Grading Criteria

Grading Checklist

There are 9 items in this checklist, which works out to about 2 points per item. And certainly, points will be deducted for missing items. However, I will generally be grading based on a global impression of the quality of your work.

  • Length: 400-600 words (or the equivalent in non-traditional posts)
  • Style: Write posts in your own personal style/voice. Help us hear you in your writing. Entertain us with your individual perspective.
  • Purpose: Be informative, persuasive, and/or reflective (depending on type of post). Remember that everything is an argument, and your purpose or point of view should be clear. In other words, I’m looking to see some abstract thought and insight, even if the topics are mundane.
  • Organization: Organize your ideas in the way that best makes sense for the purpose of the post (two paragraphs minimum, with allowances made for compositional risks/lists).
  • Mechanics: Proofread for grammatical/typographical errors (compositional risks are an exception).
  • Conventions: Format posts according to the directions and the examples of good blogging practices that we looked at in class. (compositional risks are an exception).
  • Research: Include at least one link, embedded correctly, that directs your reader to some text, argument, or information that is relevant to the argument you are constructing.
  • Visual: Include at least one image or video, embedded appropriately and cited according to blogging conventions. This generally include crediting the author and linking back to the original source.
  • Tags: Tag your posts with descriptive tags that help classify your topic. Be creative in your tagging, but also make them useful.

Criteria In Detail


  • Approximately 400-600 words long (with the exception of wordless posts, obvi). This is a general guideline; some posts may be longer. However, my experience indicates that it will be difficult to develop a meaningful argument in fewer than 400 words.
  • Posts should be two paragraphs minimum. You may deviate from paragraph structure to take a compositional risk (lists, poems, etc.). Remember that, in blogging, more shorter paragraphs is better than fewer long ones.
  • Remember that typical blogs have short paragraphs because reading on the screen causes more eye fatigue than does reading on the page.


  • single space paragraphs
  • double space between paragraphs (to indicate a break in paragraphs and to give your reader’s eye a rest)
  • do not indent paragraphs
  • prefer more shorter paragraphs to fewer long ones.


  • Every blog should contain a "news peg." That is, you should be using this post to explore and explain something that is current, or presenting new information to your audience.
  • You are in a way, teaching your audience something that you yourself are an expert on. You can only develop this expertise through research and continued reading in your area of interest. Each blog should reflect this research.
  • Use linking to insert yourself and your writing into the ongoing conversation about the topic you are exploring. (Except in rare cases, linking to Wikipedia or is considered far too surface-level.)
  • Do not copy/paste long URLs into the text of your post. Instead, highlight the relevant words in your post and embed the link so as not to interrupt the flow of the post. This is like effective quote integration in an essay.

Images & Media:

  • Every post should have at least one image or video, embedded correctly.
  • You may have more than one; there is no maximum.
  • Consider using carefully chosen images as Headers for each post. This makes the post more visually appealing. Also, these header images will often accompany the post when shared on social media (resulting in more clicks!)


  • You should write your posts in your own style. This might mean being witty and clever, or it could mean being serious and straightforward. There is no one way to do this, as long as you remember to be school appropriate. This above all: to thine own self be true.
  • Yes, you may use first person pronouns if you’d like.
  • Your voice may change from post to post as you figure out what works best for you, and that is absolutely fine (even encouraged!).
  • You may express your opinions in your posts, but remember that any time you take a side for anything, you need support for your argument. If you just sound off about something you don’t like, it’s not arguing; it’s whining.


  • Debate the idea, not the individual. Be respectful of others even if you disagree with their points. No mean-spirited posts about individuals allowed.
  • Your comments should contribute to the discussion.