Creating Categories and Weighed Columns on Blackboard

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Instructions on Sending final grades to Banner

Upload Final grade to Banner

With a Final Grade column in Blackboard’s Grade Center you can submit final grades directly to Banner (InfOSU).  That sure beats keying them in again.

Create Final Grade Column

1.     From the full grade center click Create Column

2.     Name the column “Final Grade”

3.     Primary display should be set to “Text” (not letter because + and – are text)

4.     Category must be set to “Final Grade.” This is crucial as this category is what Banner searches for to “upload” grades from Blackboard.

5.     Points Possible: Enter total points possible for the course grade. It can be “0” because the Calculation function will be turned off.

6.     Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: No.

7.     Show this Column to Students: No (this ensures that students do not see their final grade until they have completed the eSET course evaluation)

8.     Show Statistics (average and median) for this column to Students in My Grades: No.

9.     Submit

10.  Manually enter grades for each student

Upload the grades to InfOSU (Banner)

Log on to OSU Online Services (InfOSU) via the My Oregon State tab in Blackboard:

Follow the links:

·         Faculty & Advisors >

·         Final Grades Menu >

·         Final Grades – Upload from Blackboard >

·         Select a Term >

·         Select a Blackboard course (course will show only if you have a Final Grade column set up as above) >

·         Submit.


And here’s a link to 5 Essential things new users need to know about getting started with  a Bb course site:


Creating Average Columns on Blackboard

Average Calculated Column

An Average Grade column displays the average for any number of quantities. An Average Grade Column can include any of the following non‐text columns:

  •  All Grade Columns: All individual Grade columns added to the Grade Center.
  •  Grade Columns in a Grading Period: All Grade columns that have been added to a Grading Period.
  •  Selected Gradable Columns and Categories: Any Grade columns and any or all Categories.

For example, you can display the average for all Reading Tests and writing tests, or display the average grade for each student for a grading period.

Any categories that contain items that are set to No for the Include in Grade Center calculations setting will ignore those items when figuring the Average Grade.

To create an Average Grade and its column in the Grade Center, follow these steps:

1. Access the Grade Center: from the Control Panel Menu, click Grade Center | click Full Grade Center.  


2. Hover over the Create Calculated Column button in the Action Bar of the Grade Center | click Average Column from the menu.


3. In Section 1, enter the Column Information as follows:


1. Column Name – A required field, Column Name is formal name for the Item, and is displayed in the Grade Center and My Grades (student view). This field displays a maximum of 15 characters in the column header.

2. Grade Center Display Name – The purpose of this field is to allow you to shorten the Column Name without editing the original name. This field replaces the Column Name in the Grade Center and in My Grades (student view). This field displays a maximum of 15 characters in the column header.

3. Description – A description is an optional field. It can help Instructors and other graders identify

the Column. The description is visible to students in My Grades; they access it by clicking the Details button.

4. Primary Display – This is the format of the grade displayed in both the Grade Center and My Grades (student view). This field defaults to Percentage for the Average column, but you can choose from Score, Letter, Text, Percentage or Complete/Incomplete. Additional letter schemas can be added; see Add a Grade Schema.

5. Secondary Display – This selection displays a secondary format for a column in the Grade Center. The Secondary Display is denoted by parentheses and is only visible by Instructors.

4. In Section 2, the Creation Date of the column is displayed. If Grading Periods have been created, you will have the option to choose a Grading Period from a drop‐down list which will designate to what Grading Period the column is associated. Using a Grading Period is optional.

5. Section 3 is where you Select Columns that will be included in the Average column. Possible selections include the following:


All Grade Columns – This selection will automatically include all gradable columns that are set to” Yes” for Include this column in Grade Center calculations. Please note that this option will ignore all columns set to zero possible points (i.e. – Extra Credit). See Extra Credit for more information.

All Gradable Columns in a Grading Period (not shown) – select a Grading Period from the drop-down menu. This field will not display unless a Grading Period has been created.”

