to specific examples of what they have done in the past and what they can do in the future. Teaching your students to focus on the “why” and rationale behind their affirmation will help develop children into individuals who can self-reflect healthily and teach them how to build up their self-esteem. Providing specificity allows children to see their individual values for themselves. For example, if a child says about herself, “I am smart,” and repeats that affirmation over time, does she really do anything to support and develop her character? What happens when she is challenged by a child smarter than her or one that performs better on certain tasks? Instead, consider if that child drilled down to something

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