As the semester draws to a close, there are some final tasks you can take care of in Blackboard, to make your courses end successfully and prepare yourself for the next semester.
Staff of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning are available to assist you if you have any questions about calculating final grades or finishing your semester. You can book an individual consultation to meet with one of our team individually, either virtually or over the phone. You can also submit your question via our Ask a Question form for a response via email, or call or text us at 815-753-0595.
If you have been recording grades in the Blackboard Grade Center, you can use it to calculate the final grades for your students. Remember to check that zeros are entered for any missing assignments or tests, so that the calculations are accurate. If you are using a Weighted Total, make sure that your categories are assigned correctly - you can do so quickly in Original Course View by going to Manage > Column Organization. In Ultra Course View, you can edit the columns to view the category or you can search for the category in the grid view of the Gradebook.
The Blackboard Grade Center uses a default grading schema to assign letters grades, with pluses and minuses. In the Original Course View, you can verify that the schema matches yours, and modify it if necessary, by going to Manage > Grading Schemas. To automatically assign letter grades, edit the Total or Weighted Total column (or create a new Calculated Column), and set Letter as the Primary Display option. You can use a Score or Percentage as a secondary display, which you will be able to see in the same column of the Grade Center. If you would prefer to enter letter grades manually, you can create a new column and set the Primary Display to Text.
In the Ultra Course View, you access the grade schema by clicking the gear icon in the Gradebook. To modify the overall grade, edit that item and assign weights to items or categories.
The Grade Submission tool can automatically transfer your grades from Blackboard to MyNIU, so that you don’t need to enter grades in MyNIU using the drop down menus (although you will still need to use MyNIU to enter last attendance dates, approve the grades, and post them). This is particularly useful for large classes or when you have combined multiple Blackboard course sections.
In the Original Course View, you need a column of letter grades that is set as the External Grade column (there will be a green checkmark next to the column name). Use the Grade Submission tool in the Control Panel, under Course Tools, to send the grades to MyNIU.
In the Ultra Course View, the Overall Grade is permanently set as the external grade; once you have checked the overall grade calculation for accuracy, you will submit grades by clicking Books & Tools in the Details and Actions panel and selecting Grade Submission Ultra.
The Grade Submission tool is available until an hour before grades are due; after that you may only enter grades manually in MyNIU. Review our page on the Grade Submission tool for more information or check out the Grade Submission Quick Guide for Original Course View or Ultra Course View.
While Blackboard is backed up regularly, it is a good idea to download your Grade Center as an Excel file for you to keep on your office computer. To download grades in the Original Course View, go to the Grade Center and click Work Offline > Download.
In the Ultra Course View, click the download icon at the top left of the Gradebook.
Get a head start on developing your upcoming Blackboard courses now! You can request courses up to 100 days prior to the start of the course. You can review how to do it in these tutorials: Request a Course or Request a Master Course (for combining two or more sections). Tip: Check the course availability date carefully when requesting your courses, as this is the date that the course will open to your students. You can select a different date or turn off the auto-availability feature, if you wish.
Once you have requested your course, consider using the Ultra Course View for a more modern look and feel, and request a consultation if you would like one-on-one assistance as you get started. Get a head start on setting up your new course by using one of our course templates, as well.
Check out the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning blog for the latest news on teaching, workshops and other events, or new tools that become available. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.