Category Archives: Blackboard 8

Blackboard 8 Weight Grades, Course Copy, Tips

With Fall Semester nearing the end, we get quite a few calls and emails asking for a refresher on how to weight grades in Blackboard 8. Many of you are also starting your Spring 2011 course prep work and design. Please click the links below for some easy to follow mini-tutorials — great for those late nights and weekends when you’re working on your courses. We will continue to add mini-tutorials, PDFs of instructions and helpful hints, and links to other helpful sites, so be sure you bookmark our Blackboard blog!

Fall 2010

How to Weight your Gradebook - This video will go over how you can weight your grades in the Blackboard 8 Gradebook.

Test Taking Tips in Bb8 – See this post for hints and tips for students to minimize getting bumped out of exams taken in Blackboard.

Spring 2011

Copy Content into your Spring 2011 Sites yourself (new feature) – Copy content into your Spring 11 sites yourself or use the traditional method. It’s up to you.  :)
Making your Blackboard Course Available – This video will show you how to open up your Spring 2011 Blackboard sites.
Adding TA’s or Co-Instructors – This video will go over how to add TA’s and co-instructors to your blackboard course.
Managing and editing your Blackboard Navigation buttons – Learn how to modify, remove or change what the navigation buttons do.
Clean up your MY COURSES AREA – Learn how to hide the courses you no longer need to see.

Blackboard Training information.

Hello All  –
Blackboard training is starting this week using the online  Centra platform.  Next weeks training  will be all face to face .  Here are the dates, times and all of the information you will need to attend these sessions.  Training like this will be offered each week from here on out through the end of the semester.

Blackboard Training Face to Face

12pm – 1pm
1:30pm – 2:30pm
3pm – 4pm

9am – 10am
10:30am – 11:30am
11:30am – 12:30pm

9am – 10am
10:30am – 11:30am
11:30am – 12:30pm

To sign up for these session login into Onestop.  Click UNIVERSITY TRAINING and search for “Blackboard 8 Grade Center Training (Face 2 Face)”.  Find the date and time that works for you and sign up.

Blackboard Grade Center Training live on Centra. To attend you will need a working headset.

2/3 10am – 11am
2/4 10am – 11am
2/4 11:15am – 12:15pm
2/5 10am – 11am

To join this online live training session just click the following URL.

All you need to do is enter your ECU email account.  If you already have a Centra account it will ask for your password.  If you don’t have a Centra account enter your ECU email and Centra will then ask for your first name, last name and display name.  That’s all you need to do.

Please start the login process at least 15 minutes before the actual session start time OR even the day before to make sure everything is working normally.

To sign up for these session login into Onestop.  Click UNIVERSITY TRAINING and search for “Blackboard 8 Grade Center Training (Centra)”.  Find the date and time that works for you and sign up.

Also, my team is going to be spending a good amount of time making making short video clips usingCamtasia on parts of the new grade center features that create the most questions during our training this semester.  If you have a question about the gradebook we can create a video for you (and everyone else) to use.  If you have a question about the new gradebook please just post it in the comment area  of this blog post.

Spring 2010 Welcome and a thanks

Hello ECU Faculty –
I hope you all had a fantastic winter break. I know I did (besides the ice storm in Boone,NC and no power for 2 days but that’s another story). :-)
Below you will see a checklist of sorts for the beginning of the semester. Please review and email me if you have any questions. Welcome back !

  1. Make your course available – Be sure to do this.  If you don’t your students will not see your Spring 2010 Bb site.  Here is howControl panel / Click Settings / Click Course Availability / Toggle to YES /  Click Submit. You will need to do this for each of your Spring 2010 sites
  2. Enrollments – We will be  updating Bb with enrollments multiple times each day through the drop add period.
  3. Course Content - If you still need the Blackboard Team to rollover content or collapse sections you can request that process here.
  4. Fall 2009 Sites - I will make all of these unavailable this weekend.
  5. Problems - If you have any questions regarding Blackboard you can contact your Instructional Technology Consultant for local support or contact my team for phone or email support. (Matt Long – / 252-328-9074 or Matt Powell – / 252-7371264) More on this topic in a moment.
  6. Training - I will be announcing training over the weekend. We plan to do group training in Austin 309 and Centra training throughout the semester. If you are interested in my visiting your unit for training  please email me and we will schedule a date and time.
  7. Bugs - If you notice any odd behaviors in Bb please report them to me.  I’m working closely with systems to review these “bugs” and search for a fix with Blackboard.
  8. A huge thanks !! - James Cook was provided a career opportunity that he could not pass up near the end of 2009. I’m sad to report that he no longer works at ECU.  He will be missed and his contributions will not soon be forgotten.  If you would like to say “thanks” do so in the comments area of this blog post. His position will be filled in the coming weeks. I will keep you all posted on this subject.

Well, I guess that’s about it.  I will be updating this blog site weekly with any news that I think will be helpful in your use of Blackboard. I will do my best to limit the amount of emails I send out.  But, you will be getting a good amount as we launch into the Spring 2010 semester.   Thanks so much and welcome back !

