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

Preparing Media/Video Assignments for Students

The increase in technology usage among students is growing preparing them for advanced digital citizenship, beyond the use of social media. Want to know more about digital citizenship? Here are “9 Key ‘P’rinciples.”

Because of these advancements, I would like to offer some advice to instructors and instructional designers on developing media assignments.

  • You, the instructor, should attempt to complete the same assignment before assigning it to students. Your first-hand knowledge of the technology students will be using is key when troubleshooting.
  • If more than two or three students ask you the same question, add more clarification to your instructions.
  • Penn State’s Media Commons has put together a great resource for instructors who are planning on implementing a media assignment for assessment of student learning. Do your instructions follow these guides? Penn State’s Preparing Media Assignments
  • Do you want more information? This resource is an example of what might be provided for students: Video editing guide for possible student consumption. Notice how they use the same technology as a model for what students should prepare.

Happy Video Editing!

Embedding YouTube Videos into PowerPoint Presentations

This tip was inspired by a follow-up question from last week’s tip  about Embedding YouTube Videos in Blackboard.

In PowerPoint, go to the Insert tab on the ribbon.  On the right-hand side in the section called Media, there is a Video button.  Use the drop-down menu to pick Online Video.

PowerPoint Insert menu; select video, then online video

A pop-up window will appear (it is very slow to appear) and you may chose the location of your video such as YouTube or From a Video Embed code from any other site.  (Embed codes are usually found in the “Share” option of most online video repositories.)  Type the title and hit enter to search (again, it is very slow – be patient).

Embed Online video options in Powerpoint; Choices are YouTube or from a Video Embed Code

Select the icon that matches the video you want to embed.  Then select Insert.

Video search results; selecting the video for embedding.

In order to view the video, you should be in SlideShow or Presentation mode.

Additional Notes:

  • When presenting, you must have internet access for the video to play.
  • Select the video image, then you may chose options for how the video plays in your presentation by adjusting the settings in this Playback menu:Additional embedded video options in Powerpoint; Playback - Start on click.


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.