Del Helms

Tuesday Teaching Tip #12

Blog Post created by Del Helms on Dec 5, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  I hope all of you love grading as much as I do!

 

As we approach the end of another semester, I thought I would repeat some information that I have shared previously as it appears it may be extremely salient at this time of the semester.  As an aside, for a searchable archive of previous emails, go to the BRAND SPANKING NEW MSJC Canvas Community Center.  Use the Search the MSJC field for topics previously addressed in Tuesday Teaching Tips.  We will be moving all of our Canvas resources and discussions over into this area.  More details will be sent out soon!

 

If you have been using the Grades area in Canvas, then you will want to ensure the accuracy of the grades you are sharing with your students.  The Grades area in Canvas is a bit different than it was in Blackboard.  Canvas allows instructors the option to share total points or the percentage of points earned.

 

Choosing between “Switch to percent” and  Total points is something you will need to choose between.  Switch to percent is the default setting.  Please see How do I view my students' total grades as a point value instead of a percentage in the Gradebook? For additional details.  Here are a couple of brief explanations between the two options.

Switch to percent

If you select this option, it is the default, student grades are based upon the total points a student has earned divided by the total number of points possible for the assignments that have been graded.  This has proven to be a bit of a bugaboo for some instructors as some instructors have left non-submitted assignments in the Grades area blank.  If a grade area is left blank, then there are no points possible for that assignment.  It is only when points are entered, including a zero, that the points possible for the assignment are a part of the calculation.
Please see Examples 1 and 2.

 

Example 1

 

Student A completes the following assignments but does not complete two of them.  The instructor does not enter a point value for the missing assignments.

 

Quiz 1: 10/10

Paper 1: 25/30

DB 1: -/10 (no grade entered)

Assignment 1: 20/30

Test 1: -/50 (no grade entered)

The grade in the student view and within the Grades area would indicate the student has 78.6% of the points they have attempted and they think they are getting a high ‘C’ or a low depending upon their perception of their instructor’s kindness J

 

Example 2

 

Student A completes the following assignments but does not complete two of them.  The instructor enters a zero for the missing assignments.

 

Quiz 1: 10/10

Paper 1: 25/30

DB 1: 0/10

Assignment 1: 20/30

Test 1: 0/50

The grade in the student view and within the Grades area would indicate the student has 42.3% of the points possible and they know their actual grade.

 

I highly recommend you go through each student’s grades and make sure they have grades for every assignment they have submitted.

Total points

If you select this option, the total number of points a student has earned will be displayed.  The total points also shows a letter grade associated with the total points.  You cannot remove the letter grade—sorry!  Subsequently, you will want to make sure your students understand that the letter grade they are viewing is based upon the total number of points they have earned divided by the total number of points possible for the course.  Therefore, early in a semester, if the total points option is selected, all students will more than likely have a letter grade of an ‘F’ as the points they have earned is much smaller percentage early in a semester.
Please see Example 3.

 

Example 3

 

Student A completes the following assignments:

 

Quiz 1: 10/10

Paper 1: 25/30

DB 1: 0/10

Assignment 1: 20/30

Test 1: 0/50

Regardless if the instructor enters a zero or not for the assignments that were not submitted, the student grade will be the points they have earned (55 pts.) divided by the points possible for the entire course.  Subsequently, all student grades would be an ‘F’ until they accumulate more than 600 points assuming the grades are based upon 90-100% = ‘A’, 80-89% = ‘B’, etc.  The 90-100% is the default grading scheme.  If you wish to change it, please view How do I use grading schemes in a course?

 

I hope this information helps.

 

As we close out the semester, I will be sharing some exciting news about new services and opportunities coming in the spring semester.  The DELTA Team has been working hard to have a host of products and services to unveil in at the Spring Academy on January 11th and 12th.  Look for emails from the Professional Development Committee for details.

 

If you have used Assignment Groups, good luck!  Kidding… well kinda.  Assignment groups only take effect when instructors opt to weight their final grades based upon Assignment Groups.  Because this email is so long already and I assume most of you didn’t even open it in the first place, I will forego a detailed explanation of grades based upon assignment groups as it likely only effects a small percentage of you.  If you need assistance with grades based upon Assignment Groups, please email ats@msjc.edu and explain what assistance you need.

CHANGES

Finally, as you may have noticed Canvas is a very dynamic course management system.  They are constantly updating their product with new features and revising existing features.  This includes a new Grades area, new analytics tools, as well as a new Quizzes area.  The Grades area is the only feature currently available for testing at MSJC. 
The DELTA Team is looking for individuals who are interested in piloting these new Canvas products as well as new products and services created by the DELTA Team.  If you are interested in being a part of gaining access to new Canvas Products and Services and/or new DELTA Team products and services, please email me and let me know of your interest.

Outcomes