The Blackboard Grade Centre

The Blackboard Grade Centre
The Blackboard Grade Centre
Manual Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 11 – Faculty of Humanities
1. Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................ 2
1.1 Icons in the Grade Centre ................................................................................................................................................ 3
2. Creating a regular column to manually enter grades ............................................................................................................. 4
3. Weighted columns and calculating grades ............................................................................................................................. 5
3.1 Average column ............................................................................................................................................................... 5
3.2 Minimum/Maximum column ........................................................................................................................................... 6
3.3 Total Column.................................................................................................................................................................... 6
3.4 Weighted column ............................................................................................................................................................ 6
3.5 Calculating with Weighted columns ................................................................................................................................ 7
3.5.1 Selection options: select individual columns ........................................................................................................... 7
3.5.2 Select categories to drop grades in a calculation ..................................................................................................... 7
3.6 Complex calculations and Rounding grades .................................................................................................................... 8
4. Changing column settings and grade visibility for students ................................................................................................... 9
4.1 Quickly reviewing column settings .................................................................................................................................. 9
4.2 Editing column settings.................................................................................................................................................... 9
4.3 Hiding and unhiding columns from the Grade Centre ..................................................................................................... 9
4.4 Deleting Grade Centre Columns ...................................................................................................................................... 9
4.5 Making Grades invisible for students (important!) ........................................................................................................ 10
5. Manually submitting Grades: Quick Grading ........................................................................................................................ 11
6. Grade Centre management .................................................................................................................................................. 12
6.1 Grade display options and Grading Schemas ................................................................................................................. 12
6.1.1 Grading Schemas .................................................................................................................................................... 12
6.2 Grading colour codes ..................................................................................................................................................... 13
6.3 Hide students and Amount of students displayed ......................................................................................................... 14
6.4 Smart views ................................................................................................................................................................... 14
6.5 Column management (order, hide/unhide, categories) ................................................................................................ 15
7. Downloading the Grade Centre to Excel .............................................................................................................................. 16
8. Availability of grades for students ........................................................................................................................................ 17
8.1 Linking to My Grades ..................................................................................................................................................... 17
8.2 Making grades invisible for students ............................................................................................................................. 18
9. Concluding remarks: common pitfalls and problems ........................................................................................................... 18
Author: Susanne Keesman
Teaching assistant Blackboard Helpdesk
Blackboard Helpdesk
Faculty of Humanities
Do you have any further questions after reading this
manual? Please do not hesitate to contact the
Blackboard Helpdesk (contact information below)
Address
Faculty of Humanities/IFZ
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
Room 1.32
Phone: 071-527 2773
Email: [email protected]
Website: FGW > Medewerkers > Informatisering en
Facilitaire zaken > Blackboard
1. Introduction
The Grade Centre is a central location in Blackboard to manage and grade student performance and
progress for your course. It is a complex tool with an extensive set of functionalities which are discussed
in this manual. Some of the options are:
• Grade Centre calculations with the option to drop a part of the grades in the selected columns,
use only the highest grade of a selection, etc.
• Highlight cells (e.g. all insufficient grades)
• Download the Grade Centre to Microsoft Excel to e-mail the final grades to the student
administration desk for registration in the student information system uSis.
• Filters can be applied to review parts of the Grade Centre (useful in courses with many students
or different groups and instructors)
• Grading assignments, tests and collaboration tools, reviewing student performance statistics, etc.
is discussed in the manuals discussing these respective assessment tools.
To open the Grade Centre navigate to: Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre.
Note: the student information system uSis is the only official system used to register study progress
and results. Blackboard is useful to list grades for midterms, essays, collaboration assignments etc. and
to calculate the weighted average, but the final grade has to be registered in uSis in order to be official.
Point out to students that they are not entitled to rights under the grades in the Grade Center. For
workflow, safety and other reasons, make a copy of the Grade Center and store it outside Blackboard,
for instance in an Excel file on your own computer (see chapter 7).
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1.1 Icons in the Grade Centre
The Grade Centre can display various icons in grading cells. The Icon Legend can be used to review them,
below is a list with their explanation.
 Columns can be made invisible for students. They will be marked with the icon .
 An assignment can be marked with a grade, but also with the completed sign if it is not graded.


