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Technology Snapshots from Instructional Services

Technology Snapshots are short email messages covering a wide variety of instructional technology topics of interest to anyone involved with instruction at NDSU. Each message contains links to complete information and instructions/tutorials for using the featured tools.

Snapshot Archives: Last Updated: 5/9/17

Resolve Total Column Issues in Blackboard's Grade Center

Fix the Most Common Blackboard Grade Center Problem! (5/9/17)

At this time of the semester, many faculty need to repair their Grade Center (the gradebook) in Blackboard. Most commonly, the Total column doesn't display the expected number of points possible, which can affect percentages and letter grades.

Why the Grade Center Total column may be 'off':

  • Hidden Columns: Points in hidden columns still calculate in the total grade. Click Manage | Column Organization. Un-hide and delete any grayed-out columns which aren't needed.
    Note: Columns hidden from students can also cause problems.

  • Running Total: At the end of a semester, edit the Total column to set the Calculate as Running Total option to No. Empty grade cells will then be treated as zeroes for computation, eliminating the need to enter the zeroes manually.

  • Extra Credit: The Points Possible option must be set to zero to calculate Extra Credit points correctly!

See complete instructions with screen shots

For individual help contact the ITS Instructional Services team at

Let Blackboard Help with Mid-Term Grade Reporting!

Let Blackboard Help with Mid-Term Grade Reporting!  (2/27/17)

The deadline to enter Spring 2017 Mid-term grades into Campus Connection is Friday, March 10

Let the Blackboard Grade Center do some of the work for you!

There are 3 basic tasks involved in the Grade Center:

  • Create a customized grading schema to display letter grades in the Grade Center
  • Create a 2nd calculated Total column to calculate the total points earned up to a specific cutoff point and display those scores as a letter grade
  • Create a Smart View to display only students with grades below a C in your course in the Grade Center (optional)

See complete instructions at

For individual help contact the ITS Instructional Services team at

Why Students Can't See My Grades by Course for Specific Courses / External Grade Columns

Why Students Can't See My Grades by Course for Specific Courses / External Grade Columns (2/17/17)

Students prefer to use the My Grades link in the Global Navigation toolbar or on the Home tab in Blackboard to check all of their grades at once rather than checking My Grades in each course manually.

If a course DOES NOT have one column set as the “External Grade” column in the Grade Center or that column is hidden from students, the course won't appear in the My Grades by Course page so students must open the course to see their grades!

To “fix” this issue:

  1. Open the Full Grade Center for the course – locate any calculated column (i.e. Total, etc.) which is not hidden from student view
  2. Click the down arrow icon to the right of the column name | click “Set as External Grade” – a green check mark will appear next to the column name

See complete instructions at

For individual help contact the ITS Instructional Services team at

Un-hiding Dropped Students in Blackboard Courses

Un-hiding Dropped Students in Blackboard Courses - (2/10/17)

Students who drop a course in Campus Connection are now automatically dropped from your Blackboard course. If you need information on these students you can simply “Add” them back into your Blackboard course using the Course Enrollment link in the Blackboard Manager utility by following the Bb Manager Course Enrollments instructions.

For detailed instructions:

Once you have the information you need, remember to “Drop” the student from the course using the Bb Manager Course Enrollment drop instructions.

To access Bb Manager:

For individual help contact the ITS Instructional Services team at

See all Technology Snapshots messages

TLMC Faculty Resources - New Website

Technology Learning and Media Center (TLMC) Faculty Resources - New Website - (2/4/16)

The Technology Learning & Media Center (TLMC) has a new website to showcase student technology assignments and projects and to inform instructors about faculty resources at the TLMC.

Visit our faculty resources website at

More info . . .

The TLMC is located at Quentin Burdick Building 150C and supports a wide range of student technology projects, including videos, podcasts, digital stories, documentaries, publications, large-format posters, and various graphics projects. Watch this short video describing our services:

Contact us:

Creation of Master/Child Course -- Now What?

So you've created a Master/Child course -- now what do you do? (1/07/16)

Complete instructions

For individual help contact the ITS Instructional Services team at

Record and Publish Lectures and Presentations in PowerPoint

Record and Publish Lectures and Presentations Quick and Easy in PowerPoint (12/02/15)

Recording your lectures and presentations has never been easier, and you can do it all right within PowerPoint. In the time it takes to deliver a presentation live, you can have your presentation recorded and ready to share via Blackboard, YouTube or whatever your preferred platform.

This 4.5 - minute video explains the basic process for recording a presentation, making simple edits and publishing your presentation to an .mp4 video file.

For additional information and/or questions about multimedia resources, capabilities and solutions, please contact the Technology Learning & Media Center (TLMC) at or stop by and visit us in QBB 150C.

Smart Views and Groups

2 Great Blackboard Course Management Tools - Smart Views and Groups  (10/2/15)

Blackboard Smart Views and Groups can be created and used in any course or organization, but they’re especially useful for large courses or Master/Child courses!

Grade Center Smart Views
Create Smart Views (filters) to make the Blackboard Grade Center easier to manage. You’ll see only what you need to see!
Learn how to quickly create and use Smart Views

Use Blackboard Groups for Course Management
Create groups in large courses or Master/Child to:

Bb Manager and Master/Child Courses

New Tools for Fall Semester - Bb Manager and Master/Child Courses (8/13/15)

Bb Manager
Instructors - Use this new utility to create, copy and combine your Blackboard courses.
Visit the Bb Manager information page for instructions and links.

Master/Child Courses: Merged (Combined) Course Sections
Master/Child courses allow instructors to use the same content for multiple course sections.
Visit the Master/Child Course information page for instructions and links on how to use these new combined courses efficiently and effectively. Instructional Services is also offering short training sessions on Master/Child courses.
Visit our training page for information and to register.

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Technology Snapshots from NDSU Information Technology Services - Instructional Services

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North Dakota State University
IT Help Desk Phone: +1 (701) 231-8685
Administrative Calls Only: +1 (701) 231-7961 / Fax: (701) 231-8541
Campus address: Quentin Burdick Building 206
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Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 4510 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Information Technology Services

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 09, 2017 9:18:11 AM
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