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May 8, 2009

Faculty Request: Show Each Other How Good Students Use Blackboard

To help DoIT’s ongoing study of how good students use Blackboard, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) would like to encourage faculty to post their final grades in the Blackboard grade book using “GRADE” as the column heading (please omit quotes and make the column heading ALL CAPS).

This is a totally voluntary action on your part that will allow DoIT to run a script that determines the average hits per student by grade distribution. DoIT has been reporting final grade distribution by Blackboard activity for the past two years, and we will include SP2009 results after final grades are officially submitted. If you do not want your Bb final grades to be included in the overall, anonymous grade distribution report summary, then do nothing.

If you want to run your own grade distribution report for your own class, visit the "self service reports" on the UMBC Blackboard Reports site.

As a matter of convenience to students, we know posting of final grades in Blackboard is a wide-spread, informal practice among many faculty now, and should not be construed as a replacement for “official” submission of final grades. But until we can link Blackboard activity and official sources of final grades in the new Student Administration, this voluntary action by faculty is the only way we can begin to see what relationship, if any, exists between student activity and performance.

Note: DoIT is NOT suggesting there is a correlation between Bb activity and grades. However, we are interested in Bb activity as AN indicator of student engagement. As such, we would like to see how good students (as measured by final grades) tend to use Blackboard. We are also interested in seeing whether feedback to all students – by showing their grades against an anonymous summary of their peers – can be effective in helping them be more aware about their own performance during the semester, when they might be able to do something about it.

For more information, visit http://www.umbc.edu/blackboard/reports.

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