Towards an Open Rubric – Part Two

In part one, I related the shambling development project to build an online generalized rubric builder/application tool, codename:”Rubricator”, at the IST Solutions Institute at Penn State from 2007-2008. The official project met an untimely demise as a result of a college reorganization. While this certainly wasn’t the first technology project to be offed by a surprise reorg, we had a more troubling problem – we had promised the tool to a colleague to help execute her research!

Carol McQuiggan, a friend of teammate Stevie Rocco is a member of Penn State’s instructional design community. Carol had provided the first rubric we marked up and used for early testing and development – a self-assessment rubric to help faculty members measure their own preparedness for online teaching. We had signed Carol on as the first pilot user of the rubric system, and she been accepted to the upcoming Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning to present on her research.

Stevie had since moved on to a new position with Penn State Online, and I was in charge of building the new Extreme Events Lab at Penn State. Stevie and I resolved not to hang Carol out to dry. Through some long evenings, work sessions at the local Panera and the assistance of the local Adobe Flex Study Group, we managed to finish a limited version of the rubric tool. This version was enough for Carol to complete her research and presentation. Stevie and I were also able to parlay our experiences into a presentation at OpenEd 2009.

Stevie was also able to find a permanent home for the rubric tool as the Faculty Self-Assessment: Preparing for Online Teaching with Penn State Online.

In our rush to finish the “rubricator”, we unfortunately had to compromise on our initial design in a few severe ways. We were still no closer to an open model for rubrics, one independent of the application that displays them. In fact, we were left even without a clear path to release what we created as open source – it remains property of Penn State due to institutional intellectual property policies. Perhaps someone still at PSU will take up the charge.

Next: Part Three – Liberating the Rubric

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