Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blackboard 8 (no, I'm not kidding) Grade Center

Several of us were chagrined to hear at New Horizons not only about Blackboard 8 coming up, but also Blackboard NINE. Sigh... I know I am not the only one still getting used to Blackboard 7 (and wishing that some of the changes hadn't been made in the first place!).

At any rate, the VCCS needs to plan for when and how to transition us to BB8. (I understand that this will be at least a year away, so don't panic!) As part of this effort, Inez Farrell, VCCS Director of Instructional Technology, has sent us a link to a site with a short video on the new Grade Center (formerly called the Gradebook) feature in BB8, and she would like to hear faculty feedback to help her plan for the transition.

If you're interested in previewing BB8 and/or giving some feedback to the VCCS, visit:


On the left, you can click "Overview" and/or "Grade Center" to learn about some of the new features. Then post your comments here in our blog and I'll share them with Inez so that the VCCS hears your voices on this.


Bob said...

It's hard to draw conclusions from such a short and rapid presentation.

I liked the fact that you can scroll the grade columns while holding the name column fixed like in a real spreadsheet; many faculty have mentioned the difficulty of making sure they are in the correct row when entering grades.

Laura S. said...

Fewer clicking and windows changes in the new Grade Center. I like that. Looks like a lot of new features as well. Will take some time to become familiar with all the new possibilities and use them effectively. But I think it has some exciting potential over the current grade book.

Safe Assign... I just got an e-mail about this and see that it is already available in BB7. I never noticed it before. Was it just recently added? At any rate, I plan to make use of Safe Assign, especially since Turn-it-in will no longer be available to us. http://www.safeassign.com/ (view how to use it videos at: http://system.vccs.edu/ITDE/index.html)

The other new features highlighted in the overview seem to be extras that won't necessarilly impact our course sites but will be there should we wish to make use of them. Again, it will only take time to become familiar with the potential value of these new tools (time I'm not sure I'll have).

Kevin C. said...

I thought the Grade Roster looked promising, but I didn't see any other features that leapt off the screen as huge improvements to the older Bb systems. I know that the changing from the older system to the new one is inevitable, but I just hope that the new features justify the inconvenience of migrating our courses to Bb8.

Inez said...

I am glad to see these comments. Here are some more links to quick views of the gradebook should you be interested. http://www.blackboard.com/quicktutorials/quicktutorials.shtm
So far, it is the one feature drawing attention from the colleges who already migrated. The word is it is feature rich, but also a learning curve.

Nancy McTaggart said...

There are several features I'd like to see added to BB.

When we view an individual student's grade record in BB, the total number of points doesn't show. I wish it would.

I'd like to be able to have students post entries in a Discussion Board without seeing each other's entries until I revealed them.

I'd like students to be able to comment on each other's work anonymously as far as other students go, but with their identities revealed to me.

Laura S. said...

re Nancy's comments:
I too would like to see the point totals in the individual student grade book view.
As to "students post entries in a Discussion Board without seeing each other's entries until I revealed them." That IS possible in Bb7: you have to modify forum settings to include "moderate". This would make more work for the instructor since you'd have to read and release EVERY post in a timely manner

Jennifer Lerner said...

Laura, that is a good reminder of the moderation feature, but I don't think it meets the need Nancy is looking for. What Nancy wants is that a student cannot read classmates' posts before s/he has submitted her/his own assignment (so that the student is working independently and not using classmates' work as a guide or tool). So she would want the discussion forum to look blank to a student until the student submits that assignment, and then the student can see everything that had been submitted. So far as I know, BB can't do that at this time.