Is there a way to add a column in the Canvas gradebook for general overall course point deductions?
Jennifer, I've actually been thinking about your question and I think I've come up with a possible way to make this work.
To answer your initial question, you can add an assignment worth zero points and then in the gradebook literally type in a negative value for that zero point assignment. So, if you want to deduct 30 points from a student's grade you'd just put -30 in for the grade for the zero point assignment. Just like zero point assignments can be used to give extra credit (you would give a positive value) it can also be used to take away points (just make the value negative). And yes, I've tried this and yes, it works. Probably better in a points based gradebook, but would still work in a percentage/weighted gradebook as well.
As for your other question about tracking this information. It's not perfect, but what if as part of this zero points assignment you utilized a rubric.
1. Create the zero point assignment, but either mute it (students will see it exists, but won't be able to see or access any of the information) or don't publish it (student's won't even see that this assignment exists) - this way it students won't see anything you're doing on this assignment.
2. Create a rubric for this zero point assignment, but make sure to not check the box to use the rubric for grading. Each row is a different discussion and for the column make it so the max points in each column is the max number you would want to take off per discussion. Yes, this might sound a little crazy, but you're actually using the rubric backwards in a way. If you see my example below (I only included 4 discussions) you can see that I can easily track if the student fully participated in each discussion and could also add commented if I wanted for each discussion. The nice part is at the end of the semester the total points for this rubric is the number of points you would deduct from their grade (in the example rubric below it's 2 points).
So, once you get to the end of the semester, you look at the rubric value and put that score (just negative) in for the grade for the assignment. This works because the rubric is not part of the grading, just a way for you to keep track of information about the grade. In addition, once you publish or unmute this to the students, the students will see their negative point value and can still look at the rubric and see which discussions they lost points on.
In terms of logistics, yes, this assignment is separate from all your other discussions, so you'd need to grade the discussions and then come to this assignment to enter in if the student was going to lose points or not. Personally I'd either have both the discussion I was grading and this assignment up at the same time (different tabs) and do it at the same time OR I'd just have a paper/pencil checklist where I marked off who lost points and then when I was done grading I'd go to the zero point assignment and enter in the information. So no, not perfect, but it might work if this is what you're trying to accomplish!
Hope this helps!
Can you be more specific? Why are you deducting general / generic points?
Adding a column in the gradebook involved adding an assignment to the course.
A simple example, if attendance is part of the overall grade, you would create an attendance assignment, and only give partial credit (or no credit) if the student violates your attendance policy. This is one way to "deduct" points from a final grade, but clearly tells the student why the points were deducted.
Please provide some details of your use case.
In my class, students earn a certain number of points each week (for posting on the discussion board) and can lose fractions of those points by doing certain things like failing to read the discussion board posts. It is far too tedious to deduct points weekly, so I calculate them at semester's end. If I have a graded weekly discussion thread of 2 points/wk x 15 wks, then they'd have a total of 30 points at the end of semester from which to deduct. But since the grades will be listed in 2 point increments, I wouldn't be able to deduct, say, 2.5points at semester's end, without making it look like they didn't earn points for a particular week's discussion. Currently, I wait until semester's end to calculate earned participation points (by going back and seeing whether each student posted each week) and then deduct them on a personal spreadsheet. I would like to be able to calculate earned participation points weekly (via graded discussion threads), but have a mechanism to do an overall deduction from an assignment group at semester's end.
It sounds as though you are having weekly graded discussions.
That fits the gradebook model, each discussion is an assignment, thus a column in the gradebook.
You also mention an "Assignment Group", which allows you to define how the "discussion" grades effect the final grade.
The "Assignment Group" would allow you to do what you want.
Here is a reference to assignment groups if you haven't used them before:
How do I add an assignment group in a course?
And how to weight assignment groups:
How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?
You shouldn't need to "deduct" points, simply grade the students on their contributions to the discussions.
In the end, their grade for the discussions should reflect your evaluation over time, and if you use weighted assignment groups you can easily define how the discussion grades will impact the final grade.
I hope that makes sense, sorry if I'm misunderstanding your scenario.
Ahh but I DO need to deduct points. And I want to deduct them from the overall assignment group. Weighting an assignment group does not allow me to do this; it only allows me to drop the highest/lowest score and/or change the weighting. That is not the goal I wish to achieve.
