Finding the Grade Center
From your course, go to the area for Course Management, found on the left course menu column. Underneath Control Panel, the fourth link is called Grade Center. Clicking on the Grade Center loads the Full Grade Center view.
You can also click the arrow beside the Grade Center name and click Full Grade Center from the list of options that appear.
The Grade Center Action Bar and Contextual Menu
In the Grade Center, you can find the Grade Center Action bar and the Contextual Menu bar. The Grade Center Action Bar has four items:
- Create Column
- Create Calculated Column
- Manage Tab
- Reports Tab
We will be focusing on the first three.
You can use the contextual Menu to view specific grade center information and see other options for each item in the grade center.
Creating Columns in the Grade Center
- Click on Create Column on the left.
- A page will open. Give your Column a name.
- Remember: it is important to stay with the naming categories.
- The Primary Display is what the students will see in My Grade Center.
- Secondary Display is something only the instructor will see.
- Select the right category for the assignment.
- Add Points Possible.
- You can add a rubric to help with grading.
- You can add a Due date which will automatically add to the calendar.
- Make sure to include the Column in the Grade Center.
- Make Column visible for students to see. Then Submit.
You will follow these steps for every column that you add. You can add the columns by week or by category. It is up to you.
Creating Calculated Columns
There are a total of four types of calculated columns in Blackboard. The most common calculated column would be a total column. But we are going to take a look at all four.
The average column is a type of calculated column that displays the average for a selected number of columns. For example, you can display the average for all tests or display the average grade for each student for a Grading Period.
The minimum/maximum column is a type of calculated column that displays either the minimum or maximum grade for a selection of columns. For example, you can find the minimum score on all tests, but only show it in the Grade Center grid and not to your students on their My Grades pages.
The total column is a type of calculated column that generates a grade based on the cumulative points earned, related to the points allowed. You can select which columns and categories are included in a total column’s calculation. When creating a total column, you can include other calculated columns.
A total column is created by default and appears in new courses. You can rename, change the settings, change which columns are included, or delete this default column.
The weighted column is a type of calculated column that generates a grade based on the result of selected columns and categories, and their respective percentages. When creating a weighted column, you can include other calculated columns or other weighted columns.
A default weighted total column appears in new courses. You can rename it, change the settings, change which columns and categories are included, or delete this default column. The default weighted total column displays no results until you select the columns and categories to include in the calculation. This column is included in the Final Grade View smart view.
The Manage Tab must become your friend so it is important that you get comfortable using it. The Grade Center tools that reside under the Manage Tab will help you personalize the Grade Center. For the purpose of this training we are only interested in those links with the red box around them.
A. Color Codes
C. Smart Views
D. Column Organization
E. Row Visibility
In Blackboard you have the opportunity to color code the Grade Center so you can see at first glance how your students are doing. Color coding is something that you will need to set up.
Putting your class into categories helps you organize your Grade Center. You can use categories to group related columns together and organize the data.
With categories, you can perform the following tasks:
- Filter your view of the Grade Center. For example, you can filter using the Assignment category and view only assignment columns in the Grade Center grid.
- Calculate grades. For example, you can assign a weight to a category when calculating final grades using a weighted column.
- Create a smart view. Smart views are views of the Grade Center based on a variety of student.criteria. For example, you can generate a smart view that only displays columns associated with the Test category. To learn more, see Smart Views.
- Create a report. You can create a printable report that displays statistics of performance for all of the columns in a certain category. To learn more, see Grade Center Reporting.
- While there are eight default settings that come with Blackboard, however feel free to personalize your categories with names familiar to you. However, make sure you are consistent with your categories.
A smart view is a focused look at the Grade Center. It shows only the columns that match a set of criteria, and the view is saved for continued use. When the Grade Center includes a great number of students and columns, you can use smart views to quickly find data.
In the Grade Center section of the Control Panel, favorite smart views appear in alphabetical order as an indented list in the Full Grade Center section. In a new course, the Assignments and Tests smart views appear in the list by default. When you click the Assignments link, the Grade Center page opens and only assignment columns appear in the grid. When you click the Full Grade Center link, all the columns appear in the grid.
The Column Organization page allows you to view all the columns in the Grade Center on one page. You can quickly reorder the columns, and the changes you make appear in the Grade Center grid.
You can organize the Grade Center columns in the following ways:
- Reorder columns quickly using the drag-and-drop function.
- Freeze or unfreeze columns in the first table. If you freeze a column, it remains stationary when scrolling through the Grade Center view.
- Hide or show multiple columns.
- Change a grade column’s category or grading period.
Changes you make on this page do not affect what students see in My Grades.
You can hide user rows to reduce the number of rows in the Grade Center grid and help you focus on specific data. When you hide user rows, the data is retained and you can show them at any time. You can hide user rows from each user’s contextual menu or from the Row Visibility page.
On the Row Visibility page, you can show one or more hidden user rows. You can also hide multiple user rows simultaneously. Hiding or showing rows on this page only affects your view of the Grade Center grid and does not affect student availability.
The email tool allows you to send email to other people in your course without launching an external email program, such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo. You can send email to individual users or to groups of users. But you must keep in mind that even though you can send an email from inside Blackboard it is not possible for students to respond from an outside email address into Blackboard.
Contextual Menu Options
You can use the options in a column’s contextual menu to hide a column from your view in the grid (Hide from Instructor View) or from students’ My Grades pages (Hide from Students (on/off). When you hide a column from your students, you will still see it in the grid.
Each column’s contextual menu displays options that are available and specific for that column. For example, a test column’s contextual menu includes options for Column Statistics and Grade Questions. For a default user column, such as First Name, you only have the options of hiding the column and sorting the items. If an option does not appear in the contextual menu, you cannot perform the action on that column.