Matt Long

Blackboard Downtime – 12/19 – 12/22/09

Hello ECU Faculty and Staff –

Blackboard will be down from 12/19 1pm – 12/22/09 1pm for an upgrade of the gradebook area (now called the gradebook center).  Once the upgrade is complete the only “new” area in your Blackboard sites will be the gradebook area.  All of the content and the settings will be exactly the same as they were pre-upgrade on the 19th.

Academic Outreach will be offering many training opportunities on the new features as we get closer to the Spring 2010 semester.  If you want you can view a session we recorded last week. This 47 minute video covers all of the new features in the gradebook area.  Remember, only the gradebook area has changed, nothing else.  Click HERE to view the video. Be on the lookout for emails about those training sessions as the semester gets closer. Happy Holidays.

To review:

  1. Blackboard will go down on 12/19 at 1pm
  2. Blackboard will come back up at 12/22 at 1pm with the new functionality in the gradebook
  3. All content and settings will be intact just as you saw them before the downtime
  4. During the downtime you will see a splash page with information about the downtime
  5. Questions?  Call me at 252-328-9074 or email me at

Video Explanation:

Weekly Wednesday Email – New Blackboard Features

Just a quick heads up.  I will be sending out an email each Wednseday throughout the rest of the semester highlighting some of the new features in the new Blackboard Gradebook Center.  Each email will have a short description of the feature being highlighted and a video link to a short tutorial.

12/15Exempt a Grade – You now have the ability to exempt a grade (drop a grade) within the Gradebook Center. Simple to use and powerful.  Click HERE TO SEE how this is accomplished.
12/9 - Smart Views - If you collapse multiple sections into on Blackboard site you now have a simple way in which to split out each section individually in your gradebook. Click HERE TO SEE how.
12/2 – Grade History in the Gradebook Center. Click HERE TO SEE a brief video about how the Gradebook Center now records all gradebook activity.
11/25 - Freezing and Unfreezing Grade Columns in the Grade Center. Click HERE TO SEE a brief overview of the Gradebook Center.
11/18 - Brief Introduction to the gradebook. Click HERE TO SEE a brief overview of the Gradebook Center.

Bb 8 Tutorial: Download / Upload Grades

Blackboard 8 has made downloading and uploading your grades easier in the new Grade Center. You can choose to download all of your grades or a specific assignment and easily upload it back into Blackboard.

To download and upload the Grade Center
1. With your mouse, hover over MANAGE
2. Click on DOWNLOAD.
3. Select the criteria desired for the Grade Center download.
4. Save the Excel spreadsheet.
5. Open the spreadsheet to make appropriate changes.
6. Save the spreadsheet in the same format.
7. In Blackboard’s Grade Center, with your mouse, hover over MANAGE.
8. Click on UPLOAD.
9. Select the appropriate criteria for the upload.

Click here to watch the tutorial on downloading and uploading grades.

Bb 8 Tutorial: Grade History

Blackboard 8 introduces a new feature called Grade History. This feature enables Blackboard to keep a record of every grade change made in the Grade Center by any faculty member or teacher / graduate assistant.

To view the grade history
1. Click on GRADE HISTORY.
2. By default, it shows all grade changes within the past 14 days.
3. To change the display to other date ranges, scroll to the bottom of the page and click GO.

Click here to watch a tutorial on the Grade History feature.

Bb 8 Tutorial: Freezing / Unfreezing Columns

One of the frustrations shared by faculty was the inability to freeze the columns that contained the names of students in the gradebook. If there were a lot of assignments in the gradebook, when scrolling over, the names of the students would disappear. Blackboard 8 now has the ability to freeze columns; allowing you to always see the names of the students in the gradebook, no matter how far you scroll.

To freeze/unfreeze a grade column:
1. With your mouse, hover over MANAGE.
3. Place your mouse over the shaded region of any row you want to freeze.
4. Click on the region and drag it above the gray bar at the top of the page.
5. Click on the SUBMIT button at the bottom to save changes.

Click here to watch the freezing / unfreezing columns tutorial.

Bb 8 Tutorial: Emailing within the Grade Center

The Grade Center allows faculty to email students instead of navigating outside of it. This can be helpful in on-the-fly email notifications to select students.

To email within the Grade Center:
1. Place a check beside each student you want to send a message to.
2. With your mouse, hover over the EMAIL button.
3. Click on the first link, EMAIL SELECTED USERS.
4. Provide a subject and message to send to the selected users.

Click here to watch a tutorial on emailing within the Grade Center.

Bb 8 Tutorial: Columns and Grades

Creating and moving grade columns is different in Blackboard 8. In Blackboard 7, you simply changed the number order of how you wanted the columns displayed in the gradebook. Blackboard 8 introduces the ability to drag and drop columns into its appropriate order.

To add a column and enter a grade
2. Fill out the information on the page for your new assignment.
3. When you are ready to enter grades, click on the cell for the student receive the grade once.
4. Type in the grade and press enter.

Click here to watch the columns and grade tutorial.