Selected Columns and Categories – You have the option to choose individual columns or categories to calculate the total grade. A combination of individual columns and categories can be used as well. Note: if you use categories, any assignments that have been submitted but not

graded will results in a zero in the calculation. To avoid this issue, use All Grade Columns or

individual columns in the calculation.

When a Category has been selected, several other options appear:

* Select a Grading Period for the Category using the drop-down menu. This will only be available

if a Grading Period has been created.

* Select how to weigh Columns within the Category “Equally” or “Proportionally”. Choosing “Equally” applies equal value to all gradable items within a Category. Choosing “Proportionally” applies the appropriate value to a Grade Item based on its points compared to other Columns in the Category.

* Decide whether to drop high or low grades within the Category or use the lowest or highest value in the category.

* To remove a selected item from consideration, click the red “x”.

6. Calculate as a running total –  Select “Yes” to calculate the weight as a running total to include only the Columns that have been submitted and/or graded. Select No to include all items, which will place a zero for any items not completed yet; this results in a low grade.

7. Section 4, Options, is where you choose access for users:


Include this column in Grade Center calculations – Makes the column available for use in other calculations. Important: Please note that choosing Yes to this option does not duplicate scores. It simply makes the item visible in the Columns to Select box.

Show this column in My Grades – Shows the column in the student Grade view

Show Statistics (average and median) for this column in My Grades – Shows the Total

Points column statistics in My Grades. Note: Instructors with small enrollment (i.e. – 4 GE students) may not wish to enable statistics as students may be able to deduce who received what grade

8. Click Submit to Save.

Useful Tech Info from David Pogue

David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips

I’ve summarized the tips outlined in this helpful video.  I hope you find something of value.  Thanks to the helpful instructor who passed this on.

  1. Use the space bar to scroll down a page on the web.

Shift + Space to scroll up.

  1. Use the Tab key to go to between boxes on forms to fill in online.

When there’s a pop-up menu for your state or country, type the first initial repeatedly to get to the right letter.

  1. For viewing bigger text on your screen: press + with the Control  (or command) key or minus for smaller text.
  2. Smartphones

Press Space bar twice to end a sentence (iPhone, Android, Windows phone, BlackBerry)

Adds a period, inserts one space, and capitalizes the

  1. All Cellphones

Tap the Call or Dial key to call up the last number dialed.

(On a non-smartphone, opens a list of all recent numbers)

  1. Interrupt the voicemail message by pressing the carrier’s interrupt key:
  • Verizon: *
  • AT&T-Mobile: #
  • Sprint: l
  1. Google Stunts

“Define”  to find the meaning of any word.

  1. Flight tracking.  Type the name of the airline and the flight for details.
  2. Unit conversion. Type in eg: inches in 32cm.

10. Four Text Basics

  • Double-click to highlight a word.
  • Don’t delete!  Just type over it.
  • Double-click/drag to select in one-word chunks.
  • Triple-click to highlight a paragraph.

11. Cameras

How to eliminate shutter lag completely: half-press the shutter button to pre-focus.

12. Presentations

Press the B key to black out the slide.  Press again to return to slide.

(W key for whiteout)


ZZZZZ Students

The sleeping students on blackboard are actually quite useful! Have you noticed the zzzzz_student in your Blackboard Grade Center. That student allows you to log in and see your blackboard course exactly as a student would. You can figure out how to post on a discussion board or upload documents to Safe Assign as a student. Technology Across the Curriculum has all the explanation you could need in their document on “Top Five Tips for Blackboard Users”. Here is a picture from their document. It links to the entire document. (Or come to my training on Friday.)

Document Avaliable at

Michelle Scholz also blogged here a few months back about her tips and tricks. She included the zzzzz_student. She her other tricks here. What are some of your favorite blackboard tricks and tips?


Safe Assign on Blackboard

I’ve posted before about technology and plagiarism. Well, for teachers at Oregon State University, a new Blackboard update has made it even easier to detect plagiarism. Our latest Blackboard upgrade came with “Safe Assign”. You will find this new feature under “Create Assessments”.