Assignments that need to be graded will be marked with a yellow exclamation mark
.
Manually entered grades will be marked by a red triangle in the upper left corner of the cell.


If students saved an attempt without submitting, it will be marked as an attempt in progress .
The external grade is used with regard to the report card module. At least one column has to
be set as the External Grade column, by default the total column. The option cannot be turned
off, therefore it is best to leave the Total column marked as the external grade column.
If a student is exempted of a certain assignment, the cell will be marked with a blue square .
In case an error occurred, a cell will be marked with a red exclamation mark . If this mark is
displayed, please contact the Blackboard helpdesk.


Note: the last chapter of this manual discusses the most common misunderstandings, problems and
pitfalls of the Grade Centre.
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2. Creating a regular column to manually enter grades
Blackboard automatically creates columns in the Grade Centre for all types of digital assessments
(Assignments, SafeAssignments, Turnitin Assignments, Tests, Graded Discussion Boards, Blogs, etc.). It is
also possible to create columns manually to enter grades for assignments or exams not taken through
Blackboard. This is useful when Blackboard is used to calculate the final grade.
1. Navigate to Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre.
2. Click Create Column in the upper left corner of the action bar menu.
In the form that appears next, the following settings
can be entered:
1. In field 1, Column Information:
a. The Column Name (required field) is
displayed to students and in the Grade
Centre (first 15 characters). The optional
Grade Centre name is only used as the
Column header in the Grade Centre (15
characters are visible).
b. Enter a description (optional).
c. Select the display options. Primary
Display is the grade format shown in the
Grade Centre and to students. The
secondary display is optional and only
visible for instructors.
d. Categories classify Grade Centre
Columns and can be used in Calculated
Columns (see note below).
e. Enter the Points possible (usually 10).
f. Add a rubric (Rubrics are used to grade
students on a set of evaluation criteria.
They are discussed in a separate manual,
see our website.)
2. In field 2, the Due date and time can be left
empty. They are used to assign columns to
Grading Periods, which are used in America
but usually not in The Netherlands.
3. In field 3, enter options for the column:
a. Include this Column in Grade Centre
Calculations makes it possible to include this Column in calculated Columns (see ch. 3).
b. Show this Column makes the column visible or invisible for students.
c. Show Statistics shows the average grade and the median for this Column to Students.
4. Finally, click Submit. The column will now be created.
Note: The field Category (under 1) is useful for complex grading. Categories can be used in case the
final grade is based on multiple partial grades for certain course fragments. Blackboard can exclude
the highest or lowest grades scored for a certain category, or to take for instance only the best 5 out of
8 grades for the essays into account when calculating the final grade. This is discussed in chapter 3.5.
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3. Weighted columns and calculating grades
Weighted columns can be used to perform calculations in
the Grade Centre. They can calculate the final grade based
on all columns or a selection of columns, or columns
matching a certain category. We will discuss how to create
these columns, after which we will explain how to use them
for calculating weighted grades.
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
Note: Columns with Text as primary display rather than Score cannot be used in Grade Centre
calculations.
Note: Only columns that are included in Grade Centre Calculations can be used in Calculated Columns.
If a column is not available to select, check this setting by clicking the arrow behind the column
header > Edit Column Information > Field 3 > Include this column in Grade Centre Calculations: Yes.
3.1 Average column
An Average Column calculates and displays the numeric average for a selected number of Columns. All
columns are weighted equally in the calculation. To create a calculated column, take the following steps:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Create Calculated Column > Average Column.
In the screen that appears next, the settings for the column can be entered:
1. In field 1, select a name, optional description, and display options.
2. In field 3, select the columns to be used in the
calculation:
a. All Grade Columns uses all grade columns
in the calculation.
b. Selected Columns and Categories allows
for the selection of specific columns.
3. If Selected Columns and Categories is chosen, the
following field will appear:
a. Select the columns at the left and move
them to the right using the arrow .
b. Select whether the average should be
calculated as a running total or not. A
running total only includes columns for
which a Grade is entered. Usually, this
option should be set to No.
