Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Assignments

Student Workload Estimator

Rice University has developed a nice workload estimator that you might consider using for your course. It is available at https://cte.rice.edu/workload.  

From the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice:  Somewhat surprisingly, there is very little research about the amount of time it takes the average college student to complete common academic tasks. We have self-reported estimates of how much total time they spend on academic work outside of class (12-15 hours), but we don’t know much about the quality and quantity of the work that is produced in that time frame (let alone how the time is allocated to different tasks). We also know quite a bit about how students tackle common academic tasks, but those studies rarely ask students to report on how long it takes them to complete the task (whether reading a book, writing a paper, or studying for an exam). The testing literature provides some clues (because valid instrument design depends on data about the average speed of test takers), but it’s tough to generalize from the experience of taking high-stakes, timed tests to the experience of working on an assignment in the comfort of your dorm. And while there is a sizable literature on reading, the nature and purpose of the reading tasks in these experiments are also quite different from what students typically encounter in college.

Measuring Student Learning Outcomes

Lucinda Parmer from Southeastern Oklahoma State University has provided Alternatives to the Traditional Exam as Measures of Student Learning Outcomes​.  The article proposes many alternative means of assessing students including:

  • Collaborative testing
  • Student Portfolios
  • Performance Tests
  • Summaries
  • Briefing Reports
  • Presentations
  • Reflective Papers
  • Student-Proposed Projects
  • Experiential-Learning Activities
  • Poster Sessions
  • Fact Sheets
  • Gamification and Game-Based Learning
  • Service-Learning


Grading with Rubrics

How to Grade With Rubrics

Before grading with a rubric, you need to associate it with one of the following gradable items:

  • Assignments
  • Essay, Short Answer, and File Response test questions
  • Blogs and journals
  • Wikis
  • Discussion board forums and threads

Watch a Tutorial

Double-click the video to enlarge the viewing area.

Use the following steps to grade using rubrics:

The Raw Total displays the score rounded to two decimal places.

  1. Access the gradable item in the Grade Center, on the Needs Grading page, or from the tool.
  2. Click View Rubric to review or begin grading with the associated rubric.
  3. In Grid View, click a cell to apply that point value to the grade. If a rubric with point ranges is used, select the appropriate value from the drop-down list. To change the selection, click another cell in the same row. Optionally, type Feedback to the student in the text box that appears when a cell is selected.
  4. Optionally, click List View to switch displays and select an option for each criterion to apply that point value to the grade. Optionally, select the check boxes toShow Descriptions for criteria and to Show Feedback text boxes.
  5. A running Raw Total score appears as you make point selections. Optionally, type a score in the Change the number of points box to override the selected score, and type overall Feedback to the student using the full features of the content editor.
  6. When grading is complete, click Exit to leave the rubric without saving your selections, or click Save to save the score and feedback and return to the attempt. Click Save and Next to use another associated rubric for evaluation.