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”

Blackboard Grade Center Tips

Features of the Grade Center in Blackboard can be quite helpful for handling course management and facilitating learning.

  • Creating Columns are easy!
  • Make comments on student submissions using Inline Grading.
  • Creating Smart Views for easy management is a little trickier, but will save you tons of time navigating the grade center…
  • Creating Color Codes can also help you and student stay informed with a quick scan of the grades


Grade Center Reminders:

  • If a student earns a 0 on an assignment, enter it in the Grade Center on BB.
  • Remember that null (–) grades in the Grade Center are not a part of the final calculation and is likely impact that students actual grade.  Null is NOT equal to 0 in a Running Total.  Please replace all null grades with either a 0, an alternate grade, or choose the “Exempt” option from the drop down menu.
  • *optional* NOTE:  about Weighted Grading in BB – Columns worth 0 (usually Extra Credit) are not calculated in Weighted Grade columns.
  • Make a backup copy of your Grade Center gradebook from each course by downloading to excel.
    • Grade Center > Work Offline > Download > Submit > Download > Save options.
  • Direct any questions to Karly!
  • Core Curriculum and Core Assessment Questions should be directed to John Lyden. Core data and seminar artifacts will be downloaded on May 6, 2016.  Please have your assessment done by then.

Blackboard on the Move!

This is not only a topic based on convenience and engaging students using mobile technology, but could also be about accessibility. Those who may not have computers may have smart phones and you could be making education more accessible to your students.

Blackboard App for Mobile Devices

  • This app can be configured to work with or Google Drive so that students who use cloud based storage can submit papers via mobile devices.
  • Available for: iOS /Android

BB Grader for Instructor Freedom – iPads only

  • I wish I could say this was for everyone, but alas, it is only for iPads. This gives you the capability of using Crocodoc (the inline feedback tool in the Grade Center) while comfortably sitting on your couch grading papers online.
  • iOS (remember, it’s for iPads only)

Designing Courses for Mobile Friendly Access

Embed Videos YouTube Videos in Blackboard

Have you ever wanted to embed videos directly in your course rather than use a URL to direct students to another webpage full of distractions and advertisements?

An embedded video would look clean like this wonderful TED Talks video by Ann Morgan called “My Year Reading a Book from Every Country in the World“:

Embedded YouTube Video

A link to YouTube would take students to the following YouTube site.  It is a hot mess with distractions and advertisements taking valuable focus away from learners:

YouTube Link with Distractions

In order to add an embedding link in Blackboard 9.1, follow these tips:

  • In your course Content area > use the Build Content tool > in the second column under the Mashup header click “YouTube Video”.
  • In the search bar, you may use either the YouTube URL or the title of the video to find what you are looking for.  Once you have it located, hit “Select”.
  • Then “Submit” to finish adding it to your course content area.

Organizing the My Courses list on BB

Here are some tips to help you organize the MyCourses list on Blackboard.

On the “My Grand View” opening Blackboard page – in the upper right corner of your My Course list, there should be a small settings/gear symbol.  Click on that icon.  You will go to a list where you can organize your courses by checking “Group by Term”.  These can be reordered to have the most recent at the top or unchecked so they no longer show on your My Courses list.  To reorder the terms, use the double headed arrow on the left side of the term group and drag to the final location.  If you scroll down lower on the page you may reorder or uncheck any courses you no longer wish to show on your homepage of Blackboard.

Signature on Emails sent from Blackboard

This past semester we found that emails sent from the Blackboard system are now coming from a “donotreply” email address.  This means that the students will not know who sent the email without the sender adding a signature to the email.  The only information automatically provided by Blackboard is within the email subject line; it does include the course name.  I suggest that you sign your name and input your email address and possibly your office and phone numbers and/or office hours should the students need to get ahold of you.