The Grades tool is your grade book in eLearn. In Grades, students can see the grades they’ve earned and any feedback you have provided. Each instructor’s grade book set-up is unique, but there are some common features and practices that are helpful to know.
Understanding the Grades Tool
This 3-minute video provides an overview of the Grades tool in eLearn from the instructor’s perspective:
Basic Grade Book Navigation
When I present a faculty training on the eLearn Grades tool, I also include some basic navigation tips because knowing where to find things is often half the battle!
Instructor navigation menu
In Figure 1 below, you see a screenshot of our eLearn interface. It shows the faculty choices available when you click “Evaluation” then “Grades” within a course. There are four main choices below the standard eLearn navigation bar. From left to right, you see Enter Grades, Manage Grades, Schemes, and Setup Wizard. If you follow that line of sight to the far right, you’ll also see Settings and Help.
The little V-shaped arrow you see next to many of the titles and buttons in eLearn is the drop-down menu. You can see it in Figure 1 above next to the blue “New” button as well as the gray “More Actions” button. It’s also next to Communication, Evaluation, Course Tools, and Help in the primary navigation row.
This little button is your key to get things done! Any time you want to take action and do not know what to click – try the drop-down arrow first. Whenever you see this little icon, you will be presented with additional choices.
Settings & Calculation Options
When you click Settings from the Grades area of your course, you will see three tabs:
- Personal Display Options – controls how YOU see and interact with grades in a single course
- Student Display Options – controls what grade information your students will see in a given course
- Calculation Options – choose between weighted, points, or formula; determine if the final grade calculation is visible to students; determine how to treat ungraded items in your course grade book
On each tab, there are several options to manage. It’s important to note that the settings you choose will apply only to the current course you’re working in. Settings are not global and don’t follow you to all of your courses (at least not in our current version!). Most of the options are fairly self-explanatory, but you may want to tinker with the settings and check out how they affect your grade book until you get the result you’re looking for.
Linking Assignments to Grades
Reflect for a moment on the following statements:
- You may require some activities, but not grade them.
- You may grade some activities that are not completed in or submitted to eLearn.
Simple, yet so important. Understanding these core concepts can help you more effectively utilize eLearn’s grade book and other tools. Can you think of a few examples? Here are just a few examples of the two different scenarios:
- Non-graded practice quizzes
- First drafts submitted to a dropbox for originality checking via Turnitin
- Oral presentations delivered in a live setting
- Teamwork/collaboration grade based on instructor observation
- In-class participation bonus points
Why is this important? It’s critical information because you control all links between assignments and grades! Just because you create a dropbox folder for students to submit a paper to does not mean that a grade book item will automatically appear. You have to create the grade item and establish a connection between the folder and the grade item. Likewise, you may have categories and items in your grade book without any associated activity in eLearn. That’s okay as long as it’s intentional.
Need Help with Grades in eLearn?
Distributed Education is pleased to offer eLearn grade book training periodically. If the concepts in this post are new to you and you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to sign up for one of those training events.
Our team is also available to set up a one-on-one meeting with you to review your course grade book. If you have questions about your grade book or to schedule an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, when you have questions on Grades or anything else in eLearn, it’s never a bad idea to check out the Vol State Knowledge Base. Also, the company behind eLearn has a nice collection of how-to videos on YouTube.
Rhonda Gregory is currently the Director of Distributed Education at Volunteer State Community College. In this role, she helps lead the online and blended learning initiatives of the College. She manages a team of professionals that promote and support 21st Century learning on and off campus. Prior to coming to Volunteer State Community College, Gregory worked at Greenville College, a four-year school in Greenville, IL. She held several positions there over nine years, including director of instructional technology, adjunct instructor, academic adviser, instructional technologist, and online learning program coordinator. She holds a doctorate of education (Ed.D.) in instruction and curriculum leadership – instructional design and technology from the University of Memphis and a master of arts in teaching from Greenville College.