It’s that time of year. Students are turning in their final projects. Instructors are feverishly trying to get everything graded. With that in mind, here are a few simple steps that instructors can take at the end of a semester to ensure that there will not be any surprises when it comes to grades in Blackboard:
Delete or Exclude Unused Columns
Due to unexpected problems such as illness, power outages, inclement weather, and the like it is sometimes necessary to cancel a particular assignment that was originally planned. When that happens it is easy to forget to manage the matching column in the Blackboard Grade Center. If the column is left as is, it may cause problems with calculating the final semester grade for students. The easiest solution, in many cases, is to simply delete the column. To do so the column cannot be attached to a currently deployed Blackboard assignment or test. In that case, the assignment or test link must be removed first before the column can be deleted. If deleting the column is not possible or desired, the other primary option is to exclude the column from grade center calculations by using the “Edit Column Information” menu option. On the “Edit Column” screen, look for a check box towards the bottom to exclude the column.
Create Grade Reports for Students
Blackboard has a great feature that lets an instructor create a custom grade report for each student showing just the individuals grades. There is a short video demonstrating how to create grade reports at the Blackboard On Demand Learning Center website.
The Blackboard Grade Center allows an instructor to export the grades in a format that is easy to view and manipulate in any spreadsheet application. To download the grades, access the Blackboard Grade Center, point to the “Work Offline” button, and choose “Download”. The grades can be downloaded in either CSV or TXT format, both of which can be opened in Microsoft Excel. Again, Blackboard has created a video showing how to download grades.
Archive Your Course
Archiving a course in Blackboard is important for many reasons. One of those reasons is that a Blackboard course archive can store a complete history of Blackboard grades and any changes made to the grades for an entire course. If it ever came down to it, the archive could be restored (with the help of a Palomar College Blackboard Administrator) and access to all of the grade history would be possible. David Gray gave a great overview of the archive process in his recent webinar titled “No Fooling, Archive Your Course”.