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Blog Evaluation Assessment

ideas for conducting assessments

Starting with Joyce Valenza's ideas for evaluating blogs, here's a way to measure students' skills at online evaluation. Besides the question categories, all that's needed is a blog to evaluate and rubrics by which to measure proficiency.

 


1. Joyce's original questions:

Who is the blogger? With so many blogs offering spotty or nonexistent “about” pages, this may be a clue in itself.

What sorts of materials is the blogger reading or citing?

Does this blogger have influence? Is the blog well-established? Who and how many people link to the blog? Who is commenting? Does this blog appear to be part of a community? (The best blogs are likely to be hubs for folks who share interests with the blogger.) Tools like Technorati http://technorati.com and Blogpulse http://blogpulse.com can help learners assess the influence of a blog.

Is this content covered in any depth, with any authority?

How sophisticated is the language, the spelling?

Is this blog alive? It there a substantial archive? How current are the posts?

At what point in a story’s lifetime did a post appear? Examining a story’s date may offer clues as to the reliability of a blog entry.

Is the site upfront about its bias? Does it recognize/discuss other points of view? (For certain information tasks–an essay or debate–bias may be especially useful. Students need to recognize it.)

If the blogger is not a traditional “expert,” is this a first-hand view that would also be valuable for research? Is it a unique perspective?


2. Select a blog and evaluate it yourself.

Below are some suggestions that can serve as evaluation test cases. Blogs often change daily, so these may not be as interesting or appropriate to evaluate as they were on Dec. 7, 2006--the day we first examined them. Feel free to substitute others that are related to your subject matter. Search for content or related key concepts in Technorati, Google Blog Search, Blogpulse, etc. If the content isn't important, search for "conspiracy theory" and you're sure to find some interesting posts (which you must approve before turning students loose on them!). Blogs associated with companies often promote their product, sometimes criticizing their competition--another example of bias.Keep in mind the rubrics below as you search for answers to evaluate the blog you select.

3. Assign at least three of Joyce's question sets and inform students about the rubric you will use to evaluate their work.

Student Performance Rubrics: (download available as a Word document)

 

Exceeds Expections for conducting Blog Evaluation

Satisfies Expectations for conducting Blog Evaluation

Falls Short of Expectations for conducting Blog Evaluation

Blogger Finds additional information about the author from more than one source outside the blog. Names the author of the blog and finds at least one item of background information such as education, experience, community recognition, etc. Fails to locate the name of the blogger.
Blog materials Uncovers additional information about the subject matter content to which the blogger is reacting. Identifies the materials (subject matter) the blogger is reading or reacting to. Fails to identify the materials (subject matter) the blogger is reading or reacting to.
Blog influence Locates information about the community to which this blog belongs, in addition to citing the number of blogs that link to this blog. Is able to cite the number of blogs that link to this blog. Fails to find the number of blogs that link to this blog.
Content Depth Provides prespective about the content of this blog from more than one outside authority Cites a facts that address the depth of content provided in this blog. Fails to comment accurately about the depth of content provided in this blog.
Language Conducts a readability analysis of the blog, using an online reading scale Comments accurately on the quality of the language and spelling used in the blog. Fails to comment accurately on the quality of the language and spelling used in the blog.
Blog Activity
not applicable
Comments accurately on blog activity, including the freshness of posts and archives (if present). Fails to comment accurately on blog activity, including freshness of posts and archives (if present).
Blog timing Provides additional information about the timing of this blog in relation to its content. For example, was this (one of) the first blogs to address this topic? Provides information about the appearance of the blog posting in relationship to the content it addresses. Fails to provide information about the appearance of the blog posting in relationship to the content it addresses.
Blog bias Provides additional information about the blogger's point of view, gathered from sources outside the blog. Reports on the blogger's statement of bias (or lack thereof). Fails to report on the blogger's statement of bias (or lack thereof).
Blog usefulness Provides additional opinions (other than his or her own) on the usefulness of this blog for academic purposes. Expresses a personal opinion, based on evidence found, about the usefulness of this blog for academic use. Fails to express a personal opinion, based on evidence found, about the usefulness of this blog for academic use.


4. Share the evaluation findings.

Discuss the group's findings and determine the extent to which the information can be trusted.

time flies

If there isn't enough time for individuals to look at three different cataegories, form groups and assign each group a different category to research, following by sharing and discussion. If there isn't time to discuss the findings, collect the evaluations and read them in light of the rubrics. Are the students satisfying the expectations? In what area are they strongest? Weakest?

This provides insight into aspects of blog evaluation that may need to be re-emphasized or practiced more.

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