What is the grade journey? #bbtlc16

The intention of this post is to answer the question, what is the grade journey?

This is the second post in a series which are based on our presentation at Blackboard’s Teaching and Learning Conference in Groningen.

The short answer would be, the Grades Journey enables an institution to manage more effectively and efficiently the exchange of grades related data between Blackboard Learn and any Student Information System.

The previous definition illustrates it is associated within a broader process, where it is a small part of a much wider solution. For instance, the grade journey would be part of a wider set of electronic management of assessment solutions;

  • Ensure there is a method of submitting coursework electronically through a single interface.
  • Enable Academics to mark work and to annotate comments on students electronic scripts
  • Ability to either run all electronically submitted coursework through plagiarism detection (SafeAssign) or individual pieces of coursework or batches of coursework.
  • Enable rubrics & define metrics to assure the quality of marking
  • Improve the students understanding of their feedback and marks allocations. With a means 
to understand how they can improve their mark for the next piece of summative coursework

Figure 1, illustrates the end to end process from the initial creation and publication of the assessment task driven by information within the Student Record System, to the pubication of the final grade from the Student Record System.

Figure 1: Grade Journey as an end to end process

figure 2 end to end gj

Those who are aware of the manual intensive processes for e-submission, e-marking and e-return will be familiar with it often being error-prone, time consuming and involving many manual integrations to enable effective synchronization of assessment data. Against this backdrop, the grade journey synchronization offers a number of key enhancements;

  • Automated grade column creation creation based on records within your Student Information System. However, there is flexibility in terms of columns being displayed, and associated with grazeable content items (assignments, tests etc.,)
  • Marks (grades) approval and release. There is flexibility in determining when you release grades and your approval process. These will align with your institutional approval workflows. There is flexibility to enable you to deploy a disaggregated approval process through role settings for authorized users.
  • Automated grade exchange from Blackboard to your SIS, with the functionality to allow you to lockdown the grade centre as read only once the data has been synchronised.

So, where might you start to think through how the grade journey applies within your institutional context? An important first step is to map out what you are currently doing, and who is responsible for the different parts of the grade journey end to end process. A good place to start is to work through the following visualisation (from Sheffield Hallam University), identifying what each section means within your institutional context, and who is responsible.

Figure 3: Assessment Lifecycle (Sheffield Hallam University)

shu_assessment_lifecycle

Source: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6287/1/SHU_Assessment_Journey_Programme_Overall_Lifecycle.pdf
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