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Note: It is important to realize what the option Calculate as running total means. The option only
applies when not all assignments have been submitted by the student. For example, when a student
submitted only two papers instead of three, and you graded them with scores 7 and 5, the average
score would be (7+5)/2 = 6 when Calculate as running total is set to Yes, while it would be (7+5+0)/3 =
4 when Calculate as running total is set to No.
Calculate as running total (that is with value Yes) erroneously gives the student an advantage.
4. In field 4, the column options can be set.
a. Include this Column in Grade Centre Calculations makes it possible to include this
Column in calculated Columns.
b. Show this Column makes the column visible or invisible for students.
c. Show Statistics shows the average grade and the median for this column to students.
5. Finally, click Submit to create the column.
3.2 Minimum/Maximum column
A Minimum/Maximum Column displays either the minimum or maximum grade of a selected number of
Columns. This column is useful e.g. when both the grade for the Exam and the Re-sit are entered in
Blackboard, and you want a list displaying the highest grade of the two for each student.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre > Select Create Calculated Column > Minimum/Maximum Column.
In the screen that appears next, the settings for the column can be entered:
1. In field 1, select a name, optional description, and display options.
2. In field 3, select the following options:
a. Calculation type. Should the column display the highest or the lowest grade of the
selected range?
b. The columns to be included. Do you want to use all Columns in the Grade Centre or a
selection of specific columns?
c. Select whether the average should be calculated as a running total or not. A running
total only includes columns for which a Grade is entered (usually not recommended!)
3. In field 4, the column options can be set.
a. Include this Column in Grade Centre Calculations makes it possible to include this
Column in calculated Columns.
b. Show this Column makes the column visible or invisible for students.
c. Show Statistics shows the average grade and the median for this column to students.
4. Finally, click Submit to create the column.
3.3 Total Column
A Total Column displays the total sum of points for a selected number of Columns. This column type is
almost never used as it displays a raw total score and is usually unclear for students to what the amount
of points relates. If you want to prevent students from seeing the Total (point’s) column, you can hide it.
Right click the Total Column header, choose Edit Column Information. Under Options, set Show this
Column to Students to No. If you only want to hide the column for yourself, right click the Total Column
header, and choose Hide Column.
3.4 Weighted column
A Weighted Column calculates and displays the weighted average for a selected number of Columns. Each
selected column can be weighted based upon each column's respective worth of the total grade.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Create Calculated Column > Weighted Column.
In the screen that appears next, the settings for the column can be entered:
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3. In field 1, select a name, optional description, and display options.
4. In field 3, select the columns to be included in the calculation:
a. Select the columns at the left and move them to the right using the arrow .
b. Enter the weight of these columns in the total grade as a percentage that reflects the
weight for each selected Column. The percentages should add up to 100%.
c. Using Categories, it is possible for complex calculations, e.g. to drop certain grades in a
selection of columns. See subsection 3.5.
d. Select whether the grade should be calculated as a running total or not. A running total
only includes columns for which a Grade is entered (usually not recommended!).
5. In field 4, the column options can be set.
a. Include this Column in Grade Centre Calculations makes it possible to include this
Column in calculated Columns.
b. Show this Column makes the column visible or invisible for students
c. Show Statistics shows the average grade and the median for this column to students.
6. Finally, click Submit to create the column.
3.5 Calculating with Weighted columns
Note: Blackboard is an American company, it can be somewhat difficult to have the weighted total
displayed as a value on a grade scale from 1 to 10. To display a Score on 10 point scale, make sure all
columns included in the calculation have a maximum points possible of 10. If you are not sure,
choose “Percentage”. The value will then be displayed as a percentage that can be easily translated to
a score. For instance, 79% is a 7.9.
3.5.1 Selection options: select individual columns
The option Columns to select allows an instructor to select
certain columns that have to be included in the Weighted
column. Select the columns and move them to the right
using the arrow (see example):
• Essay 1: 10%.
• Essay 2: 10%.
• Midterm: 30%.
• Exam: 50% .
The individual weight of each column can be entered in the
box. The Total Weight should always add up to 100%.
3.5.2 Select categories to drop grades in a calculation
Another possibility is to use categories to weigh multiple
columns. In the example, some students failed the exam
and had to take a re-sit. To calculate the final grade using
the highest grade of the exam and the re-sit, a Category can
be used. In the example, the Exam and the re-sit are both
set to the Category “Exam”:
• Essay 1: 10%.
