Tarleton State University

Master of Music in Music Education




Rubric   Critiques

Discussion Info

Requirements and deadlines:  Each discussion will pose a question, sometimes with several parts.  Try to post early in the week.  If you post on Tuesday, you will receive 10 points, 9 for a Wednesday post, 8 for a Thursday post, 7 for a Friday post, and 0 if you post after that.  See the Discussion rubric for details.    Additional posts (responses to other students' posts) are due by Saturday at midnight.  Points will be deducted from the week's discussion grade if posted late.  Be aware that doing the bare minimum will not earn an "A."

NOTE:  You should read all posts, not just the ones to which you intend to respond. 


Answer the question entirely, not just one thought.  Don't just paraphrase something in the lecture - do some thinking, reading on your own.  Consult additional sources.  It doesn't have to be a long answer, but it should not consist of a single point.  It should also not be a simple yes or no answer, even if you put the word "definitely" in front of it.  Full credit for content ("Excellent" on the rubric below) is reserved for those who go above and beyond, often consulting outside sources.


In responding to others' answers, feel free to ask them for clarification or for further information to justify their answers.  "I agree" is not a discussion.  Neither is a paraphrase of their post.  Your response should add something to the original post, ask, or answer a question.  Ask questions like "I wonder why . . .," "Why is it that . . . ," "Do you think . . . ," to encourage others to delve deeper into the subject.  However, a question without a follow-up does not qualify as new material.  Think of your response as your opportunity to help your colleague to improve his/her writing and to expand their thinking.  If I ask a colleague to review something I write, I expect constructive criticism so that I can make improvements.  I would be disappointed to receive a simple "nice job" response.  Remember that chit chat responses ("I saw that movie, too!") will not be counted toward the response post requirement.  As a matter of fact, those belong in the Water cooler!

Also, you are welcome to respond to as many posts as you like, but again, with something of substance, not just a "me, too!" answer.


Please write in complete sentences and use correct punctuation, capitalization, etc.  We do become accustomed to shorthand in e-mails and text messages, but you should be able to communicate in a more formal manner also, and this is a good forum in which to practice.  Check out this Writing page for a review.  You will be graded on this as a writing assignment, both on content and form.   It is a good idea to write your posts in a Word document with spell-check and grammar-check turned on.  Then just copy and paste your complete answer into the discussion blank.  Please do not attach the Word document itself.


Please begin your response posts with the person's name to whom you are responding.  Some of the threads go back and forth between people and when read in compiled format, become very confusing.


These submissions are time and date stamped, so don't miss the deadlines.   I read all of your posts in context, in the discussion forum.  However, when I grade them in Blackboard, I am looking at only your posts, so keep that in mind when you judge your own participation.


Ask Dr. J:  Think of this as raising your hand in class.  This is for clarification or problems that others might be having, as well.  If you know the answer to someone's question, feel free to answer it in this forum.  I do appreciate receiving posts when links are missing, or other errors so I can correct them quickly.  If you don't receive a response within 24 hours, however, please email me at vjohnson@tarleton.edu .  Blackboard does not notify me on discussion posts or student emails inside the program, so feel free to email me directly for a quicker response.


Discussion Rubric



Performance Indicators






Original Post Content


No original post

Incomplete answer or incorrect information

Original answer is too brief or some parts are incomplete

Complete answer showing some knowledge of valid source materials and/or content understanding

Insightful answer well supported by valid source materials and/or content understanding

0 points

28 points

32 points

36 points

40 points

Original Post Time


Original post submitted late

Original post by Friday

Original post by Thursday

Original post by Wednesday

Original post by Tuesday

0 points

7 points

8 points

9 points

10 points



No responses or no responses add new information

One or more responses is too brief or responses add little information

2 complete responses that include new information

3 or more complete responses that include new information

3 or more excellent responses that include new and helpful information

0 points

21 points

24 points

27 points

30 points

 Writing form


Posts unavailable to grade writing form or unacceptable writing form

Multiple errors in punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and sentence form

Several errors in punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and sentence form

Minimal errors in punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and sentence form

Correct punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and sentence form

0 points

14 points

16 points

18 points

20 points


Total points







Why Have Discussions??

The following is an excerpt from a blog called "Teach Online" (http://teachonline2008.blogspot.com/)

Discussions are the basis for learning in an online class. Most course developers either don't count discussions enough in the grades or don't require an adequate amount of both quality and quantity.

Most students will say "but I run out of things to say" and I just sigh and shake my head, knowing they'll learn fast enough how it works. They actually have to read what their classmates write in the discussions, then respond with additional information to further the conversation. You know, like you do on the phone or text or f2f.

I turn my online class discussions into communities of practice. Students quickly learn that they can expose their ignorance and not be criticized or laughed at. They learn that the discussions are a safe and secure place to take a risk, go out on a limb, make mistakes, and not feel stupid.

They all have the same questions. They all know some things better than others. Each is smart in his or her own way. And so they practice and throw out opinions and ask dumb questions. And they feel safe.

Because they help each other. When one asks a question, another knows the answer. And eventually everyone asks a question or otherwise shows ignorance of a topic, writing skill, whatever. And also everyone is able to show off their knowledge by helping someone else figure out a solution or answer to a problem.

A community of practice. This is where learning takes place in an online classroom.



We have a tendency to think of criticism as mean spirited and to be avoided, as in:

But critiques can help you improve and can be very beneficial.  Consider these two scenarios:

  1. Nancy had a great job opportunity.  She put together a resume especially tailored to that job.  She asked Nathan to look over it before sending it in.  Nathan noticed that she had a couple of typos and some sentence structure issues, but he didn't want to hurt her feelings.  She needed a confidence boost, so he told her it was wonderful and that she was wonderful and that he was sure she would get the job.  She sent in the resume.  The hiring manager took one look at the typos and awkward sentences and concluded that despite her excellent credentials, she could not be trusted with the details of the new job if she couldn't even send in a clean resume.

  2. Nancy had a great job opportunity.  She put together a resume especially tailored to that job.  She asked Michael to look over it before sending it in.  Michael noticed that she had a couple of typos and some sentence structure issues.  He knew she was counting on him for his best constructive criticism, so he pointed out every instance that needed to be revised.  He sent the resume back to her and she made all of the corrections.  The hiring manager was impressed with her credentials and there were no red flags to indicate that she was not meticulous and competent.

Which friend did Nancy the greater service?  Constructive criticism is of great value (as long as it is not delivered like Simon Cowell!)






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