Rubrics meet a variety of needs in the online world. I always consider the student first. A well designed rubric lets the student know how the paper or project will be graded. In this case, the majority of the grade will be dedicated to the content of the paper. Did the learner demonstrate an in depth understanding of the theories, concepts, and/or strategies presented in the unit?
It is also important that the learner follow directions. The facilitator/lead teacher wants to be able to grade an assignment, rather than just a random rambling of thoughts. Therefore, I always make a portion of the grade contingent on “the student followed directions in the assignment.
Writing is a big issue in higher education. Believe it or not, students come to college and even Master’s programs without the “foggiest idea” of how to put two thoughts together (to quote my mother). They also need much direction on how and when to cite. So, in most graduate work, it is appropriate to tie a portion of the grade to writing. I find that the words, “clear, concise, and well organized” describe what we expect.
If expectations are presented in a clear, concise and well organized manner (yes, pun intended), then the learners will be able to fully understand how to proceed to get the expected results. Further, when it comes time to assess, the grader will have a road map to use as well as a reference if he/she meets with contention from the learner concerning grade procedures.