• Essay 2: 10%.
• Midterm: 30%.
• Category Exam: 50%.
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Selection options include to Drop certain grades in the selection of the category or to use only the highest
or lowest value in the category. See chapter 6.5 on how to manage categories. Choosing to weight the
columns Equally means that all columns get normalized, and all make an equal contribution to the
category score. Weighting Proportionally means that columns with a higher points possible value carry
more weight within the category. When all columns have the same points possible value (typically 10),
there is no difference between the options Equally and Proportionally. Use the latter option e.g. for larger
assignments when one of them is significantly longer or more involved than the others.
3.6 Complex calculations and Rounding grades
For complex calculations and roundings, it may be better to use Excel. As Blackboard is an American
system, the Dutch way of grading in decimals on a value scale of 1 to 10 is only possible with a Grading
Schema, which takes a lot of time (see chapter 6.1.1). As a workaround we advise you to download the
Grade Centre to an Excel file (see chapter 7). In Excel, rounding can be done easily with the option
Decrease Decimal
displayed in the Excel menu bar.
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4. Changing column settings and grade visibility for students
4.1 Quickly reviewing column settings
Quick Column information is useful to check whether
column data, like the maximum amount of points or the
assigned category, is correctly assigned:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Quick Column Information.
4.2 Editing column settings
Once created, Grade Centre columns can be edited to
reflect any desired changes:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Edit Column Information.
In the screen that appears, the column information, like Column name, Description, Category, Points
possible, and Options can be edited. See for more information on the column settings chapter 2.
4.3 Hiding and unhiding columns from the Grade Centre
The default Grade Centre offers various columns with student information you may not need, whilst
taking space in the initial Grade Centre view. Those columns (e.g. last access) can be hidden from view:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Hide Column.
Note: Hidden columns are only hidden from the Grade Centre. The column and its grades are still
visible for students! Section 4.5 discusses how to make grades visible and invisible for students.
To unhide a column, take the following steps:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. From the Action Bar menu, select Manage > Column organization.
3. Select the concerned column and choose Show. This is discussed further in chapter 6.
4.4 Deleting Grade Centre Columns
Deleting a Grade Centre column is only possible if the column was manually created. This concerns the
manually created regular columns, and calculated columns. The columns created automatically for
assessments (assignments, collaboration tools, tests, surveys, etc.) can only be deleted by deleting the
entire assessment tool. To delete a column:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Delete Column.
Note: this action is final and cannot be made undone. Columns that are created automatically will not
have the option to select Delete Column.
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4.5 Making Grades invisible for students (important!)
Note: All Grade Centre columns are by default visible for students through the Course Tools section or
the global navigation menu. A grade is visible for students as soon as it is entered. This can be
unpractical, especially when entering grades for assignments that should not be visible until all grades
are entered.
Option 1
Grades will become available for students the moment they
are entered. To make grades (temporarily) invisible for
students, make the column invisible:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Show/Hide to users.
Note that Hide Column only hides the column form the
Grade Centre. It does not make the grades invisible for
students. Columns that are invisible for students can be
recognized by the symbol .
Option 2
For unknown reasons, the Show/Hide to Users option is not always available. Should you encounter a
column that does not offer this option, take the following steps:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Edit Column Information.
4. Scroll down to section 3: Options. Select Show this
Column to Students: No.
5. Click Submit to save the changes.
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5. Manually submitting Grades: Quick Grading
Quick Grading allows instructors to enter grades directly in the Grade Centre overview. It can be done for
columns created by Blackboard (for Assignments) or by columns created manually. It can be very useful to
enter for instance results of exams not made in Blackboard or to quickly grade downloaded Assignments.
To Quick Grade student’s work, take the following steps
1. Open the Grade Centre. Go to Control Panel >
Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre.
2. Click the cell in which you want to enter a grade.
3. Fill in the grade you want to credit the student.
4. When finished, Press Enter (on the keyboard).
Note: As soon as a grade is entered, it will be visible for the concerned student. In case you do not
want the grades to be visible until all grades for a certain assignment are entered, please see section
4.5.
