A division of Libraries and Academic Innovation


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Grading should be considered one part of a course's overall assessment plan. Though grading is largely the same for online as for in-person courses, a key difference is accounting for participation in online discussions and other activities. Grading is one key tool an instructor can leverage to show students what is important for them to engage with in the course and, for most students, create added motivation to follow through.  Therefore, depending on the nature of your course, consider awarding up to 25% of your final grade to aspects of participation.

Online it is also especially important to make your grading schema and late work policy as clear as possible to students. A good way to do this is to create a chart listing each type of assignment (e.g. essay, discussion post, problem set) with the maximum point value for and frequency of the particular assignment type. Here are two examples, one chart provides percentages and the other gives total point values. As long the grading scheme uses consistent measures (percentages or points) and is clear, either approach works.

Grading Scheme by Percentage

Element Number % of final grade
Assignments 4 25%
Paper 1 30%
Midterm 1 25%
Discussions 4 20%
     Total   100%


Grading Scheme by Points

Assignment Type Points (per assignment) # Total Points
Discussion Posts & Responses 40 pts 5 200 pts
Project proposal 50 pts 1 50 pts
Case Studies 50 pts 4 200 pts
Survey Interview 50 pts 1 50 pts
Annotated Bibliography 50 pts 1 50 pts
Multimedia project 250 pts 1 250 pts
Research Paper 200 pts 1 200 pts
Total Points Available 1,000


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