Blackboard Grade Center Quick TIps

The Blackboard Grade Center can be complicated, but it is very important to ensure that all of the grades it contains are accurate. Here are some solutions to a few common issues that will keep your students’ grades correct and organized.

Enter Zeros When Work is Not Submitted

By default, the Total column in the Blackboard Grade Center will calculate as a Running Total, which ignores ungraded assignments.  What this means is that if a student does not submit an assignment, the missing points are ignored in the Total calculation. For example, if a 200 point assignment is not submitted the final grade becomes 800/800 instead of 800/1000. This can cause confusion for students who think they are doing well in class when they really aren’t and anger when the error is discovered once the course is over and the incorrect grade is changed. Because of this, it is important to manually enter a zero for every assignment that is not submitted.

Entering a zero grade is easy to do. Open up the Full Grade Center and look for assignments that don’t have a grade entered (the cell will have two dashes in it). Be sure to scroll all the way to the right, the Grade Center is typically much wider than your monitor can display. Click on the dashes of an ungraded assignment, type 0, and then Enter. That’s it! If you want to leave feedback with the grade, select the option to Grade User Activity and enter your feedback on that page. If you notice a student consistently not submitting assignments, reach out to them to determine why and to see if they need further help.

Before you submit final grades, it’s a good idea to take a look through all grades and enter a zero for all missing assignments.

Notice that the top student has the same grade as the bottom student, despite missing an assignment.
Notice that the top student has the same grade as the bottom student, despite missing an assignment.


Entering a 0 for the missing grade corrects the error.
Entering a zero for the missing grade corrects the error.


Calculated Columns

Most of the columns in the Grade Center directly correlate to an assignment, but a few are different. Apart from columns that display information such as a student ID number or last log in date, there are calculated columns. These columns display information that is calculated based on certain criteria and the relevant assignment grades. Every course has at least one Calculated Column, the Total. Many, but not all, courses include calculated columns for assignment categories, such as discussions or tests, enabling you to quickly see how students are doing in a certain part of your course.

One common point of confusion with Calculated Columns is that the number they display cannot be changed by clicking on the cell, as you would to change an assignment grade. When you’re trying to change a grade and clicking on the cell isn’t working, you may be selecting a Calculated Column instead of an Assignment. The only way to change the grade is to change the assignment grades that are feeding into it. To keep things organized, in OKWU online courses, Calculated Columns are always to the Left of the Total, and Assignments are to the right.

Calculated Columns are to the left of the Total, and Assignment Columns are to the right.
Calculated Columns are to the left of the Total and Assignment Columns are to the right.


Mac Bug: Grade Center Scroll Bar Missing

Mac users are commonly missing the scroll bar at the bottom of the grade center, which can make navigation difficult. The issue can easily be remedied in System Preferences on your computer. To get started click the apple in the upper left corner, then System Preferences. Next click General, and then change the setting Show scroll bars to Always. Close System Preferences and you’re done!

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more on how the Grade Center works or how to use it I encourage you to check out the Blackboard Help site, which goes into much more detail on every aspect of the Grade Center.

Sarah Cochran’s Bio

As a kid growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I thought the plan for my life was to graduate from college in four years and move immediately into a lifelong career. The Lord had other plans. I married at 20 and had three children—one girl, two boys—before I was 24. I was a stay-at-home mom until the baby was old enough to attend all-day kindergarten. Once my family reached that milestone, I started working in the public school system, helping students and teachers reach their academic and professional goals. The students had questions to be answered, and the teachers had grade books to be organized, but I felt a tug on my heartstrings to go back to college and finish the degree I had started at 18. Though 15 years separated my sophomore and junior years, I started down the long and challenging road toward my bachelor’s degree. I would never have been able to juggle family, work, and full-time school without the Lord’s help. With humility and a grateful heart, I am happy to have earned, as of December 2013, a Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors. Now, as part of the Online Support team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, I am well-equipped and dedicated to helping students learn and grow, both personally and professionally, in their own life’s journey. It takes solid determination and a strong faith to take the next step in God’s plan for our lives, but with His guidance, we can accomplish the goals He has set for us.

Fall Commencement 2014

On Saturday, December 13, 2014, 181 AGS students were honored during Fall Commencement Ceremony.

When I think about this group of graduates, one word comes to mind: perseverance. Several students persevered while receiving chemotherapy; one student lost her husband during the program; one student drove away from her home to escape a tornado in northeast Oklahoma; one student gave birth. Students wore multiple hats personally and professionally as they persevered towards graduation. Having achieved this goal, though, several have been promoted; a couple have gotten new jobs; and several are continuing on with OKWU to earn another degree. Thank you for your investment into their lives. It is seed sown in good ground.

In this group, we graduated our first Criminal Justice grad, Jon Copeland, and two couples graduated, Curtis & Casey Spatz and Matthew & Alicia Snyder. Here is a breakdown of the graduates by program:

  • Associate of Arts – 16 (12 evening, 4 online)
  • Associate of Applied Science – 7 (4 evening, 3 online)
  • Bachelor of Science – 49 (20 evening, 29 online)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – 79 (20 evening, 59 online)
  • Master of Business Administration – 30 (15 evening, 15 online)

Mark your calendar for Spring ’15 Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, May 9, 2015, 3:00 pm. Please let Trish Leggett know if you plan to be part of the faculty processional.

