End of Semester Activities
ITS suggests the following end-of-semester activities involving Blackboard:
- Check Grade Center calculations: If using the Grade Center, manually calculate one or two of your student’s grades to make sure that your Grade Center Total and/or Weighted Total column(s) has/have been set up to calculate correctly. The Mercer University Online Weighted Average Grade Calculator is a very useful tool for checking your Weighted Total calculations. If you find errors, consult the Troubleshooting Grade Center Issues tutorial.
ITS also offers the following clarifications and instructions regarding some of the "nuances" of the Grade Center.
- Extra Credit and/or Attendance Demerit columns must be created with points possible set equal to zero.
- If you are weighting grades and including extra credit and/or attendance demerit columns, you'll want to create a new calculated column (Total) for the final grade. That new column would include the Weighted Total, Extra Credit, and the Attendance Demerit columns (Weighted Total + Extra Credit - Attendance Demerit = Calculated Total).
- The only other way to apply extra credit or attendance demerits when using a weighted total is to assign the respective column to an existing category of assessments (e.g. Tests or Attendance) and then weight by category (not by column).
- Items without Grades: If the Total and/or Weighted Total column has been set to display the default, running total, you must manually enter a grade of zero for any item that was not submitted. Columns displaying a dash (item not submitted) are not included in the calculation of a running Total or running Weighted Total.
- Weighting Grades: If you are weighting grades, make sure that you have assigned the correct weight for each assessment either by column or by category: Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center > Manage > Column Organization shows you categories and points possible for each column. If using weight by category, make sure that each column has been assigned to the correct category. To modify the weight, access Weighted Total > Edit Column Information, and follow these instructions.
- Hidden Columns: Using “Hide Column” only hides that column from the instructor’s view, not from the students' view. If you have hidden a column from yourself in your Grade Center, you must show it again to check the column settings to determine whether students can see it: Manage > Column Organization will show you all hidden columns and allow you to show them again. While you have the column “unhidden,” also check the setting for whether or not the column is to be included in the score calculation via "Quick Column Information."
- To make columns not visible to the students via the My Grades course navigational link, expand the options in the column header and select “Show/Hide to Users.” Columns not visible to students will display a red diagonal slash in the column header.
- To hide a column from yourself in the Grade Center again, expand the options in the column header and select “Hide Column.”
- Assigning a Letter Grade: Faculty who wish to display for their students a column which shows their final letter grade will generally need to manually create a column for that purpose. Note that the Primary Display must be set to "Text" in order for you to be able to manually enter a letter grade of "A", "B", "C", "D", or "F". Do not choose "Letter" as your Primary Display for your Total or Weighted Total unless you have reviewed the “Letter” Grading Schema in Blackboard and it accurately reflects the way you assign letter grades.
- Download a copy of your Grade Center at the end of the term for your records.
- Make your course unavailable to students after grades have been submitted. Follow these instructions, but select the "No" radio button for the “Make Course Available” option.
- Download copies of Assignment and Turnitin Assignment student file submissions for your records.
- Request your course shells online for the next semester well before the current semester ends at: http://www.siue.edu/its/bb/.
- Course shells may be requested as soon as an instructor knows the course ID (i.e. ENG), number, and section number, and that information is listed in Banner. Please allow 3 to 5 business days (excluding weekends and holidays) from the time a course is requested until the time it is created. Don't wait until the last minute to make your request.
- Blackboard course shells can only be created when there is an actual instructor of record listed in Banner for the course: the instructor cannot be listed as“TBA.” Faculty are advised to check CougarNet before requesting their course shells to make certain they are indeed listed as the instructor of record for the course. Any TBA issues must be addressed and resolved within the department, updating the instructor in Banner, before a course shell can be created.
- Effective Spring 2013, Blackboard users no longer have to rely upon ITS to copy content and settings from a previous course into a shell being used for a new semester. For complete instructions on exporting a course from a previous semester and importing it into a new course shell, consult the step-by-step guide located at: http://www.siue.edu/its/bb/fac_staff/pdf/Export_Import_course.pdf.