The Power of a Good Electronic Grade Book

Well, we made it!!  Brightspace has hit our campus and we’ve survived.  With almost 25,000, yes that is thousand, courses moved from uLearn to Brightspace and several hundred faculty and staff trained, we at the Exchange are breathing a collective sigh of relief.  We’ve had some hiccups, but overall the transition has been a smooth one.

I’ve been through several major learning management transitions, I think this one made 5, and this has by far been the smoothest transition.  The biggest take-away I got from this transition is that faculty/instructors didn’t realize what features the old system had.  In my series of blog posts I’m going to try to help with that by highlighting different features our Brightspace system has.

The Grades feature in Brightspace is amazingly versatile, and it’s easy to use.  There are a couple features I really love.  The first is, if you set the grade book up correctly, there are very few times you will need to add a formula to calculate the grade.  D2L will do it all for you.  It will even allow you to do percentages and drop lowest or highest scores for papers, quizzes/exams, etc. automatically!

The other Grades feature I really like is the Grading Schemes.  In this area you set the percentages for what constitutes an A, A-, B, B+, etc.  This is nice because students can see scores as well as the grade it equates to and, when you go to enter scores into GoSOLAR at the end of the semester the letter grade calculation is already done for you.

The other feature I like in the Grading Schemes area is that you can color code your percentages.  This gives both you and the student a visual representation of how things are going.  For me, with that visual aid, it’s a lot easier to see how students are doing.


Grade scheme colors

Example of color-coded Grades area


Tip of the day:  If you can’t see the grades in the Grades area, use the Grades Settings button on the left hand side of the Grades menu.  Once in there, click on Points Grade and click Save.