Sakai Rubrics: How the Cookie Crumbles

By Martin Ramsay

During the LAMP Consortium’s annual “LAMP Camp” conference in July, the group explored the new Rubrics tool now available in Sakai 2019. “We’ve been looking forward to the Rubrics tool for some time now,” said Terry Golightly, instructional designer for LAMP Consortium member Johnson University.

At LAMP Camp, Martin Ramsay, Managing Director of the LAMP Consortium, led a session on rubric writing. “We wanted to expose people to the new Rubrics tool in Sakai,” he said. “But, even more importantly, we wanted to help people understand what goes into writing good rubrics.” Ramsay said he used the example of homemade chocolate chip cookies. “I had the group brainstorm attributes of a chocolate chip cookie that were important. We talked about size and shape, degree of ‘brownness’ and number of chocolate chips per cookie. It gave us a chance to talk about how a rubric helps identify what is important about a student’s work. One criterion that was suggested was ‘taste,’ which is very subjective. That gave us a chance to talk about the difficulty of writing descriptions for attributes that are more subjective.” Ramsay said the group related the attributes of cookies to rubrics for such diverse topics as student research papers and computer programming.

“The theme of LAMP Camp this year was ‘Experiential Learning,” said Ramsay. After the group had used Sakai 2019 to build a chocolate chip cookie rubric, he passed out homemade chocolate chip cookies. Ramsay gives credit for that idea to Jo Pennington, Dean of the College of Education at Ohio Valley University, a LAMP member. “I wanted the group to have an experience putting a rubric to use,” he said. “Besides, who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? We used the rubric we had developed to grade the cookies. Then we ate them!”

(photo credit: Martin and Charlie Ramsay)

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