My log of Blackboard calls – end of the semester issues


New log (starting 7/25/16):

Adjunct reports not being able to login to Blackboard.  She can login to SOLAR.  I ask her to go into SOLAR and find the NetID Maintenance link found under Security and Personal Data. She uses the Test Your NetID Password button, and it takes a couple of tries, but she gets through.  Now she goes back to Blackboard and it works!  Mission complete. (second call – same problem from a student.)

image of NetID Test button as seen in SOLAR

An online student called complaining that there grade did not reflect the score he had been given by his professor on a late assignment.  The grade center will not auto update the grade for a late submission, even if it has been graded.  The instructor will need to find the entry in the grade center and use the pull down menu on that individual entry to accept the later grade.

screen shot of pull down menu in grade center.
screen shot of pull down menu in grade center.


Our main support person for forward facing Blackboard issues is out on Jury Duty for at least a month.  I have volunteered to have the support line added to my phone to help out. (2-2777)

This is a log of the problems that have come across on that line when I answered. My hope is that these be informative (and searchable). I should note that I am not the only person answering the phone, so this does not represent all of the calls to that help line.


How do I delete a column in the Grade Center?

In this case the grade center was tied to an assignment so the assignment had to be removed before the column could be deleted.

How does a student know how many total points there grade is calculated from?

When a student is in their course, they see their grades under Tools -> My Grades.  There is a column on the right labeled grades – and it shows their points/points possible.  It does not address how many percentage points each grade is worth in the grand scheme of your course – and this could cause some confusion.

For sake of clarity, a good model is to make an assignment that is worth 20% of the total grade, to have a highest score possible of  20.



Can I grant another faculty member access to a course in Blackboard that I have already taught so that they may grab some of my teaching content?

Yes – we (or you) can add them to your previously taught course as instructors.

Could you set up an Adobe Connect room for me?

Sure, fill out this form.

What is the URL to Blackboard and what are our phone support hours?
Our hours in the office are until 4:30pm today.

Also, we have arrangements with OpenSUNY (SLN) for after hours service:

PHONE: 1-800-875-6269* (Toll-free within the United States) 1-518-320-1889* (Direct)

* Press option 1 to reach the Blackboard Help Desk
Telephone support is available during regular business hours, as listed below.
Monday – Thursday 8am to 9pm EST
Friday 8am to 5pm EST
Saturday 10am to 5pm EST
Sunday 1pm to 9pm EST

Can I gather all of the content that one particular student has posted in the discussions area?

Go to DIscussions
click on Search in the upper right – more options will appear.
Select all forums in course
search for your student’s name

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 1.12.08 PM


Additional info


There are incorrect course titles listed in Blackboard, can this be fixed?

Although Blackboard gets its information from PeopleSoft in order to populate courses for each new semester, some course titles can get stuck from a previous semester if the course code was already used and only the title has changed.

In this case, it is possible for the instructor to update the title on their own course.

Go into your course, make sure the Edit Mode is On.
In the Control Panel, expand the Customization area.
Click on Properties.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.04.15 PM

You can change the title of your course here.  Please do not remove the beginning course code or the end semester indicators though.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.04.37 PM

Further information on the Course Properties area.


Why are the grades not getting entered after submitting running through the grading rubric and hitting save?

In this case, the students were instructed to complete two of the three questions to complete the test.  Since they all three questions had rubrics attached to them, all three rubrics had to be graded, even the question that they didn’t have to do as a part of the test.

What does the blue ball mean in the grade center?

It means that the student made an attempt on the test, but they didn’t submit it.


I can’t see one of my columns in Blackboard.

This one was kinda funny.  I was told to go to a particular course, and when I went to the Full Grade Center, there were no students in the class at all.  I’m thinking, “well you’re missing a lot more than a column!” Turns out it was a cross listed course and it was the other course code that was the active one.  That solved, I do see the column that he wants to see. He could not, and could not scroll over.  On a Mac, if you don’t see the scroll bar at the bottom of the grade book, you will want to go to your System Preferences -> General and make sure “Show scroll bars” is set to Always.  Go back into the Grade Center (you may want to close the window and go back in) and you now have the scroll bar and will see all of your columns.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.42.12 AM

I would like my students to not see the Weighted Total column in Blackboard’s Grade Center.

The Weighted Total Column is hidden from inside the Edit Column Information area – 4. Options “Show this column to Students” No.Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.46.52 AM

Other columns may be hidden from the menu right at the top of the column.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.54.03 AM

Notice that one option is hide from Students and one is Hide from Instructor View.

I was grading assignments and today none of the grades are there anymore.

The assignment was hidden in Column Organization.

 How do I drop the two lowest homework grades?