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6. Grade Centre management
6.1 Grade display options and Grading Schemas
Blackboard can by default display Grades as a score, a percentage, complete/incomplete, or a letter.
These options can be changed through the column settings:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header > Select Edit Column Information.
In section 1, the display options can be set:
• Score: displays a numeric score with a maximum of
the entered possible points.
• Text: allows the instructor to enter text.
• Percentage: shows the score as a percentage of the maximum points possible.
• Complete/Incomplete: displays a tick when completed. However, it is not possible to display a
“failed” sign, and even insufficient grades are displayed as completed when a value is entered.
• Letter (this is in fact a pre-set grading schema): ranges from A to F (American grade system).
6.1.1 Grading Schemas
Grading Schemas are used to display a specific grade based
on the output instructors provide instead of the actual
points scored by a student. For example, a student scored
88 out of 100 points for a Test. In a Grading Schema in
which a percentage range of 87 to 89 equals a B+, this score
will be calculated and displayed as a B+.
• Grading Schemas can be used to display a text to
students, for instance “passed” or “failed”.
• Blackboard doesn’t round numerical grades by
default. A Grading schema could be used to round
the grades, with the option to select the rounding
criteria.
6.1.1
6.2
6.4
6.5
6.3
Creating a Grading Schema
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Manage > Grading Schemas.
3. Click Add Grading Schema in the upper left corner
of the screen.
4. Enter a Name and optional Description for the
Grading Schema. The name will also appear in the
drop-down menu for Primary Display and
Secondary Display.
5. Enter the Schema Mapping information. By
default, any new grading schema will have two
ranges of percentiles from 50% to 100% and from
0% (zero) to less than 50%. Rows can be inserted
and the grading percentages altered to personalize the grading schema.
6. Click Submit to create the Grading Schema.
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7. Assign the Grading Schema to a column as explained at the top of this page.
Modifying a Grading Schema
Once created, Grading Schemas can be modified:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Manage > Grading Schemas.
3. Click the arrow behind the concerned grading schema > Edit.
4. Make the desired changes > Click Submit to save.
Once submitted, all columns using the Grading Schema are updated to reflect the changes.
Removing a Grading Schema
Instructors may remove the default Grading Schema (Letter) only if they have made modifications to it.
Self-created Grading Schemas can be deleted as long as the schemas are not in use.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Manage > Grading Schemas.
3. Click the arrow behind the concerned grading schema > Delete.
a. This option is not visible when the Grading Schema is applied to a column. If this is the case,
first select a different display option for any concerned Grade Centre Column).
4. Click OK to confirm. Note that removing a Grading Schema is final and cannot be undone.
6.2 Grading colour codes
Grading Colour Codes apply background and text colour to items in the Grade Centre that meet specified
criteria and can be used in two ways:
• As a to-do list for the instructor by highlighting the Grading status (e.g. Needs Marking) to quickly
highlight all assignments that still need to be graded.
• To highlight specific grades, for instance all insufficient ones by setting Grade ranges
Note: Colour Grade Codes will only appear in the Grade Center. When exporting the Grade Centre
(see chapter 7), Grading Colour Codes will not be visible in the downloaded excel-file.
These options can be used at the same time. Colour Codes are assigned to the entire Grade Centre, it is
not possible to select specific columns to apply the Colour codes to.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Manage > Grading Colour Codes.
In the form that appears next, the settings can be changed:
1. In field 1, check whether the Colour Codes should
be enabled.
2. In field 2, the options can be set:
a. Set whether a colour code should be
assigned to the Grading Status (e.g. Needs
Grading). This colour code will only be
visible if no Grade is entered.
b. Set whether a colour code should be
assigned to specific Mark Ranges by
clicking Add Criteria.
3. Click Submit to apply the Colour Code.
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To disable the Colour Code, navigate back to Manage > Grading Colour Code and remove the tick from
option 1 of the form displayed at the right.
6.3 Hide students and Amount of students displayed
Students can be hidden from the Grade Centre, for instance
when they dropped the course. Hidden Rows are not
removed from the Grade Centre, and can be shown at any
time. Students that are hidden from view can still however
see their Grades if any were already entered.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the student name.
3. Select Hide Row.
To manage the Row Visibility, take the following steps:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Manage > Row Visibility.
