A fairly lightweight, manageable place to upgrade your courses in spring 2021 (or even now, in Fall) is the D2L Gradebook. You’re probably already using it, but in our D2L Grades workshop, and Self-Paced Training Video Set, we offer a bunch of tips for making it easier to use, and more effective in transmitting feedback to students.
Students appreciate having their grades reported through D2L. It may seem like they could properly track their grades on their own, but they are juggling multiple classes, together with additional responsibilities in the Covid-19 era. Properly using the D2L Gradebook can eliminate a lot of additional and exhausting work that accumulates day-to-day, such as frequent, student-prompted conversations about “how they are doing,” and repetitive procedural announcements in class or through D2L.
You can use the grades tool in various ways to build a gradebook best suited to your classes and teaching. Some faculty opt for a simple points-based addition system. For example, there are nine grade items, each of varying points value. At any time students can add together the graded materials for a quick understanding of their current situation in the course. Or a more complex gradebook can calculate a student’s average grade based on assignments, or even categories of assignments, each weighted differently. If you drop the lowest score or scores in a set of assignments, D2L can manage that for you, as well. At the end of the semester, you need only make a final letter-grade determination (consulting D2L’s calculations) to enter into the Final Grades screen outside D2L.
Recording grades in an Excel spreadsheet may seem easier, but this does not report to students their progress, nor calculate for you their cumulative or average grades. Plus, if grades are entered into D2L, they can always be exported to an Excel spreadsheet for safekeeping or other purposes.
If you build a gradebook in a course once, you need not do it again the following semester, since the gradebook structure copies along with other course content.
We cover all of this in our D2L Grades Workshop. These are great opportunities to ask questions about gradebooks you currently have, too. And as always, you can make an appointment with us if you’d like to discuss more comprehensive changes to your grading structure in D2L.
Submitted by: Tyler J. Kron-Piatek, academic technologist, COLI