Students will submit papers through Safe Assign. Safe Assign then checks the internet and Safe Assign’s database of student papers. It will document what percentage of a student’s paper is unique. It won’t tell you if anything is plagiarized. (Ten percent of the paper could be from other sources, but that information may be correctly cited or simply common phrases.) Safe Assign will, however, help you track down any uncited sources in student papers. It can also show studsafe_assignents that they have some questionable areas before they submit their papers. This way students can learn to document their sources correctly without being penalized. Safe Assign will also stop students from sharing old papers with  friends as all papers run through Safe Assign are added to its database. I’ll be talking more about Safe Assign on Friday’s training, but this document from OSU’s Technology Across the Curriculum is a great resource. This is one of those pieces of technology that will help (and students) with very little time investment.


example_paper for training today from Read, Write, Think

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InterSection: Harmony in ESP Practice with Computers, Video and Digital Media. Saturday, March 23, 3:00-4:45 in the Tech Showcase.

I was honored to be part of this exciting forum at TESOL in Dallas, Texas.  You can listen to the presentations and view them by following the link.

Pecha Kucha is a wonderful way to share many ideas in a short space of time and as this session demonstrated, it can lead to rich and exciting discussion on a variety of topics.

Many thanks to Dr. Najma Janjua

ESP-IS Immediate Past Chair  and Professor of Graduate School of Research

Kagawa Prefectural University of Health Sciences in Japan.

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TESOL 2013 Handouts

2013-03-25_0942TESOL 2013

It was wonderful  to meet so many interesting and engaged teachers in Dallas. I was amazed at how well attended our sessions were. For those of you who couldn’t come or who couldn’t get a handout, the handout are available through TESOL. I provided the links below.


Making it Meaningful      If you would like a copy of the macros, please email me. The file type cannot be easily uploaded and shared.

Again, it was such a great experience, and I can’t wait to see everyone next year at TESOL 2014 in my home state of Oregon. Until then, feel free to contact me.

How to Post Starboard Lessons on Blackboard

Starboard to Blackboard

If you would like to have students view all of the content of your Starboard lessons, you can easily upload these as pdfs by following the directions in this Jing.  Saving Starboard files in this way also includes all of the additional documents or Powerpoint slides that you may have shown in class – a great way to make available any incidental vocabulary or photographs from lessons!  Why not give it a try…

Minutes from Tech lunch

February 1st, 2013

Thanks to all who attended our tech lunch on Friday, February 1st.  The purpose of the gathering was to solicit some feedback from instructors on their technology use and preferences in the center.   Following pizza, attendees shared their thoughts on answers to questions such as “What are the benefits of using Starboard?” or “What do you think that students expect in terms of your technology use?”.  This generated some great suggestions – here are some points that were raised:

  1. Having a rubric on the iPads for scoring presentations easily.
  2. Having the calendar of events available for students on Blackboard to connect to the wider OSU community and ability to post additional events.
  3. The size of the Starboard is perceived to be a drawback for some instructors.
  4. In some classrooms the Starboards need to be calibrated regularly.
  5. The majority of those present would like to check out iPads for a month.
  6. All instructors present had a tech-savy person in their office to help with quick questions.
  7. The majority of those present allow students to use phone dictionaries in the classroom.
  8. One instructor uses Polleverywhere in class for student feedback.
  9. The general feeling was that students expect instructors to post assignments and information on Blackboard.
  10. Katie and Michelle will make sure that instructors can post a link to the Student Tech survey on Blackboard and remind them to do it.
  11. A demo class using Starboard was suggested and the idea of peer coaching for Starboard use was discussed.
  12. The legality of posting student presentations on YouTube unlisted was discussed and mention made of the task force in place who are looking into this problem of video sharing.
  13. A question was asked about students posting in-class work related to INTO classes on YouTube.  Is there a branding problem?
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