As we approach the sunset of Blackboard at Xavier, I'm posting this final Blackboard tip.
Download your gradebook
Access to Blackboard courses will be removed December 31st. You will not have access to your courses and your gradebook records after December 31st. You should download your gradebook to your local computer after you submit your final grades.
The Grade Center is more than just a way to record students' grades. It's a dynamic and interactive tool, allowing instructors to record data, calculate grades, and monitor student progress. In addition to being able to record grades, instructors can track student work and share private comments and feedback with students throughout the semester.
The Grade Center is integrated with gradable items such as tests, assignments, discussion boards, blogs, journals, wikis, and ungraded items, such as surveys and self-assessments. Instructors can create Grade Center columns for activities and/or requirements done outside of Blackboard, such as exams given on paper, oral presentations, and participation.
Students also benefit when their instructor uses the Grade Center. Students have the opportunity to adjust their approach to learning to improve their performance when they see their grades and instructor feedback.
Follow these steps to do it.
Listed below are links to previous Bb tips on using the Grade Center:
One feature missing from Blackboard is the ability to get a word count for discussion board threads, blogs, wikis, and journals. Currently, most professors get a word count by copying text from Blackboard, pasting it into Microsoft Word and then getting a word count inside MS Word. The "Word Count" Add-on for the Firefox web browser skips this whole process and gives you the ability to get a word count for discussion board threads, blogs, wikis, and journals while on the respective page in Blackboard.
When on the Blackboard page (i.e., discussion boards, blogs, wikis, or journals), you will see a button labeled ‘Word Count’ at the top and bottom of the page. Highlight the text you would like to count and click the Word Count button. A count of the number of highlighted words will be displayed in the box next to the Word Count button.
Course delivery is vulnerable to unplanned events. Potential interruptions to class activities include but are not limited to natural disasters, widespread illness, acts of violence, planned or unexpected construction-related closures, severe weather conditions, and medical emergencies.
Here are a few things you can do in Blackboard to help you prepare should the need arise.
Additionally, you should consider developing an instructional continuity plan to help you to be ready to continue teaching with minimal interruption. More information about instructional continuity plans can be found on our Instructional Continuity web page. There you will find planning guides, resources, and a link to our September 2015 Instructional Continuity workshop presentation.
Note: For mobile grading functionality, instructors should use the Bb Grader iPad app.
The Bb Student app was renamed and is now the Blackboard app. The Blackboard app is used by students and is designed especially for students to view content and participate in courses. The Blackboard app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.
As you prepare for the start of the semester, it is a good time to get started setting up your Blackboard courses. Blackboard courses are automatically created using the course information in Banner a few weeks before the start of the semester. You can post your syllabus, course documents, and announcements to your Blackboard courses. You can also customize your course menu and/or add a course banner.
If you teach a course that is cross listed you will have a Blackboard course for each cross listing. You can combine the cross listed courses into one Blackboard course so that you can post course materials and grades to one combined Blackboard course. Combining courses may also work for you if you are teaching different sections of the same course and would like to have the different sections combined into one Blackboard course so that you can post course documents and grades in the one combined course. The beginning of the semester is the best time to combine your Blackboard courses before you add course material or grades to the courses.
NOTE: Currently, the section merge tool is no longer available. A system administrator will have to merge your courses. Send an email to Yamlak Tsega (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to merge courses. You should include the course ID (including CRN) for all the courses you want merged together. The course merge process requires that a brand new empty Blackboard course be created that will serve as the primary course for all the merged sections. If you have any course content that needs to be retained in one of the courses to be merged, it will have to be exported and then imported into the newly created combined course. Please include that information with your request to merge courses.
As we approach the end of the semester there are a few things you can do in Blackboard to wrap up for the semester.
Download your gradebook
Student access to courses is removed two weeks after the end of a semester. During this process all grade book records are deleted. You should download your gradebook to your local computer after you submit your final grades.
Create a master copy of your course
Courses remain on the Blackboard system for three semesters before they are removed. You can request a Master Course Shell that you can use to develop and maintain your course materials. Master Course Shells will not be removed from the Blackboard system.
Hide old courses from view
When you login to Blackboard you will see your courses for previous semesters listed along with the courses you are currently teaching on the Xavier University and Courses tabs. If you do not want to see older courses in the list, you can hide them from view.
Instructors can setup the Grade Center to calculate extra credit points. Adding an extra credit column to the Grade Center works well if you use total points to calculate grades. The information to add an extra credit column in this Blackboard tip will NOT work if you weight grades.
Follow these steps to do it.
To create an extra credit column:
In the Control Panel, click on [Grade Center] and then select [Full Grade Center].
Click on [Create Column].
On the Create Grade Column page, enter a name for the column (e.g., Extra Credit).
Select [Score] from the Primary Display menu.
Enter 0 for Points Possible.
Select the [Yes] radio button for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations.
NOTE: The method described above does not work with weighted grades because weighted grades are based on a 100% total. Generally, if extra credit is available in class with a weighted grade total, the extra credit must be manually calculated.
Are there times when you would like your students to sign-up for an activity where there are a limited number of places (e.g., student presentations on a specific class day, study groups, service learning project, office hours, etc.)? Blackboard has a sign-up sheet feature in the Group tool that can help you organize sign-ups for one-off events. With the self-enrollment option in the Group tool, students can add themselves to a group using a sign-up sheet.
The sign-up sheet functions like an electronic version of a paper sign-up sheet. You can make sign-up sheets available to students on the Groups listing page or by adding a link to a content area.
One of the challenges of team-teaching is the grading. Grading is always a problem, as far as many of us are concerned, but it creates unique issues when more than one faculty member is teaching the class. When you look at the literature about better practices for team-teaching, always included is the very strong advice that grading practices and grading responsibilities be clearly agreed upon and established early on — before the class ever meets. Blackboard has made this challenge more manageable with their new Delegated Grading option. ...continue reading "Team-teaching Means Team-grading"