Tips for Ending the Semester with Blackboard
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.
Calculate final grades
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 you have entered zeroes 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 by going to Manage > Column Organization.
We will be holding an Open Lab for any who need help Calculating and Submitting Final Grades on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 11:00 - 1:00 pm in Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, Room 100B (located between the Parking Deck and Founders Memorial Library, and shown here on the NIU interactive map). Our staff will be on hand to assist you with the process.
Automatically assign letter grades in Blackboard
The Blackboard Grade Center uses a default grading schema to assign letters grades, with pluses and minuses. 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.
Submit grades automatically from Blackboard to MyNIU
The Grade Submission tool can automatically submit your grades from Blackboard to MyNIU, so that you don't need to enter grades in MyNIU with the drop down menus. This is particularly useful for large classes or when you have used a Master Course to combine sections. In Blackboard, you need a column of letter grades (either assigned automatically, or typed into a column with Text as the Primary Display). That column should be 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. Once the submission is complete, you can log in to MyNIU to enter last attendance dates (for any F's, U's, or I's), approve grades, and post them. The Grade Submission tool is available until the night before grades are due; after that you may only enter grades manually in MyNIU. Review the Quick Guide on submitting grades for more information.
Export the grades for safekeeping
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 do so, go to the Grade Center and click Work Offline > Download. Watch this video on How to Download Grades from the Grade Center to see how to do it.
Request your course(s) for next semester
Get a head start on developing your spring semester Blackboard courses now! You can request your spring semester courses now, so that you can develop them over the break. You can review how to do it in these tutorials: Request a Course or Request a Master Course (for combining two or more sections).
As always, you can contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center using our Ask a Question form for individualized assistance.
Last updated: 5/3/2019
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