Information Technology

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1 Information Technology Documentation Assumption College May 2008 Blackboard 8.0 Grade Center In the upgrade to version 8.0 the Blackboard Gradebook has been totally revised and has been renamed the Grade Center. Blackboard has finally reduced the number of mouse clicks needed to add grades. You can now add grades and comments directly from the spreadsheet view rather than opening up the item. In addition, you can: Reorder the items in your Grade Center and hide columns. Create Smart Views, views in which a subset of students are listed based on specified criteria, or all students are listed with only a subset of columns displayed. students directly from the gradebook. Generate grade reports for each student. Track grade changes using the grade history. Exempt grades from Grade Center calculations exclude a low score. Icon Legend Action Bar Grade Information Figure 1: Blackboard Grade Center. Blackboard Grade Center Page 1 of 11

2 The new Grade Center Spreadsheet The spreadsheet in the center of the Grade Center page is where grades are entered and calculated. Each student in the class has a unique row and every Grade Center item has its own column. Some columns are Calculated Grade Columns. Each column can be hidden using the Contextual Menu in the column header; only the Last Name column cannot be hidden. The column of checkboxes that begins each row can be used to select specific students to send s. Other Grade Center spreadsheet features: Icon Legend: Convenient definitions of the icons used in the Grade Center Grade Information Bar: Displays cell-specific information outside of the table, including Grade Type, Points Possible and Grade Format Action Bar: Provides tools to add columns to the grade book, send s to students, create grade reports on students, change views, sort columns, view the grading history, and manage the Grade Center. Adding a Column Grade Columns represent gradable items such as tests and papers. You can manually create Columns in the Grade Center or automatically generate them from outside of Grade Center. (Tests, Assignments, graded Discussion Forums are examples of columns generated outside of the Grade Center). The Column Name is limited to 15 characters. The process for adding a column to the Grade Center is similar to that in the old Gradebook: 1. Click the Add Grade Column button on the Action Bar. 2. Enter a Column Name, Primary Display Format, and Points Possible. 3. Enter a Due Date, if applicable. 4. Select additional options as appropriate for the item. a. Include item in Grade Center calculations. b. Show the column to students through My Grades. c. Show statistics for this column to students in My Grades. 5. Click Submit. Adding a Calculated Column This feature is new to the Grade Center. Now you can create a column that is a composite of several graded items. For example, you can calculate a project score based on grades for components of that project. The process for adding a calculated column to the Grade Center is similar to adding a column: 1. Click the Add Calculated Grade Column button on the Action Bar. 2. Select the type of calculated column from the dropdown menu. Blackboard Grade Center Page 2 of 11

3 3. Enter a column name, and select the primary display format. 4. Select the columns to include in the calculation (figure 2). 5. Select additional options as appropriate for the item. a. Include item in Grade Center calculations. b. Show the column to students through My Grades. c. Show statistics for this column to students in My Grades. 6. Click Submit. Figure 2: Selecting columns for a calculated column in the Grade Center. Column Options Each column has a dropdown menu associated with it called the Action Link. Clicking on the Action Link displays the dropdown menu (figure 3) for you to select the appropriate action: Display Column Information Modify Column Hide the Column from the current view Display Column statistics Set Grade as External Grade (displays in My Report Card Module) Remove Column Blackboard Grade Center Page 3 of 11

4 Action Link Figure 3: Column Options displayed after clicking Action Link. Smart Views Smart Views are specific views of the Grade Center based on a variety of criteria. Once created and saved, Smart Views become an item on the Current View drop-down menu of the Grade Center page. Users can toggle back and forth between the Full Grade Center view, Smart Views, and Grading Periods. Any Smart View can be saved as the default view of the Grade Center. Creating a new Smart View Click on the Manage button on the Action Bar to expose the dropdown menu choices, then: 1. Click on Smart Views 2. Click on the Add Smart View Button on the Smart Views Action Bar 3. Enter a name for the Smart View and a description, if desired. 4. Select the criteria to build the view. 5. Click submit For example, to show selected columns for all users select Focus as the type of view: 1. Select the All Users option for criteria. 2. Choose Selected Columns only under Filter Results. 3. Select columns by control clicking the column names. 4. Click Submit to build the view. For example, to show all the students in a section create a column named section that is not included in the Grade Center calculations and enter section numbers. 1. Select benchmark as the type of view. 2. Select Section as the user criteria. 3. Select Equal to as the condition for the criteria. 4. Enter section number in the Value for the criteria. 5. Select columns to display under filter results. 6. Click Submit to build the view. Blackboard Grade Center Page 4 of 11

5 Grade Center Statistics Unlike the old Gradebook feature, Grade Center does not display item statistics to students automatically. Instructors have the option when creating a new item whether to have the statistics display or not. Assignments Several versions back Blackboard introduced the option to create Assignments that are linked to the grade book but are not quizzes or tests. Instructors can create an assignment, collect the work, provide feedback, and grade the final work. All parts of the assignment are associated with the student's identity in the Grade Center. Assignments can be placed in their own content section or they can be placed in any content section. The assignment option supports students submitting work by filling in a text entry field and/or by attaching files. Creating Assignments 1. Select the content area in which you want your assignment to appear by clicking on the appropriate link in the control panel. 2. Click on the dropdown menu on the right side of the page and select Assignment (Figure 4). 3. Figure 4: Item selection bar in the Content page. 4. Click on the Go button next to the dropdown menu. 5. The Add Assignment page appears and you can add information just as you do in other content items, except, Assignments have point values associated with them in the Content Information section (Figure 5). Figure 5: Content Information section of Add Assignment page. Blackboard Grade Center Page 5 of 11

