Blackboard Registration (Genius) has revamped our Blackboard REST API grade center download integration rules to minimize the impact on the instructor. The Blackboard Learn Ultra and Original courses grade center must be setup correctly to pass running total grades and completion flags back to Genius automatically. In the past, we used the “Completed” column to flag successful course completions. That method still works, but we now recommend the new “Completion Formula” method to determine successful course completions. The new method means the instructor won’t have to do anything special in their grade center to pass data back to Genius automatically. We retrieve three pieces of information from Blackboard to determine a learner’s status in a course-section: running total grade, whether they completed all graded work required, and whether the running total grade is above a passing threshold.
Running Total Grade
In Blackboard Learn Ultra courses, the “Overall grade” or “Overall result” is the default running total grade for a course-section. In Blackboard Learn Original courses, the “Total” column is typically set as the external grade (designated by the green check mark). It is a running total grade for a course section. We grab this running total grade from Blackboard Learn every time the learner logs into their Genius Learner Dashboard, for every course that Learner is enrolled in. There is also a background job that will grab every grade, for every learner, enrolled in every course-section that Genius manages in Blackboard, that occurs on a scheduled basis for learners who do not login to Genius on a regular basis. You can find this job, under Administration > Edit Jobs, called BlackboardRest.DownloadGradebook. Ideally, this running total grade should be a displayed as a percentage to indicate how well the student is actually performing.
How do you flag that the running total is the learner’s final grade? There are two ways you can do it now. If you don’t have a column called “Completed”, we will count the number of categorized gradebook columns in the Blackboard Learn course grade center and when every one of the categorized grade center columns has a value other than null, we will consider all work complete and the running total grade final (for example, 10 of 10 assignments with grades).
Note: This automated method requires the instructor to remove hidden gradebook columns, or columns that are not categorized or used in the Blackboard course anymore.
If you have created a column called “Completed”, which designates whether a learner has successfully completed the entire course. This designation can be flagged manually or be fully automated. The only issue is the Blackboard Learn Ultra grade center does not allow non-running totals, and Blackboard Learn Original grade center may complete the learner early if there are many grade columns, and the passing threshold is low enough to allow a 0 on the last few grade center columns, and still have a high enough non-running total to pass. The safest option is for the instructor to manually flag completions in these scenarios, so the learner is not completed before completing every categorized grade center column.
How to flag completions manually?
Start by clicking on "Create Column", Genius will look for a column called "Completed". The word "Complete" or the check mark designating "Complete" using the complete/incomplete grading schema tells Genius that the user has successfully completed the course. Every few hours, learners with this designation will be moved from ACTIVE status to COMPLETED status in Genius, and made unavailable in the Blackboard Learn course they just completed. They will receive an auto email from Genius indicating that they have successfully completed the course, and the course will move to their completed course list and their transcript.
How to flag completions automatically?
Start by clicking on "Create Calculated Column", then add a "Total Column". Genius will look for a column called "Completed". The primary display should be designated as a Letter grade. The column should not be calculated as a running total, so incomplete assignments are counted as zero. All column options should be set to "No", so the column is not included in the total score, learners don't see it in the grade center, and no statistics are displayed for this column.
You would then choose to Manage Grading Schemas, and edit the Letter grading schema. Delete all the rows in the Letter grading schema, except two. Instead of a letter grade such as "A" or "B", change the display to be "Complete" or "Incomplete" based on the percentage being above a passing threshold.
In the example below, only learners who have a grade greater than 80% after completing all of the assignments are automatically flagged as Complete.
Grade Above a Passing Threshold
If your Blackboard Learn grade center does not have a “Completed” column, and you are basing course-section completion by every categorized grade center column having a value other than null (for example, 10 of 10 assignments). We’ve added a global parameter called “ENROLLMENT_IS_COMPLETED_FORMULA”. If a “Completed” column exists, we will look for the value of “Complete” to determine successful course completion. If not, we will check to see if every gradebook column has a grade in it and the running total grade is over 70. The rule can be modified in the global parameter, but it affects all courses.
You can also set the successful course completion rule at the section level. Every course-section has a “Completion Formula” field which will override the global parameter if it exists. The options for completion are based on: the value “Complete”, in the “Completed” column; all gradebook columns with a posted value; a percentage of gradebook columns with a posted value; all gradebook columns with a posted value, and average grade greater than or equal to X; all gradebook columns with a posted value, and total grade greater than or equal to X; and the value “PASS”, in the Overall grade column.