The following procedure works for any series/set of graded items in the Grade Center, not just quizzes. You must create a category dedicated to the set of items from which the lowest score will dropped, and assign that category (i.e., Weekly Quizzes) to the set of items (i.e., Grade Columns named Quiz 1- Quiz 10).

In this example, we want to drop the lowest of 10 quiz scores, highlighted in red.
screen image of a set of grades in the grade center

1. Create a Category:

From the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Grade Center link in the Assessment section.
  2. Roll the cursor over the Manage button in the Action Bar to open the contextual menu.
  3. Select Categories.
    screen image of the manage contextual menu in the grade center
  4. Click on Add Category in the Action Bar.
    add category button
  5. Type a Name for the category (ex: Weekly Quizzes).
  6. Click on Submit.
  7. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click OK.

2. Assign the New Category to a Series of Grade Columns:

From the Grade Center:

  1. To assign the new Category (ex: Weekly Quizzes) to a New Grade Column choose it from the Category drop-down menu on the Add Grade Column page.
    screen image of the add grade column page
  2. To assign the new Category (ex: Weekly Quizzes) to a Preexisting Grade Column click on the Action Link action link button next to the column name.
  3. Click on the Modify Column link.
    screen image of the contextual menu of a grade column
  4. Choose the Category from the Category drop-down menu on the Modify Grade Column page.
    screen image of the add grade column page
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Submit button.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for each Grade Column to be included in the Series of Grade Columns from which the lowest score will be dropped. In this example, 10 quiz Grade Columns must be modified to be assigned to the “Weekly Quizzes” category. The image below shows the last column of 10 quizzes being modified.
    screen image of ten quiz grade columns in grade center

3. Create the Weighted Column that will Display the Adjusted Score (Lowest Grade Dropped):

From the Grade Center:

  1. Roll the cursor over the Add Calculated Column button in the Action Bar to open the contextual menu.
  2. Click on the Weighted link.
    screen image of the add calculated column contextual menu in the grade center
  3. Enter a Column Name and other information into the appropriate fields.
  4. In the Select Columns pane, select the category you created under the Categories to Select box (ex: Weekly Quizzes).
    screen image of the select categories window in grade center
  5. After selecting and highlighting a category, click on the arrow  arrow button  to include it in the weighted grade. The category now moves into the Selected Columns window and displays further options.
    screen image of the selected columns window
  6. Set the Percentage of the total for each column or category. Since we only want these 10 quizzes included in the calculation of the score for this column, we will make the percentage of the “Weekly Quizzes” category 100%.
  7. Select how to weigh columns within the Category, Equally or Proportionally. Choosing Equally applies equal value to all Columns within a Category. Choosing Proportionally applies the appropriate value to a Grade Item based on its points compared to other columns in the Category. For most purposes and this example, you’ll want to use Equally.
  8. Enter a 1 in the Drop Lowest Grades text field to drop the lowest grade in the category.
    screen image of the selected columns window
  9. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Submit button.
  10. You are returned to the Grade Center, where you can view the adjusted quiz score in the newly created weighted column, which in this example is named “Quizzes 1-10.” We’ve included a separate column next to it named “Quizzes 1-10 Raw” to demonstrate the quiz score when the lowest quiz grade is not dropped.
    screen image of adjusted grades in the grade center


How can I add extra credit to my total column?

You can create an extra credit column in the Grade Center that is included in the total computation and has a maximum score of 0. Then, you can assign extra credit points as needed.

Columns in Grade Center

Column Points Possible
Assign 1 10
Assign 2 10
Essay 50
Test 30
Extra Credit 0
Total 100

Be sure to set the total column as the external grade column.


How to Create Extra Credit Columns
  1. On the action bar, click Create Column.
  2. On the Create Grade Column page, provide the appropriate information.
  3. For Primary Display, select Score from the drop-down list.
  4. For Secondary Display, select Percentage from the drop-down list.
  5. For Points Possible, type 0.
  6. Click Yes for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations.
  7. Click Submit.



The extra credit column appears in the Grade Center. After adding points in an extra credit column, it is possible for a student’s total points to equal more than 100 percent. If a student receives full credit for all gradable items (100 points) and also receives 6 extra credit points, his or her total is 106 out or 100 or 106%.


Do I have to request that the Spring course site be setup?

Nope. We do that automatically.


I’m a student and I see no grades in My Grades for any of my classes.

There is a bug in Blackboard that can stop any of your grades from showing up if the the student is active in a disabled course.  Our System Admin for Blackboard was able to fix this.


How do I add all of my quizzes part of a single category that I can use to make grading easier?

Go to your Full Grade Center, then Manage -> Column Organization.  Now select the columns that you want – in this case all the quizzes, and select “Change Category to…”  Quizzes.

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