Blackboard Course Best Practices

Backing up grades in the Gradebook
As a common best practice, we recommend that all faculty back up their students’ grades regularly.  To back up the students’ grades, please do the following:
  • From the Blackboard control panel, click on the grade book link.
  • In the gradebook spreadsheet view, click download grades
  • In the grade download screen, click the download button
  • Save the file on your U drive (naming it appropriately for the class), with the “.csv” ( comma separated value) extension
  • After saving it, you may open the file using Excel.

Policy on final available date of an online class
  • For both traditional and online classes, as final grades are submitted, students are considered inactive in those particular classes. Therefore, Blackboard would become unavailable to students after this date.
  • No additional exceptions will be applied for online classes.
  • Instructors are encouraged to backup the final grades from the gradebook.

Naming conventions for uploading Assignments to Blackboard
When uploading assignments to Blackboard, students should name the files appropriately otherwise the instructor will not be able to read them.  Students should be encouraged to follow these file-naming conventions:
  • Save files with the appropriate three-letter extension
  • Do not capitalize the file extension
  • Do not include spaces
  • Do not include special characters in your file names such as commas, slashes, exclamations, dollar signs, pound signs, etc.
The acceptable symbols would be the use of dash (-) and underscore ( _ ). Even though some of the special characters above may not cause this 404 error, it is a better practice to avoid them.

Test settings
When taking a test, students should be encouraged to save their test. As for the essay questions type, they should use WordPad to copy and paste text to their questions to avoid problems such as the browser timing out.

It is suggested to use the "All at once option" for the test questions. If students are presented one question at a time with a set time limit, it may take more time for each question to load, especially if the students are taking the test off campus, since response time can be affected by their computer specifications and internet connection.

Modifying a test after it has been deployed
Once a test has been deployed, instructors should not try to modify anything in that test if some students have already taken it. If you make any changes regardless, then your gradebook might get corrupted. It is always recommended that you take that quiz as a student before you make it available to students, and make any changes necessary before any student takes it.