3. A full overview of all students will be listed. To make changes, check the box in front of the
student and select Hide Rows or Show Rows.
4. Click Submit to save the changes.
Rows that are hidden will appear greyed out on the Hide and Show Rows page and will not appear in the
Grade Centre View. Rows that are shown will appear in black text on the Hide and Show Rows page and
will appear in the Grade Centre View.
By default, ten rows with students are displayed. It is possible to alter this amount:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click Edit Rows Displayed in the lower right corner of the Grade Centre.
3. Enter the number of Students that should be displayed before scrolling is necessary.
4. Click Go.
6.4 Smart views
Smart Views are focused views of the Grade Centre. Any number of Smart Views can be created based on
a variety of criteria, including Grading Periods, Categories, and Performance. They are most often used to
display a selection of students (e.g. of a certain group) or a selection of assignments. Especially in large
courses with many instructors, using smart views can accelerate loading time of the Grade Centre.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Select Manage > Smart Views. A list of existing smart views will be displayed.
3. Click Create Smart View in the upper left corner of the screen.
Smart views can be based on various criteria:
• Course Group: sub-sections of Students enrolled in Groups (have to be created separately).
• Performance: student performance (e.g. a grade) on a single item, such as a mid-term exam.
• User: select individual students.
• Category and Status: based on category (e.g. Assignment) or users and grade Status.
• Custom: A query for selecting Students using a combination of attributes.
Note: Smart views are complex tools with many options. We recommend contacting the Helpdesk for
assistance if you wish to use this tool.
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6.5 Column management (order, hide/unhide, categories)
Column Organisation can be used to alter the order of the columns in the Grade Centre, and to hide and
unhide Grade Centre columns.
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre (Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre)
2. Select Manage > Column Organisation.
The following actions can be taken.
•
•
•
•
To change the order of columns grab the move icon ( ) and use drag and drop to place the
column.
To hide or show columns check the box in front of the column name and choose Show/Hide.
To change the category of selected columns, click Change Category to….
When done, choose Submit.
After submitting, changes will take effect immediately in calculations etc.
Note: Most instructors (and administrations) prefer to refer to their students by their student ID ‘s
instead of their usernames (s + student ID). Both columns exist in the Grade Centre, but you can
choose to include/exclude them according to your preferences.
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7. Downloading the Grade Centre to Excel
Downloading the Grade Centre to Excel is useful in numerous cases:
 To perform complicated calculations, round grades, etc.
 To keep a backup copy of the grades outside Blackboard.
 To send the grades to the administration to be entered in uSis.
Note: the student information system uSis is the only official system used to register study progress
and results. Blackboard is useful to list grades for midterms, essays, collaboration assignments etc. and
to calculate the weighted average, but the final grade has to be registered in uSis in order to be official.
Point out to students that they are not entitled to rights under the grades in the Grade Center. For
workflow, safety and other reasons, it is advised to download the Grade Center to keep a backup
outside Blackboard.
Note: If you are using Smart Views in your course (these are usually used when working with Groups),
you can set the Grade Centre to a Smart View before taking the following steps. This way, only the
grades of the students in the specific Smart View will be exported.
Note: Exporting grades with decimals can only be done when both the Course and your computer have
the same Region and Language settings (we recommend English UK, the official language of Leiden
University). If not, conversion problems will occur, since in Dutch the decimal separator is a comma,
while it is a dot in English.
Blackboard: Control Panel > Customisation > Properties > Select Language Pack: English (United
Kingdom). All your courses at once: Global Navigation Menu > Settings > Personal Settings > Personal
Information > Change Personal Settings.
Windows: Control Panel > Region and Language > Formats > Format: English (United Kingdom).
Note: When you change your computer’s language setting to British English, dates are displayed in the
format DD/MM/YYYY, so in the same order as in Dutch, but with a different separator.
To download (a selection of) the Grade Centre, take the
following steps:
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre > Click Work Offline
(upper right corner of the Grade Centre).
2. Choose Download.
In the screen that appears next, the following selections can
be made:
3. In section 1, select the data to download:
a. Full grade Centre: Contains all columns and
associated data. Comments will not be
included and cannot be added offline
b. Selected Column: Contains the data from
one select column. Check the box to include
comments.
c. User Information Only: Contains columns
with user data such as First Name, Last
Name, and User Name.
