Assessment Design: types of assessment task


What is it?

A Blog (short for web log) is a kind of online diary which generally has the characteristics of being regularly updated and visible to a selected group or to a wider audience. Readers are usually able to comment on the entries. Blogs can be used to provide a descriptive update of an activity (eg a work placement, field trip or experiment) or to explore development of a viewpoint or opinion over a period of time (eg in response to ideas presented in the unit). Whilst the total contents of the blog may be very interesting, the value of this type of assessment generally lies in the process rather than the outcomes.

Recommended levels:

3 – 7

Suitable for groups?


Things to think about

The summative element of the assessment could rest either in a reflection on the process of writing the blog and responding to reader comments, or in a reflection on the development achieved by the student over the period of keeping the blog. Students could also be asked to make a selection of a certain number of their blog entries for summative assessment, accompanied by a short explanation of the reasons for the choice of these entries. Blogs offer opportunities for peer assessment, both formative and summative, and you can build this into the course planning – for instance, students can be asked to comment meaningfully on at least two other blogs written by their peers or to reflect on differences in approach between individuals given the same brief.

Students at levels 3 and 4 might be assessed on their ability to sustain the activity over the period required, the writing style and the relevance of the content to the target audience. At levels 5 – 7, you might expect more reflection on the process of recording, interpretation of the student’s own observations in the field or in class and less description of activity.

Externally hosted blogs which are available to the general public need to be monitored carefully if they are to be used for course-related activity. In all cases students need to be briefed on acceptable use of online commentary and reminded that the usual rules of academic writing and commenting apply.

At Manchester Met, ask your Technology Enhanced Learning Adviser (TELA) what is available to you as a platform.

Assignment length

You can specify a minimum number of entries of a particular length.

Group work

If used for group work, then you need to give a mark for the whole blog rather than sections of it; peer assessment could be used to attribute differential marks for individual effort if needed.

Plagiarism issues

If the blog is regularly updated with topical material then plagiarism is unlikely to be a major issue.


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