Discussion forum rubrics: Using rubrics to enhance and increase project management students' participation in online discussions

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Margaret Ruth Lee
Deborah S Carstens
Linda C Malone


This paper examines the impact of using a discussion forum grading rubric to encourage and enhance discussions (posts) in an online introduction to project management course.


The study consists of 53 Master of Business Administration (MBA) students enrolled in three sections of the course from October 2010 to May 2011. A control group of 20 students was compared to two experimental groups of 16 and 17 students respectively. The two experimental groups were given the specific grading rubric and instructions designed to encourage online conversation; the control group was not.


The results indicate that there was a statistical difference in average postings per student between the two experimental groups and the control group but no statistical difference between the two experimental groups. The results suggest that the use of a rubric specifically designed to engage the student and expand the student's learning experience can increase online classroom participation and, as a consequence, enhance the educational experience for the online project management student and strengthen the university's MBA program.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Margaret Ruth Lee, LEE Consultants


LEE Consultants, Principal

Florida Institute of Technology, Adjunct Faculty

University of Northwestern Ohio, Adjunct Faculty

Blackburn College, Adjunct Faculty 

Deborah S Carstens, Florida Institute of Technology


Director, ABTA Institute, http://abta.fit.edu/
Academic Chair, Project Management, Online MBA Program

Associate Professor, Information Systems
Florida Institute of Technology
Nathan M. Bisk College of Business

Linda C Malone, University of Central Florida


Professor Emeritus

University of Central Florida