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4. In section 2, the options can be set:
a. Choose for Tab-delimited to save the file as an .XLS file that can be opened in Excel
directly (this option is preferred).
b. Choose for comma-delimited (.CSV) to import the Grade Centre into a third-party
application that does not support Excel.
c. Select whether to Include Hidden
Information in the downloaded data.
Hidden information includes columns and
students that have been hidden from the
view.
5. Click Submit. Blackboard will create the file and
redirect you to a new screen.
6. Choose Download to save the file on your local
drive.
Note: if you used colour coding (see 6.2) these will not be used in the downloaded Excel file.
8. Availability of grades for students
8.1 Linking to My Grades
Grades are by default visible for students, but accessing
them is not always easy. The best option is to create a menu
button in your course which enables students to access the
My Grades Section. Here, students can only view their own
grades. To create this menu button:
1. In the menu, click the button
and choose Tool
Link.
2. Fill in the form:
a. Enter a Name.
b. Select My Grades as Type.
c. Check the box Available to Users.
3. Click Submit. The new menu button will now appear in the course menu.
Note: only students can see their grades through the created menu buttons. Instructors will see a
notification stating that course users with this (instructor) role do not have personal Grades.
Alternatively, students can access their grades through the
Course Tools button in the Course menu or through the
Tools section on the My Institutions page. Grades can also
be accessed through the Global Navigation Menu as follows
(see image).
1. Click the arrow behind your name in the upper
right corner of the screen. The Global Navigation
Menu will be displayed as a dropdown menu.
2. Select the My Grades icon
in the left bar.
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However, the layout of these sections is not always very clear. Creating a menu button in your course is
therefore recommended.
8.2 Making grades invisible for students
Grades will become available for students the moment they are entered in the Grade Centre. To make
grades (temporarily) invisible for students, see section 4.5.
9. Concluding remarks: common pitfalls and problems
1. Hiding Column Does Not Hide Grades from Students
Selecting Hide Column from the contextual menu only makes the grade column invisible to those who can
edit the Grade Centre, not to the students. If you wish to make a grade column unavailable to students in
the My Grades tool, take the following steps (see also section 4.5):
1. Navigate to the Grade Centre.
2. Click the arrow behind the column header.
3. Select Edit Column Information.
4. In section 3. Select Show this Column to Students: No.
5. Click Submit.
2. Entering a Grade immediately makes it visible for students
If a Grade is entered, it will immediately become visible for students. If you do not want the grades to be
visible until all students are graded, temporarily make the column invisible. See pitfall 1 and section 4.5.
3. Hiding a Student Does Not Make the My Grades Unavailable to That Student
Selecting Hide User from the contextual menu next to a student's name only makes the user invisible in
the Grade Centre. My Grades cannot be made unavailable on a user-by-user basis, only course-wide. The
user can be removed from the course or disabled. Please see the section user management in our Basic
Instructor Manual on our website.
4. My Grades (Student View of Grades) Is Available By Default
If you do not wish your students to be able to view any grades you enter in the Grade Centre, you must
make the My Grades tool unavailable for the course site. To do so:
1. Navigate to Course Menu > Customisation > Tool Availability.
2. Scroll through the list down to “My Grades” and uncheck the box behind it.
3. Click Submit to save changes. All Grades will be invisible for students.
5. A Calculated Column does not display the right score
Check the column settings of all columns used to calculate the weighted grade. Usually, the points
possible are not set correctly for one of the columns. See chapter 4.1 and 4.2 or contact the Blackboard
helpdesk.
6. Complete/Incomplete Grade display option can only display a complete sign
The Complete/Incomplete Grade Display option displays a tick
when an assignment is completed.
However, it appears not to be possible to display a “failed” sign, and even insufficient grades are
displayed as completed when a value is entered. It is possible to create a Grading Schema with a cross for
insufficient grades. For more information, please contact the helpdesk.
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7. Work by students becomes unavailable if their accounts become disabled
If a student account becomes disabled (for instance a guest account that expires) all of their grades,
papers and other handed-in work will become unavailable to anyone (including the teacher). It is
generally not possible to retrieve these details later on.
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