Student DIY Grading of Online DQs: An Adult Learning Approach

Monday, 9 November 2015

Laura Marie Schwarz, DNP, RN, CNE
School of Nursing, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Blaine, MN, USA
Nancyruth Leibold, EdD, MSN, RN, PHN, LSN, CNE
Nursing, Minnesota State University, Apple Valley, MN, USA

Faculty who teach online courses often find that it is difficult and time consuming to both accurately and constructively grade every discussion for every student in the online course room. Furthermore, students sometimes do not apply the instructions or grading rubric for their discussions.  Students also may not read instructor feedback or may not use the feedback to remediate. Student self-grading of online discussions with the employment of a detailed grading rubric may be a more accurate, effective, efficient and instructionally sound means of grading discussions.  It empowers students and is learner-focused rather than instructor focused. Utilizing rubrics for self-assessment aids learners in both their ability to self-assess and improve their performance (Panadero & Jonsson, 2013). Discussion self-grading employs andragogy (the theory of how adults learn and which is in contrast to pedagogy, the theory of how children learn), reflection and introspection. The theory of Andragogy substantiates engaging adult learners in self-assessments such as online discussion self-grading.  In his classic work Andragogy in Action(1984), Knowles’ adult learning premise postulates that adult learners 1) are self-motivated and self-directed; 2) want to have control over their own learning; 3) feel responsible for their own learning; 4) are internally motivated; 5) need to know why learning is important to them; and 6) learn from each other. Empowering adult learners to be in command of grading their discussion participation supports andragogy in that it allows the student to autonomously take control of their own learning though use of self-motivation, self-direction, being responsible for their own learning, and use of internal motivation.  Self-grading takes the focus off the instructor telling the student what they need to do, and instead places that focus on the student. In addition to incorporating andragogy, discussion self-grading uses self-reflection, a conduit for adult learners to reflect on what they have learned, reflect on practice, and provides introspection, or observing one’s own thoughts and feelings (Bonnel, 2012).  Involving adult learners in evaluation of their performance serves to facilitate internal motivation and allows them to have control over their learning. Is however student-self-grading of online discussions accurate? What are students’ perceptions of grading their own discussions?  This presentation will discuss the theory and benefits of self-grading for both online students and faculty, articulate the methodology for implementing it, and discuss the findings from a multisite study that garnered perceptions of students who graded their own online discussions.