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A weighted grade column is a calculated column that displays the calculated result of component parts (columns and/or categories); each part is worth some percentage of the total. You can create a weighted grade based on any column and/or category in the Grade Center. For example, you can create a weighted grade column that calculates the final grade for the course. Categories such as Test, Discussion, and Assignment would be given a certain percentage of the final grade along with the percentage for other grade columns (e.g. Mid-term, Final Exam).

Follow these steps to do it.
You can add a weighted grade column by getting into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to add the weighted grade. Click on the [Grade Center] link (located under Assessments). Move the mouse over the [Add Calculated Column] button and select [Weighted] from the drop down menu. Enter a name that describes what the weighted grade column is in the Name field. Grade Center display name and description are optional. Select how you would like the results of the weighted grade to be shown by clicking on the pull down arrow and selecting primary display from the list. Secondary display is optional and will only be shown in the Grade Center. In the select columns section, choose which grade columns and/or categories will be used in the calculation of the weighted grade by clicking on the grade column or category and then clicking on the respective arrow to move the column/category over to the selected columns area. Enter the weight percentage to be applied to each column/category you selected. The total weight must equal 100%. When selecting a category you can choose to weigh columns equally or proportionally and whether to drop grades in the category or to use the highest or lowest grade in the category. Choose whether to calculate the weighted grade as a running total which would include only the columns that have been graded in the calculation. In the options section you should indicate whether you want to include this weighted grade column in grade center calculations, show the weighted grade column in My Grades, and show statistics for the weighted grade column in My Grades. My Grades is what is shown to your students when they go into your course. Click Submit when you are finished entering all your information and selecting the options. The weighted grade column will be added as the last column in the Grade Center.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

You can setup the Grade Center to calculate points for extra credit. Calculating extra credit is different in Blackboard version 8 than it was in earlier versions of Blackboard.

Follow these steps to do it.
To include extra credit points get into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to add the extra credit. Click on the [Grade Center] link (located under Assessments). Create an grade column for the extra credit and enter 0 (zero) in the points possible field. Refer to Tip #18 for information on creating a grade column. Next, find the Total Points column (or the column being used to display the total points) and click on the arrows in the column heading and select [Modify Column]. Under the Select Columns: Include in Total section, choose the [Selected Grade Columns, Calculated Columns and Categories] option. A new section for selecting columns and/or categories will be revealed. Existing grade column names will appear in the Columns to Select box on the left side of the screen. Select each column, making sure to include the extra credit column(s), but be careful not to include the Total Column within your selections. To highlight multiple columns at once, hold the CTRL key while clicking on the column names. Mac users can hold the Command key while clicking on the column names. After all columns are selected, click the arrow to move the columns to the selected columns area and click Submit when done. Extra credit points will now be reflected in the updated total column.

NOTE: If you add columns to the Grade Center later, you should update the column selections because they will not automatically be included in the total points calculations. Also, this suggestion for handling extra credit will not work if you are using weighted grades. If you must use weighted grades, you should download a copy of the Grade Center and calculate the students grades with the extra credit outside of the Grade Center.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

You can create a grading schema to match your grading scale. A grading schema is a set of rules based on percentage ranges that match scores to specific grade displays. For example, a student’s raw numeric score on a quiz that has 100 possible points is an 87. In a grading schema in which a percentage of 80 to 89 equals a B, a score of 87 would result in a B. If this grading schema is chosen as the display for the quiz, a B will display in My Grades for the student as well as in the Grade Center.

A grading schema could be used to calculate the final course grade. For example, if the total possible points for the final course grade is 600 points and 93% - 100% = A, 85% - 92% = B, 77% - 84% = C, 65 % - 76% = D, and below 65% = F, you could create a grading schema to reflect this grading scale.

A copy of the default grading schema is included in all courses when they are created. You can modify the default grading schema and/or create additional grading schemas to reflect the multiple ways in which you may need to grade throughout your courses.

Follow these steps to do it.
You create a grading schema by getting into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to create the grading schema. Click on the [Grade Center] link (located under Assessments). Click [Manage] on the Grade Center toolbar and then select [Grading Schemas] from the drop down menu. On the Grading Schemas page click the [Add Grading Schema] button. Enter a name for the Grading Schema. A description is optional. Enter the information for your grading scale in the schema mapping section. For example, if your grading scale is the same as the example above, on the first row you would enter 93 in the grades scored between field and enter an A in the will equal field. You have to enter a number for the percentage that grades manually entered will calculate as. For example, if you want a grade of A that you manually enter into a cell to be calculated as 97% of the total for that grade center item, then enter 97 in the will calculate as field. Click on the insert rows arrow to insert another row in the grading schema and enter the information for the remaining rows in your grading schema. Click [Submit] when you are done.

Note: The percentage range given for each grade value must begin with the lesser value listed first. The values must also overlap. Ranges must be set up in this way to avoid gaps that could occur when a score falls in between numbers in the range. The top range includes 100%.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Last week I offered a workshop titled "Social Bookmarking: Using Delicious." I recorded the audio live, so for those who couldn't make it, here's a slidecast of the entire 55 minute presentation.
...continue reading "Social Bookmarking Presentation"

The Digital Drop Box provides a shared area where students and instructors can store and exchange files. The Assignment feature integrates with the Grade Center and organizes assignments so they are easier to access and grade than those that are submitted via email or the Digital Drop Box.

Faculty should consider using the Digital Drop Box when file exchange is needed between the instructor and one student, a select group of students, or when a project will not be graded. On the other hand, an Assignment may be more effective when a grade will be assigned to student work and the graded project/assignment requires submission of a document.

