Expand the topics below to set up a Blackboard grade center that will be easy to use.
Create Your Total Column
Have a copy of your Syllabus with Grade Table handy to guide your Grade Center development. The first thing you need to know in order to set up your total column is whether you will use a points based total or a weighted total. Learn about both below:
The number and point values of individual course activities determine their weight towards the final grade calculation. Here’s a sample point weight grading table: Grading table based on points per item This mathematically straightforward system is clear and simple, however, changing or removing activities will require revising the grade table and point totals in your syllabus.
The Category of activity determines the weight towards the final grade calculation. Here’s a sample category weight grading table: Weights are assigned to categories in this grading table This flexible system allows the number of individual activities and their point values within a category to be changed at any time in the term.
Ready to create your totals column? Follow the link to create one based on your grade system:
Best Practices for Arranging the Grade Center
Create course activities using Bb discussion, assignment or other tools. Anything with points automatically creates a column which populates the Grade Center.
Let’s say you want to create weekly graded discussion activities. Go to the Discussion Board, create a forum, title it and include points. You can create all the discussions in advance (hiding future weeks) or create them as you go. Each forum will add a column to the grade center.
For all activities created using Bb tools, maintain short, clear naming conventions so Grade Center column titles are consistent and readable:
Readable: Wk.1 Case Study – Ethics
Won’t Fit: First Week Case Study, Ethics in and Around the Workplace
Column names can be changed from the grade center, but the new title is only visible to instructors.
- Select Column Action link
- Choose Edit Column Information
- Item Name- Automatically generated by the activity.
- Change by editing the tool–Test, Discussion, Assignment
- Grade Center name – Editable in Grade Center, but only seen by instructor
With several weeks of representational graded activities created—tests, assignments, discussions—arrange the corresponding columns in the Grade Center.
- Go to full Grade Center
- Select Manage
- Column Organization.
- Use the Show me how this screen works button
- Drag columns with handles
There are many ways to organize your columns. The two most useful to students are Chronological and Categorical.
There are two ways to hide columns. One hides from Grade Center & instructor, the other hides from students. Confusing these can wreak havoc.
Hiding from Grade Center
Not recommended for any columns with the exception of unused institutional columns.
- In Manage/Column Organization
- Select columns
- Choose Show/Hide
- Hide selected
Hiding Columns from students
Hiding columns from students is a recommended practice for unreleased activity and assignment columns. Seeing the entire Grade Center before seeing the coursework can be overwhelming to online students and result in unnecessary emails to instructors.
- Select column action link
- Choose Hide from students
- Confirm column is hidden
External Grade Column
The External Grade (green check) column may be seen in areas of Blackboard outside your course. Only one column from the Grade Center can be set as external.
- Select Column Action Link
- Choose Set as External Grade
- Confirm Column has green check
Extra Total and Weighted total Columns
When courses are copied from term to term, Blackboard automatically generates a a new Total column (defaulted to be set as External grade) and weighted total column, not taking into account your real (correct) total column for each course. In your new term ID Shell, enter the Grade Center and reset your original, accurate total column as External Grade before deleting the new auto-generated Total Column and Weighted Total Column.
- Delete (don’t hide) any extra Total columns
- Select column action link
- Choose delete
If you don’t have the option to delete a column, see Deleting Grade Center Columns
Deleting columns in the grade center is a quick process with the exception of the following:
- The External column
- Columns that were generated by a tool with points
To delete the External column
- Set another column as External
- Delete unwanted column
Delete Other Columns
Columns that have been generated by creating a graded activity can’t be deleted on their own. This protects columns associated with student work and scores. To remove an unwanted column associated with an activity, the activity must be deleted. In the screenshot, you can see the column doesn’t offer the delete option. It was auto-generated by a Bb activity with points.
To delete columns auto-generated from a Bb tool (Assignment, Test, Discussion, etc) :
- Find the assignment (here it’s a Discussion)
- Delete the assignment. You’ll be prompted to delete the grade column. (Note that if any student activity has taken place, submissions and scores will also be deleted, so beware.)
Instructors teaching F2F courses may assign in-class activities that are turned in offline. In order to to track scores and align outcomes for these activities, it’s easy to create Grade Center columns.
To create columns for F2F activities
- Go to Full Grade Center
- Select Create Column
Configure column for F2F activities
- Name column
- Set display and points or link rubric
- Set due date
Align outcomes to column
- Click Action link
- Add outcome alignments
Sort and Grade
- Click column name at top to toggle sort
- Click in cell to enter score
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