Jonathan Rivers Fall 2014

Jonathan Rivers celebrates the accomplishment of earning an MBA with his family.

Faculty Meeting January 31, 2015

Refocus on Mission & Excellence

AGS faculty are invited to come together 3xs each year, usually at our Tulsa site. The purpose of these meetings is to share information and inspiration, and to provide opportunity for training, collaboration, and discussion. It is an opportunity to connect professionally as educators who share the common goal of leading our students. “Iron sharpens iron” is the constant theme for every meeting.

Meeting Agenda for 1/31/15

  • 8:45 Coffee and Fellowship
  • Greeting & Update from our President, Dr. Piper
  • Presentation & Round-Table Discussion of 4C Quality Model for OKWU-AGS Faculty Development & Evaluation (see article from Dr. Easley)
  • Update regarding Rank and Promotion for Faculty




I Love Learning

I do recommend OKWU to anyone who is considering taking college courses. When people ask me what school I attend, I proudly tell them I am a student at OKWU and then I immediately send them the link to the university website.

I consider myself a sponge for knowledge. I know it sounds funny, but I love learning and OKWU’s curriculum is exceptional. It has to be because it made a believer out of me. Before attending OKWU, I had only attended traditional classes. Two or three different times, I enrolled in online courses and then dropped out. I was convinced I was not an online student. That all changed when I took the introductory course at OKWU. I became hooked on the idea of taking courses online.

There are a number of things I enjoy as an online student at OKWU. One of them is the weekly spiritual discussion. I look forward to them because I find myself reading more than the assigned scriptures. Many times, I find the scriptures are right on time with something that may be going on in my life. Sometimes, my posts can become a personal testimony. Also, I enjoy reading my classmates’ posts. Even though I can’t see or hear my classmates, I do get to learn about them by reading their posts. There are times I find out we share similar views regarding the topic of discussion.

Another thing I enjoy is getting to know the different professors. They are all so very different. Even though all of my courses are online, sometimes I get to learn something about the professor by communicating with them through emails and/or through phone calls. I have always enjoyed working with numbers and I was actually looking forward to taking the Accounting course in the bachelor’s program. My professor was Dr. Christopher Anderson. I was enjoying what I was learning in the course when my world was suddenly turned upside down. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, my husband and I found ourselves homeless. We were forced to place all of our possessions in storage.

I remember while we were working hard to move our stuff into the storage unit, I was praying and asking God how am I going to continue with my classes and is this the end of the road for me at OKWU. Then, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said to snap a couple of photos of the full storage unit and email them to my professor. I did email the photos to him and explained what had just happened to us. He immediately responded. After that, he would call me about once a week to check on how my husband and I were doing. Each time he called he prayed with me and for me. I would be so moved I would cry every time. Despite all that I was going through and with Dr. Anderson’s prayers, patience, persistence and his love for the subject, I was able to pass the course. I can still vividly recall the phone call with Dr. Anderson when he had graded my final. He was so happy for me that I passed his course. I will never forget that. So, when I finally made it to the OKWU campus for my graduation ceremony in May, 2014, the first person on my list of people I wanted to personally meet was Dr. Christopher Anderson. And thanks to Ms. Janet Lightfoot–she made it happen. I did get to meet Dr. Anderson, and I got to thank him personally for everything he did as a Christian and also as a professor at OKWU.

Model for Effective Higher Education Instructors

Over the last few months, I have been developing a model to help describe what a quality faculty member looks like. I’ve had some great help from a few colleagues to sharpen and grow this tool, and it’s very much a work in-progress. But we will be rolling it out as a core component in our approach to teaching in the OKWU AGS program. The model consists of 4 Core Qualities of productive, effective higher education instructors, whether adjunct or full-time. These qualities are Competence, Caring, Commitment, and Connection:

  • COMPETENCE deals with the instructor’s knowledge/expertise in the subject matter, teaching methodology, and the learning tools and setting.
  • CARING speaks of the instructor’s awareness of and concern for student needs, life circumstances, academic goals, and learning outcomes.
  • COMMITMENT relates to the instructor’s attitude toward institutional / program concerns, their role in the learning process, and their willingness to engage the teaching process and make it their own.
  • CONNECTION describes the instructor’s skill and activity aimed at developing and sustaining relationships with the students, being accessible, conveying information, being involved, and reproducing themselves as model-mentors.

Each Core Quality is broken down into 4 Quality Practices (16 in all). These 16 practices create a framework for understanding and talking about our work as instructors and teachers of adult students in undergraduate and graduate studies. The goal of the model is for these 16 practices to provide meaningful, clear direction as to what faculty should be actually doing, in such a way as to help you feel empowered and released to be your very best self in the classroom!

In each subsequent issue of Connect:ED, I will highlight a different aspect of the model as a way of providing some small measure of on-going discussion and reflection. I would encourage you to add your own thoughts to the conversation via Twitter, email, or blogs.

We are blessed to have each of you on board as an adjunct faculty member at OKWU!  We’ll see you in the classroom!

Dr. Bryan Easley, Dean of Online EducationBryan Easley Signature