FLO MicroCourse: Creating and using rubrics


This course take place over 5 days, with a bit of spill over into the weekend to tie up loose ends. The idea is to provide a supportive environment for you to ask questions, take risks, offer advice, and have fun. 

You will leave this course with:

  • new ideas and skills for creating rubrics
  • a first draft, with feedback
  • experience using a rubric 


Participants should expect to spend at least 5 hours for course activities during the week. Those with no prior online teaching and learning experience can expect to invest more time. Active participation will make this course successful for everyone!

Research Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by end of day Monday

Step 1 - What?

A rubric is a tool to guide and evaluate different types of work that show student performance. It can be used for written assignments, presentations, online discussions, class participation, and more.  

A rubric consists of:

  1. Appropriate criteria
  2. Descriptions of performance

Using a rubric, instructors and learners are able to match their performance to the level they have demonstrated.

Rubrics can be analytical (two dimensional matrix format with criteria on the left and a rating scale across the top) or holistic (single criteria, one dimensional).

Step 2 - Why?

Consider the advantages of integrating rubrics into your curriculum. Rubrics:

  • provide clarity about course expectations and what the learning looks like
  • support authentic and self-assessment practices
  • encourage mindful linking of assessment to learning outcomes
  • can set out a pathway of where you are and where you need to go
  • break down tasks, processes, and products into smaller components
  • help learners to see areas that need strengthening in a specific course or in the future
  • are powerful reflection tools
  • support peer evaluation and assessment practices
  • provide timely and helpful feedback that students can use
  • encourages fair and consistent grading
  • Others? What are other advantages you would list here?

Step 3 - What have others done?

Have you come across rubrics in your own learning and teaching? What caught your attention? Is there something new you would like to try?

We have started to compile examples. Please add to the list! 

Step 4 - Consider the use of rubrics from different perspectives

Rubrics have different challenges and advantages for faculty and students. Wear both hats while you consider these questions:

  • What do you need to consider when designing and implementing rubrics?
  • How will rubrics change your course experience? 

Step 5 - Consider how you will use rubrics in your course

Each context is different, and there are many ways you can integrate rubrics into the curriculum. For example, rubrics can be used to guide and assess the quality of:

  • Participation throughout a course, or in a specific activity
  • Collaborative skills during a group project 
  • Assignments
  • Effort to engage with content 
  • Others?

Step 6 - What is your starting point in creating a rubric? 

  • I found the perfect rubric and will use it as is. Here's why.
  • I found a good rubric but will modify it.
  • I will start from scratch and create a rubric.
  • I will wait and create a rubric with my students. Here's how I will guide that activity.

Creation Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by end of day Wednesday 

Step 7 - Do it!

Now that you have considered why and how you will use your rubric, you're ready to create your first draft.

The process described below is adapted from  Online Tutorial for Faculty on creating rubrics from University of Denver Colorado and from this article from thoughts.com. We have collected more resources and links in this Google Doc. Feel free to do your own research, and follow an approach that makes sense to you.

  1. Define the purpose and goals of the assignment/activity for which you're creating a rubric
  2. Choose your rubric type
  3. Define the criteria
  4. Design the rating scale
  5. Write the descriptors for each scale point

Step 8 - Post it

Post your rubric to Sharing and Feedback following the instructions in the forum description. 

Review and Feedback Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by midday Friday

Step 9 - Review others and give feedback

Review the fabulous rubrics submitted to the forum and select a couple to offer some specific, constructive feedback. Some guiding questions are offered in the Sharing and Feedback forum. Use the MicroCourse peer feedback rubric to guide your feedback!

Step 10 - Reflect, and refine your draft rubric

Did you receive some tips on how to improve your rubric? Do you have further comments and questions? Feel free to revise and share!

Last modified: Friday, 21 September 2018, 6:24 AM