Peter Smith

Tracking participation

Discussion created by Peter Smith on Jan 23, 2019
Latest reply on Jan 28, 2019 by Peter Smith

I trying to find a good way to track student's participation and present it to students. Help!


I teach a case-based course where students are graded on their participation; more particularly they are graded on their pattern of participation. I.e., one good participation might be luck, being able to consistently participate well is more indicative of mastery.


For many years I've used a scheme where, for each class, students' participation is evaluated as being basic, okay, and good. Over the years, I've tried a variety of descriptors from a simple "1, 2, and 3" through to things like "bronze, silver, and gold" (my current version). Importantly, these are categories of participation and I consider that no amount of silver participation is worth a gold participation (so point-based approaches tend not to work). It is the pattern of bronze, silver, and gold that a student has achieved that drives their grade. Over a 12 week course, there are a lot of possible combinations and sequences.


Since the advent of Canvas, I've been tracking participation through gradebook and setting it up so that each week's participation gets some kind of 'grade'. E.g., right now I have a grading scheme with Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels ... but the students get sidetracked by the numbers/points attached to them (even though the individual points don't count to the final grade).


I thought about using Badgr, but that doesn't really do the job ... and I've looked at kludging something using the attendance roll ... likewise, I've seen what folk are doing with 52 or 12-week rubrics. 


Ultimately, I'd like to be able to award a gold, silver, or bronze star each week of the semester, and have students be able to see the pattern they have. At the end of the semester, I'm happy to look at the pattern and assign the grade for participation.


I have some pretty good rules-of-thumb (that I tell the students about) that might be used to systemize the process; e.g., if the majority of a student's participation are gold, then they will be in the A-range, if the majority are gold and silver, then they'll be in the B-range. If the minority of the participations are gold then they'll be a C-range ... and if they get no gold then they'll get a failing grade.


Any ideas on how to do this better in Canvas?


Thanks to Steve Leichtweis for pointing me here.