6 6. Enter a name for the assignment, the maximum points possible, and instructions for the assignment. 7. Select the availability options in the Availability option section (this is just like the availability options for other content items and tests/quizzes). 8. Click on the submit button at the bottom of the page to create the assignment. Modifying Assignments Assignments can be modified either through the content area in which they are placed or through the gradebook. 1. In the content area, click on the modify button beside the link to the assignment. This opens the Modify Assignment page that is identical to the Add Assignment page. 2. Make the required changes. 3. Click submit to apply the changes. Assignments modified in the Grade Center are modified the same way other columns are modified, by clicking on the action link and choosing modify column. Grading Assignments Assignments are graded through the Grade Center, spreadsheet view. From the spreadsheet you can view the grade for an assignment and see the student comments, instructor feedback to the student, and private instructor notes related to the student and the assignment. 1. Click on the Grade Center link in the Assessments section of the control panel. 2. Click on the action link in the cell for a specific student. 3. The Grade Details page opens for that assignment (Figure 6). This page provides for viewing of the assignment and entering the grade. Blackboard Grade Center Page 6 of 11

7 Figure 6: View Grades page for sample assignment. 4. Click on the view attempt button to open the Grade Assignment page (Figure 7) to view files attached by the student and enter feedback to the student or notes. Figure 7: Grade Assignment page. 5. In the instructor's comments and instructor's notes sections add comments and notes. (Comments are seen by the student, notes are only visible to the instructor). Blackboard Grade Center Page 7 of 11

8 Batch downloading assignment files If you require that your students submit assignments as attachments then you can batch download the files. This procedure creates a compressed file (zip file) that you download to your local machine and unzip to view the individual files. 1. Click on the action link in the column header in the Grade Center and select Download Assignment. 2. The Download Assignment page will appear (Figure 8). Click on the check boxes in the left column or click on the check all or Check Ungraded links at the top of the page to select some files, all files, or only those not yet graded. Figure 8: Download Assignment page. 3. Click submit to create the compressed export file. 4. On the resulting confirmation page (Figure 9) click on the "download assignments now" link to download the zip file to your local machine. Figure 9: Download Assignment page. Blackboard Grade Center Page 8 of 11

9 5. To access the individual files you will need to use an unzipping utility such as WinZip on Windows machines or Stuffit Expander on Macintosh. Downloading the Grade Center At the end of the semester you may want to save a copy of your Blackboard Grade Center for your own records. Blackboard has a utility to create a copy of the Grade Center in coma or tab delimited format that can be opened in Excel. In addition, you can export your Grade Center, add additional grades and import the new grades into Blackboard. This process is similar to downloading the Gradebook in earlier versions of Blackboard except that you have additional options. Now you have a choice of downloading the entire Grade Center, a selected column, or only the student information. 1. Click on the Manage Grade Center action link and select Download. 2. The Download Grades page will appear (figure 10). 3. Select the data you want to download and the delimiter type desired. You can choose to download hidden information or not as well at this step. Figure 10: Download Grades page. 4. Click Submit to generate the file to download. 5. Click on the download button to save the file to your local computer. Uploading Grades After adding data to your downloaded Grade Center file, you can upload any new grades to the Grade Center. Save the Excel file as an.xls file (not a.xlsx file). Blackboard Grade Center Page 9 of 11

10 1. Click on the Manage Grade Center action link and select Upload. 2. Click the Browse button to select your file to upload (figure 11). Figure 11: Upload Grades page. 3. Click Submit button to begin the upload process. 4. Select the Columns to upload on the Upload Confirmation page (figure 12). Figure 12: Upload Confirmation page. 5. Click submit to create the new columns and upload the grades. 6. You will next need to modify the column to indicate the correct points possible for the item and to select Grade Center calculation options. Creating a custom page to put grades in context There are times that you want students to have a context in which to view their grades. For example, if you have not entered all grades to date or if you need to comment on the range of grades. You can control the context in which the students view grades by creating a content area and then an item with the information you want the students to see before viewing grades with a course link to the Center. Blackboard Grade Center Page 10 of 11

11 Sorting students by section in the Center If you use a single Blackboard course site for multiple sections you can create a Grade Center item to filter the students in conjunction with a Smart View. To show all the students in a single section create a column named section that is not included in the Grade Center calculations and enter section numbers. Next, create a SmartView. 1. Select benchmark as the type of view. 2. Select Section as the user criteria. 3. Select Equal to as the condition for the criteria. 4. Enter section number in the Value for the criteria. 5. Select columns to display under filter results. 6. Click Submit to build the view. 7. Repeat for additional sections. Select the appropriate view to enter grades by section. Blackboard Grade Center Page 11 of 11

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