Avoiding Grade Centre Gaffes

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Contents

Overview

The Grade Centre is a powerful, online spreadsheet with multiple functions available within it. It is highly recommended to seek training prior to using it so you can ensure it will be an effective tool for your purposes. If you don't have time for a face-to-face session, consider using the online videos regarding the Grade Centre available from Lynda.com (for Faculty and Staff only), and log in with your UWin ID and password.

Please note, that official grades are submitted to the eGrade system, which is a separate tool from Blackboard where final approval from the Dean or Department head occurs before grades get posted to the SIS. Grades displayed in Blackboard's Grade Centre are not considered official for students.

Major Errors to Avoid

Wrong Column Exported to eGrade

Ensure you have selected the correct Calculated Column to export to eGrade! It can be easy to take the default column (which maybe isn't the one you wanted), or unintentionally toggle a radio button with a mouse scroll to switch from one column to another. Double check that you are using your correct final grade column (such as Weighted Total, or Total, or other column you have created). Ensure your eGrade values match your Export to eGrade (found at Course Tools -> Export to eGrade) values.

eGrade Values Still in Draft Mode

Once you have transferred your grades from Blackboard into eGrade, remember you have to click "Save and Submit" in eGrade to move your grades from Draft mode to Submitted mode, so the Dean or Department Head can approve them. Log into eGrade to double check you have completed the grading process.

Common Gaffes

Hide Column in Grade Centre but not from Students

"Hide column from student
Hide column from student
When an instructor selects from the contextual menu (access edit menu by clicking chevron in the column's title) Hide from Instructor View, the column is only hidden from instructors in the course, NOT from the students! If you don't want students to view the column, then select the Hide from Students (on/off) option also found in that context menu. It is recommended you select hiding all columns from students until all grades have been entered for an assessment. This also includes calculated columns such as Total or Weighted Total. Students may get confused if they see values in the Weighted Total column, that are coming from columns that are not visible to them.

My Grades Accessible from Home Tab

Even if you hide the My Grades tool from your course menu, if you have columns in the Grade Centre that are not hidden from students, the grades can still be visible from the main page (Home) in Blackboard, as well as from the Notifications panel from the My Grades icon. Be sure to hide all columns in your course that you are not ready to reveal!

Running Total - Set to No for Export to eGrade Column

Running Total set to No
Running Total set to No

Make sure that the final grade exported to eGrade comes from a calculated column, which has calculated the total grades properly. For example, ensure that the Calculate as Running Total is set to “No” as that choice includes all items in the calculations, using a value of 0 for an item if there is no grade.

Hiding Student Doesn't Hide Grades from Them

When you choose the option to Hide Student (from the contextual menu), be advised, that is only for the instructor view in the Grade Centre. If a student has grades entered in a column which is still visible to all students, the student in the hidden row will also see the grades from the My Grades tool (assuming it has been made available to the students).

Where is the new column I just made?

When you create a new column, it appears as the last column on the right of the grade centre. You may need to scroll to gain access to it.

Why is there a Total and Weighted Total Column in my Grade Centre

By default, each Grade Centre comes with some standard columns, and they are visible to students unless you select the Hide from Students (on/off) option also found in that context menu.

Total and Weighted Total are default calculated columns which serve different purposes. It is important to determine what your goal is when displaying grade totals. The Total column displays points earned from the total points possible. Weighted Total is a calculated column that generates a grade based on the result of selected columns and categories, and their respective percentages. Some instructors like to use both Columns, for example, displaying in the Total column all the raw points a student has earned during the course from the total available points to be earned, and using the Weighted Total column to specify the weighting percentages.

It is most important to review what columns are being included in these calculated columns to ensure accuracy of grades!!

Uploading from an external spreadsheet - Why do I have duplicate uploaded columns?

If you are using an external spreadsheet which is not known to Blackboard, the columns do not get unique identifiers until they are uploaded to Blackboard. If you continue to use the same external spreadsheet and add or alter existing columns, and then upload it again, the columns that existed in Blackboard from the first upload do not recognize the new uploads, therefore, they are treated as new content - resulting in duplicate column names and un-updated data to individual cells. This happens as the re-uploaded material doesn't contain the unique column header identifier that Blackboard generated with the first upload. Further, columns that you add to the Grade Center from an external file are added as text columns with points possible equaling zero (0). Text columns cannot be included in calculated columns, such as weighted, total, average, and minimum/maximum. To convert the uploaded column to a score, edit the Points Possible with a maximum value for the column and change the display to score.

To avoid uploading issues, it is recommended to use the Download option in the Grade Centre after you have set up the initial columns you intend to upload later. Then, when you download the "template" of the Grade Centre to use externally, it will contain the unique column identifier Blackboard needs to update its columns and data properly.

More about uploading and downloading to the Grade Centre from Blackboard Help Pages.

Troublesome Issues

Missing Scroll Bars - Small Screen Devices

Small screen devices, such as tablets, smartphones, netbooks may not display scroll bars in their browsers at all. It is recommended to use a laptop or desktop to take full advantage of the display features.

Missing Scroll Bars - Mac Users

Mac users need to adjust a setting in their system preferences to ensure scroll bars are visible in the Grade Centre. This is when using larger screen devices such as a laptop or desktop. Go to your System Preferences and click “General”. Select the radio button “Always” below “Show scroll bars”.

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