Using the Grading Schema Tool in Blackboard

In the joint college meeting last Thursday, there was a lengthy discussion of some of the implementation questions surrounding Grand View’s new plus-minus grading system that will go into effect this Fall. During the discussion, a couple folks had questions about how Blackboard’s gradebook could be tweaked to reflect the new plus-minus scales that we implement in our classes. As promised, here is a quick overview of how you can use the “Grading Schema” feature of Blackboard’s gradebook to create a custom scale for students to see the letter grade equivalents for their percentages that you enter in the gradebook columns. Continue reading “Using the Grading Schema Tool in Blackboard”

Seven Principles, part three-ish: Timely and Effective Feedback

This week, we’re using a bit of editorial discretion to shuffle Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles around a bit and look at the question of feedback. Chickering and Gamson declare that “prompt feedback” to students is one of the seven good practices of undergraduate education. Of course, there is an entire spectrum of methods we can use to give students feedback about their work–some of it informal, some of it formal. It’s often the formal part of that feedback that trips us up, though. The piles of papers to grade and journal entries to read, of drafts to provide comments on and exams to mark, can reach intimidating proportions faster than we realize. I’m convinced that exam blue books breed in my office overnight, since the pile on my desk always seems bigger no matter how many of them I’ve plowed through the day before. And that, in a nutshell, is what makes this principle the hardest one to consistently practice: it often seems like I can either give good feedback, or have it be prompt, but not both. Continue reading “Seven Principles, part three-ish: Timely and Effective Feedback”