If I have a 10 point assignment, and I only give the student 7 points, then I have deducted 3 points.
The same concept applies to your model.
Grade the discussions as they are completed, assigning full credit where applicable, and assigning partial credit where applicable.
By doing this, you are subtracting the points as you go, which seems much easier to keep track of vs. trying to do it all at the end.
By grading each discussion you are also giving the student feedback they need to ask questions.
Using a rubric would make it even easier, but that's another topic : )
If I have 10 discussions worth 20 points, for a total of 200 points, and the student only earns 180 points, they receive 90% of the "discussion" points available.
If I have 10 discussions worth 10 points, for a total of 100 points, and the student only earns 90 points, they receive 90% of the "discussion" points available.
If I have 10 discussions worth 5 points each, for a total of 50 points, and the student only earns 45 points, they received 90% of the "discussion" points available.
Change the number of discussions and point values to match your course, the math should be the same.
Then the student receives 18 percentage points towards the total possible 100 percentage points for the course.
Change the weight of your discussions to match your grading scheme, the math should be the same.
Whatever the point value, you are able to deduct points as you go simply by grading the discussions. Creating weighted assignment groups can work if done properly, and provides assessment feedback to students as you go.
IMHO, deducting points at the end of the course removes transparency. The student doesn't know they are being penalized until the end of the course, when it is too late to for them to ask questions to help them understand their mistake.
Did you really just give me an entire explanation on how to use the feature I already indicated wouldn't achieve the goal I wanted because you feel deducting points at the end of isn't transparent? Lol I do appreciate your efforts in this matter, but I think the answer to my question is "no".
Apologies, I don't know if you have used weighted groups before. I see a way it could work, and thought a more detailed example might help : )
A big thank you to Kona Jones for her thoughts.
Thank you Kona : )
Brilliant! Thank you! I didn't know negative values were an option. A big thank you to you and Garth Egbert for all of your time and consideration. I think I know what to do now.
Jennifer Bechkoff, I'm at InstructureCon 2016 this week.
There was a presentation today where they announced some grading changes.
One of which is the ability to override the final grade, i.e. change the final grade to whatever you want.
Keep an eye out for this recorded session:
Gradebook Futures: Kill All the Clicks!
I think you will like this : )
Most excellent! I love when they roll out new and improved features. Thanks for the heads up.
Garth Egbert, was this change ever implemented? If not, is it in process?
C. David the post is a method that I've implemented for several instructors.
It allows the instructor to either give a bonus, or apply a penalty, based on their specific rules for the course.
There are faculty who give a bonus for perfect attendance, but a penalty for missing (n) classes.
There is a department where the passing grade is dependent on a minimum cumulative score in each of the weighted assignment groups. So if the cumulative final grade is passing, but any one of the weighted assignment groups score does not meet the minimum requirement, this department is able to apply the necessary penalty to bring an individual grade down to "F" without modifying the grading scheme for the entire course.
The method has proven to be very flexible, and applicable to many different scenarios.
Thanks, Kona Jones -- I was looking for a way to deduct points for excessive absences, and this idea looks like it will work.
So, it doesn't look like it will work if you have weighted assignment groups. I can use it to reduce the score within an assignment group, but don't see how to make it work just to reduce the final grade.
C. David take a look at this post and see if it will help:
Thanks. I just found it right before your email came through.
I want to deduct 5 pts. for each absence over 3, and I think your system will work. Going to try it now.
C. David Frankel
Assistant Director of Theatre
School of Theatre and Dance
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave., TAR230
Tampa, FL 33620
Stefanie Sanders wrote an article giving more perspective to this method, which might also help:
Thanks, again. I can't comment on the blog post, but your solution worked for me. I just made it a 10pt grade as I wanted to deduct 5 points for each excess absense (-1pt in the assignment reduced the final grade by 5pts).
Hmm, C. David, I wonder why you can't comment on the blog post? It's still open for comments, but only members of the Higher Education, K-12, and Instructional Designers groups (that's a lot!) can interact with it.
The version of the blog I was looking at is in the Canvas Administrators group -- not one in which I'm a member. I am a member of Higher Education, but on the blog post I was looking at there's no comment/reply button. I was looking in the Higher Education group, but only found a link to Garth's blog on your blog post about extra credit. Of course, I'm merely avoiding grading by all this searching around (so am only doing it intermittently).
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