Our Top Two Blackboard Gradebook Questions, Answered!

Even if you're not teaching students about breakfast, you will still have to figure out how to best use Blackboard's Gradebook feature. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Even if you’re not teaching students about the most important meal of the day (turns out, it’s breakfast!), as in this nutrition class from 1943, you will still have to figure out how to best use Blackboard’s Gradebook feature. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Students might worry about exams, but for professors the real problems come when it’s time to calculate and turn in final grades. While Blackboard can help, it can also cause confusion. Here are answers to two of the most common questions bbhelp@wm.edu receives this time of year:

How Do I Turn in Final Grades?

Final grades are turned into the Registrar via Banner, not Blackboard. Your Blackboard course does not send information to Banner, ever. You can download your Blackboard grade center by clicking Work Offline, and then Download in the Full Grade Center. You’ll be able to select a single column, such as ‘Final Grade,’ or all of the information. Because Blackboard information is removed 30 days after the end of the term, professors are encouraged to keep a complete copy of their gradebook separate from Blackboard.

Once you have a copy of your student’s grades, follow these steps (found on the Registrar’s website):

  1. Go to myWM, click the Banner button and login with your WMuserid and password
  2. Select Faculty
  3. Select Final Grades from the Faculty Services Menu.
  4. Select the appropriate term using the drop-down box and click the submit button.
  5. Select the CRN (Course Reference Number) for the course you wish to grade.
  6. Click the submit button.

I Need to Create a Weighted Final Grade. What Are the Steps?

In the Full Grade Center:

  1.  Click Create Calculated Column
  2.  Click Weighted Column
  3. Name the column
  4. Move individual assignments and tests (columns) or categories (for example, blogs or assignments) by clicking the arrow.
  5.  Assign a percentage to each item
  6.  Select options such as dropping the two lowest grades or keeping the five highest grades
  7.  Click Submit

It’s important to make sure that you’ve counted each item just once. An example of what not to do: If a class had three papers and several homework assignments and you select the category of “assignments” AND each of the individual papers, the papers would each be counted twice – once as the individual assignment, and once as part of the average for all assignments.

Another common problem is not checking that the Total Weight adds up to 100%. While Blackboard offers a warning if your column doesn’t add up to the needed 100%, it’s easy to click through and forget. If your students’ grades don’t seem to add up correctly, open the column (click on the drop down next to the column name and select Edit Column information) to check the math. It may be helpful to have a copy of your syllabus on hand so you can check that all of the assignments made it into Blackboard. If you find an assignment that wasn’t turned in via Blackboard that you’d like to include it in your Grade Center Calculations, click the ‘Create Column’ button to make a place for that information.

Thankfully, Blackboard is flexible when it comes to computing scores. You can create a weighted column, populate it with some information before leaving to create new columns, and then return to the weighted column later. Weighted Columns can also contain the product of other weighted columns. For example, you can create a ‘Minimum/Maximum Column’ to select the homework assignment with the highest score, and then use that column in the weighted column to calculate the final grade.

I know that last sentence might be confusing, so the most important thing to remember about the Grade Center is that help is just an email away. Drop us a note at bbhelp@wm.edu or contact your Academic Technologist for help at any time!