- Must hit all elements of the discussion board grading rubric,
- Must be the first to respond in any given week,
- Must be a post that encourages other to respond and engage in discussion (i.e. have at least 3 responses to it),
- Must be a post that kindles the discussion (i.e. Original poster needs to respond to fellow student's responses, not ignore his/her own post),
I've noticed over the past three years that I've been teaching that there are some students who always (or often) take the leap and start the weekly discussion off by contributing an initial discussion forum post for that week. I do know, from my conversations with current and past students, that there are some students who prefer to stay back for a few days, see what other people write, and then go in and add in anything that hasn't been said. This is perfectly acceptable, but I wanted to reward those who jump in first, do a thoughtful job, and encourage others to jump in.
So, in order to receive this badge, for 2 weeks (out of the entire semester) a student will need to post first, meet the discussion board rubric criteria, so no "FIRST!" posts that contain no content, and the posted must post something that encourages discussion. There are few things worse than a dangling thread, with an initial post, and where no one else has bothered to respond and engage with the original poster :)
The one issue I had to grapple with, with this badge, is that it is a limited edition, in a sense. Since students have to exhibit this behavior twice per semester (it used to be 3 times, but I relaxed the criterion a bit), that means that there can only be six badges awarded max (and that's if everything is perfect). Out of a class of 20 (theoretical max enrollment in my course), that means that only 30% of the students (max) would receive this badge. On the one hand, having this badge means you are above everyone else, but should badges be potentially available to all? I guess this is a philosophical discussion.