These scenarios [PDF] present several different examples of how the Digital Drop Box and Assignments may be used separately or together to collect student work.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available for using the
Digital Drop Box [PDF], creating Assignments [PDF],
and viewing/grading Assignments [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

You can enter grades directly into cells in the Grade Center (Bb Tip # 19). However, when grading assignment submissions, it is best to use Grade Details to grade assignment submissions. Entering assignment grades directly into the cells will cause the student’s view of the assignment in My Grades to display as needs grading. Additionally, entering grades for assignment submissions directly in the cells rather than going through grade details will lead to incorrect calculations in the assignment’s column statistics.

Follow these steps to do it.
From the [Control Panel] select [Grade Center] which is located under Assessments. Inside the Grade Center, find the assignment column for the assignment submissions you want to view/grade. Move your mouse to the right side of the cell of the assignment you want to view/grade. Point to the down arrow and select [Grade Details] from the drop-down menu. Next, click on the [View Attempt] button in the Grade Details screen. Section 2 of the Grade Assignments screen shows the student’s comments as well as any files the student attached. Click on the hyperlink to view the file the student attached. In section 3, enter the student’s grade, your comments, and attach any files you want to send to the student. In Instructor Notes (section 4), enter your notes and attach files that will only be seen by you.

It is possible to download assignment submissions to view offline. To download assignments, move your mouse to the down arrow on the right side of the column heading for the assignment and select [Assignment File Download] from the drop-down menu. Select the assignments to be downloaded and click [Submit]. A zip file with the assignments is created. Click on the link for this zip (packaged) file and save the file on your computer. Navigate to where you saved the zip file and open the file to view the assignments.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Using the Assignment feature is an effective way to collect student assignments electronically rather than in paper form. It streamlines the submission and grading of student files. Instructors can create coursework and then manage the grades and feedback for each student separately. After an assignment is created, students can access the assignment, complete it in a separate file, and send it back to the Instructor. The Instructor responds to each student separately, grading their assignment, providing comments on their individual assignment and attaching files, if necessary.

Note: The assignment has to be created in a content area. By default, courses are created with an “Assignment” content area. If you want to create your course assignments in a content area that does not exist, you will have to create it by modifying the course menu. Refer to Bb Tip #7 for instructions on “Customizing the Course Menu”.

Follow these steps to do it.
Assuming the content area you want to place your assignment in is shown, you should click on the link for that content area in the [Control Panel]. Next select [Assignment] from the drop down menu located on the right side of the toolbar and then click the [Go] button. Enter a name for your assignment in the Name field, choose a color for the name, enter the points possible, due date, and instructions for the assignment. Files that you want to be available for the assignment should be attached in the Assignment Files section. Click the [Browse] button to locate the file on your computer. In the “Name of Link to File” box, enter the name that students will have to click on to access the attached file. Under Options choose the appropriate options for content availability, tracking views and any date/time restrictions. Click the [Submit] button when you are done. A column for this assignment will automatically be added to the Grade Center.

Students access the assignment by clicking on the [View/Complete Assignment] link below the assignment name and instructions. Students can then attach their files and click [Submit] to complete the assignment. The completed assignment submissions are then accessed by the Instructor through the Grade Center.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions for creating assignments are available [PDF].
Instructions on how students submit assignments are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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Download Conversation #11

Regina Barreca

A conversation with Dr. Regina Barreca of University of Connecticut on teaching, learning, and humor.

You can't use humor to be liked. You have to use it to make a point. Especially for women, too often our sense of self-esteem or even, in a professional setting, our sense of accomplishment comes from, you know, do they like me? And it can't work that way. Teaching certainly can't function that way. It has to be: did I make this point effectively? Did they get it? And that's very different than being liked.

Links for this episode:

1

You can enter grades quickly by using the ‘Enter’ key after inputting the student's grade in the cell.

Follow these steps to do it.
Click in a cell to add the student’s score and then press the Enter key. The grade will be saved in the cell and the cursor will move to the next row. If the ‘Enter’ key is NOT pressed, and you attempt to exit the cell or the Grade Center, a dialog box will appear asking if you want to save the grade entry.

Note: Scores from items in the course (such as online tests, exams, and surveys) are automatically entered into the Grade Center. Other grades have to be manually entered into the Grade Center. Refer to Bb Tip #18 for instructions on creating grade columns manually.

Want more information?
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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You can use the Grade Center to post your students grades online. Posting your students grades online will eliminate the phone calls, emails, and office visits from students trying to find out what their grades are. Columns are automatically created in the Grade Center for things like online exams, surveys, assignments, and graded discussion forums and threads. Columns for items such as oral reports, class presentations, participation, assignments and assessments done outside of Blackboard, etc are not automatically created in the Grade Center. You have to create these columns manually.

Follow these steps to do it.
You can add grade columns by getting into the [Control Panel] of the course in which you want to add the grade column. Click on the [Grade Center] link (located under Assessments) and then click the [Add Grade Column] button. Enter a name that describes what the grade column is in the Name field. Grade Center display name and description are optional. Select how you would like the score to be shown by clicking on the pull down arrow and selecting primary display from the list. Secondary display is optional and will only be shown in the Grade Center. You can optionally choose a category from the pull down list. Enter the total possible points for the grade column. You have the option of entering a due date. In the options section you should indicate whether you want to include the column in grade center calculations, show the grade in My Grades, and show statistics for the column in My Grades. My Grades is what is shown to your students when they go into your course. Click Submit when you are finished entering all your information and selecting the options. The grade column will be added as the last column in the Grade Center.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418