CCO logo

Discussion Rubric and FAQs

Champlain College Online uses a standard grading rubric for all course discussions. The language in the rubric describes exemplar characteristics of each criterion. This means that full credit will be awarded to the student who goes above and beyond. The FAQs below explain the philosophy for discussions in our courses and offer some further thoughts about what instructors are looking for in each area.

Note that late work will be accounted for separately from the rubric. You can see the updated policy here.

Criteria Description Max
Application Explicitly and thoroughly explains, applies, and integrates a) concepts from this or other courses, b) outside resources or research, c) life experiences, and/or d) processes used to solve problems. 30 pts
Critical Thinking Clearly articulates a desire to a) reflect, b) explore possibility, c) recognize ambiguity, d) question assumptions, and/or e) search for logical relationships among ideas. Selects, analyzes, and synthesizes relevant information to demonstrate original thinking. 30 pts
Collaboration Fosters collaborative learning while a) problem-solving, b) respectfully challenging others, and/or c) expanding thinking through responses and reflection with other learners throughout the week. Builds on classmate and instructor contributions to deepen the conversation. 30 pts
Presentation Demonstrates attention to APA/MLA style and structure, adheres to rules of grammar and etiquette, and properly cites references to literature and course materials. 10 pts
Total Points: 100


Discussion Rubric FAQs

What is Champlain's overall philosophy concerning discussions?

For the majority of our courses, discussion is where primary learning takes place. This forum is the place where you, as the student, truly have the opportunity to delve into dialogue around ideas. Consider your discussions in the way you might engage in a conversation in a traditional classroom. Discussions are different than writing papers and it is acceptable to have a less formal tone. This is a space to play with ideas, ask questions about material, and to be inquisitive.

What should I aim for with respect to Application?

Application measures connections between the weekly topic (or the discussion question) and other contexts. “Other contexts” can be materials from your course, prior coursework, outside resources, and/or life experiences. Outside sources may be used but they are not required, except in the occasional case where necessary to answer a question.

What should I aim for with respect to Critical Thinking?

You are asking questions and expanding your thinking beyond the material presented. You recognize the world is not black or white and take time to explore the grays. You take a step back and consider an issue somewhat dispassionately, i.e. beyond a purely emotional response. You look for logical links and themes between and among multiple posts or across different resources. The thinking comes from thoughtful and original consideration; for example, thinking that is beyond simple links between readings and personal experiences.

What should I aim for with respect to Collaboration?

Collaboration measures the interaction with others in the course. Ideally, students show true reflection when responding to a classmate’s post. Are you working together to explore an idea or to solve a problem? Do you bring new materials/resources to a thread so that another student can learn more?

We encourage discussion over the entire week. This time frame gives you a chance to think through your thoughts before posting. Keep in mind that your posts should be:

What should I aim for with respect to Presentation?

First, notice that this category is only 10 points. As stated before, discussion is a conversation. The content is king in discussion forums. However, you should note that a well-presented idea is much more likely to be seriously considered than one that is generally hard to read, includes a lot of slang, poor grammar, and many misspellings. When citations are used, they should be accurate and adhere to APA/MLA format.