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UMS Faculty Focus

The UMS Faculty Focus blog publishes articles on effective teaching strategies for technology-enhanced, classroom, online, blended, or flipped learning experiences.  Faculty e-Learning Grant recipients and other UMS faculty are welcome to contribute. Please contact the UC Faculty Development Center if you are interested in writing an article for UMS Faculty Focus at uc-fdc@maine.edu

Blogs (UMS Faculty Focus Blog)

Blogs (UMS Faculty Focus Blog)

Blackboard's Gift

Blackboard’s Gift


This month’s blog is a short wrap up and musing on my first time at grading with Blackboard.

I’m old school and actually maybe a little bit older, than old school. In the past, I kept very inefficient records of assignments with corresponding grades. Which meant at the end of the year I was using a very worn piece of paper full of names, assignments and multiple hand drawn pencil columns of grades. I would laboriously figure out the total and then apply a huge amount of mental energy to calculate the final grades. Because of my less than robust math prowess I would then have to check everything at least twice before posting the final grade in Maine Street.

This year honestly paradoxically felt like I was cheating, as well as having gotten a “get out of Jail” card, when it came to grading.

Blackboard had kept track of all the assignments and grades, it had already factored in the percentage of each assignment toward the final grade. When I went in and put in the grade of the student’s final project it magically totaled that, and gave me the Final Class Grade as a percentage!

Honesty it was a little bit too easy! Where was the tussle and mental work of constructing the final grade, the weighing of all factors that go in to that end of term assessment? Gone!

It was probably at that point I found myself beginning to look at Blackboard with a slightly less jaundiced eye.

The relief of knowing that some algorithm was responsible for the computation and not my creaky brain, felt very liberating.

Also, the fact that the student could clearly see what was missing and the grades of posted work, which would explain the grade they received for the class, put me at ease. No longer was the cloud of mistaken perceptions of bias or negligence hanging over my grading.

Coming at the end of a semester, when one is tired and letting go of the class, students and the work we have done together, the Blackboard Grading was truly a gift!

Now to the new semester and New Year, with my Blackboard experience having grown “a bit”, I am ready for a whole new set of challenges and frustrations!





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