Assessing (evaluating) a discussion topic

  1. Setting up assessment
  2. Assessing users
  3. Linking an assessment to a grade item
  4. Rating discussion messages

Setting up assessment

You can evaluate users' individual messages and have Learning Environment automatically calculate a topic score for each user, or you can assign a topic score directly to each user. If you choose to assess individual messages, you can specify how you want the system to calculate each user’s overall topic score.

Configure a topic for assessment

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Edit Topic from the context menu of the topic you want to configure.
  2. Click the Assessment tab.
  3. If you want to link a topic score to a grade item, select your Grade Item from the drop-down list.
  4. Specify the number you want to Score Out of. This is the scale, ranging from zero to the number you enter, that users are evaluated on. For example, if you enter 15, users are assessed on a scale from zero to fifteen.
  5. Click Add Rubric to associate the topic with a rubric. Click the Create Rubric in New Window link to create a new rubric. See Creating a rubric for more information.
  6. If you want to assess individual messages (rather than assigning an overall topic score directly for each user):
    1. Select the Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic score check box.
    2. Select the Calculation method you want to use to determine users’ overall topic scores based on message scores. See Calculation methods for more information.
    3. By default, the system ignores unassessed messages when calculating the topic score. However, if you want the calculation to treat unassessed messages as if those messages receive a score of zero, select the Include unassessed messages in the calculated score as zero check box.
  7. Click Save and Close.

Calculation methods

There are five possible calculation methods that a user can select when configuring a topic for assessment.

Assessing users

You can assess users from inside the topic while reading messages or from the Assess Topic page. Assessing users from within the topic lets you read users’ messages in context and evaluate them as you perform other reading-related tasks (approving messages, marking messages read, replying, etc.). When assessing users from the Assess Topic page, you can see topic scores for all users and view all of a user’s messages together on one screen. Assessable topics display a Can be assessed icon beside the topic name in the Discussions List.

Note  If a topic uses message approval, you must approve a message before you can assess it.

Assess users from within a topic

  1. On the Discussions List page, click on the topic you want to assess.
  2. Do one of the following:
    To assess In Do this
    Individual messages The Grid Style message list
    1. On the Discussions List page, click on the topic you want to assess.
    2. Click on the user's message.
    3. Click Assess from the More Actions button.
    4. Note   You must select the Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic score check box in the Assessment tab of the Edit Topic page to assess individual messages.

     
    Individual messages The Reading Style message list
    1. On the Discussions List page, click on the topic you want to assess.
    2. Click on the user's message.
    3. Click the Assess link beneath the user's name.
    4. Note   You must select the Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic score check box in the Assessment tab of the Edit Topic page to assess individual messages.

     
    The topic as a whole The Grid Style message list
    1. On the Discussions List page, click on the topic you want to assess.
    2. Click on the user's message.
    3. Click Assess from the More Actions button.
    4. Note   You must clear the Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic score check box in the Assessment tab of the Edit Topic page to assess the topic as a whole.

     
    The topic as a whole The Reading Style message list
    1. On the Discussions List page, click on the topic you want to assess.
    2. Click on the user's message.
    3. Click the Assess link beneath the user's name.
    4. Note   You must clear the Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic score check box in the Assessment tab of the Edit Topic page to assess the topic as a whole.

     
  3. Enter the Message Score or Topic Score.
  4. Click Save, then click Close.

Assess users from the Assess Topic page

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Edit Topic from the context menu of the topic you want to assess.
  2. Click Assess Topic.

    Tip  If the Score column is empty on the Assess Topic page, click the Manage Columns button, select the Score Value and Percentage check boxes, and click Save.

  3. Do one of the following:
    • On the Users tab, click Topic Score beneath the name of the user you want to assess.
    • In the Assessments tab, click the name of the user you want to assess.

    Tip  In either tab, you can search for specific users by typing all or part of a user’s name or user ID in the Search For field and clicking Search. You can also filter the view to display members of a specific group or section by selecting from the View By drop-down list and clicking Apply.

  4. In the Topic Score Details window, enter a score in the Score column beside each message you want to assess.

    Note  If a user’s messages are displayed across multiple pages, be sure to save the page before navigating to another page of messages. Any new message scores entered are lost if you change pages without saving.

    You can also enter comments in the Feedback field.

  5. Click Save, then click Close.

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Linking an assessment to a grade item

When you link a topic’s score to a grade item in your grade book, your users’ scores automatically transfer to the grade book. This enables you to factor the topic score into users’ final grades for the course. It also enables you to display the result to users since users cannot view their topic score directly through the Discussions tool, but can view their grades in the grade book.

Note  You can only link numeric grade items to discussion topics.

Publishing topic scores to the grade book

You assess topics linked to grade items in the same way you assess stand-alone topics, by assigning a score to each message or to each user for the topic overall. However, you must publish the score to the grade book in order for Learning Environment to update the grade item. This prevents the display of inaccurate grades before you finish assessing users.

When you publish the topic score, Learning Environment updates the grade item in the grade book. Any additional changes you make to a user’s score automatically release to the grade book.

Publish a topic score to the grade book

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Edit Topic from the context menu of the topic you want to assess.
  2. Click Assess Topic.
  3. On the Assess Topic page, do one of the following:
    • To publish scores for specific users, select the check box in the Published column beside each user whose score you want to release, then click Save.
    • To publish scores for all users, click Publish All Scores.

Tip  You can publish a user’s score in the same place that you enter it by selecting the Published check box.

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Rating discussion messages

Message ratings enable the community to collectively assess the value of each message, which helps significant messages gain prominence as they collect the highest ratings over time. This helps new users focus on the most important messages posted in the past. Your rating is anonymous. Rate messages using a five-star scale.

Tip  You can search by average rating in Search Options to find the highest rated messages. In a large discussion, this is a good way to find the most helpful responses.

Enable message rating

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Settings.
  2. In the Org Unit Settings section, select the Messages can be rated check box.
  3. Click Save.

Users also need the permissions Rate Messages and See Average Message Ratings to enable message rating.

Note  When you enable message rating, it applies to all topics in the entire course. You cannot enable message rating for some topics and disable it for others.

Rate a message

Rate the message by clicking on the number of stars you think the message deserves in the Rating section beside a user's message. You can give a maximum of five stars.

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See also

 

Desire2Learn Help | About Learning Environment