5 Quick Tasks to Close Up Your Blackboard Courses at the End of the Semester

At the end of every semester, preparing to say goodbye to the old semester can take some work in Blackboard.  Here are some quick tasks to close up your Blackboard class at the end of the semester.

1.    Make sure all assignments and assessments are closed by their due dates or by the end of the semester.  If you leave your course open past the end of the term so students can review grades, don’t allow a student to try to slip an assignment or test past you.  While you can still check the date/time the student submitted the work, its best practice to make sure all work is closed by the due date.

2.    Stop Your Running Totals!  Many faculty members set their total columns to calculate as running totals.  At the end of the term, though, if you have a large class with lots of null values (indicated by a dash in grade column cells), you’ll need to have the Grade Center consider those null values to be zeros.  Simply go into the Total column(s) and turn off the running totals.  This way, your grade center will be accurately calculated.
Running Total selection in Blackboard Learn

3.    Export your Grade Center and Grade History.  This will save a copy of your students’ grades and graded activities in spreadsheets as an archive.  To download your Grade History, go into the Full Grade Center, go to the Reports menu, click “View Grade History”, and then click “Download”. Grade History Link To download the entire grade center, while viewing the Full Grade Center, click “Work Offline”, and select “Download”.  Choose to download the full grade center as a tab-delimited file, and save to your computer.  Because these files contain student grades, please ensure they are saved in a secure location.

4.    Review your course content.  Is there an article you’ve uploaded to your course that you will no longer ask students to read?  Is there an assignment that you need to alter?  If you’re copying your course content to a future semester, and you’re not using a Master (development) course, document this information separately so changes can be made in the new course after the existing content is copied over.

5.    Last but not least – if you do want your class to become unavailable after students have a chance to review their grades, you’ll need to select the date the course should be made unavailable to students. Set Blackboard Course Duration Go to the course’s site in Blackboard, and click on the Customization link in the Control Panel.  Click on the Properties link, and under Set Course Duration, click Select Dates, check End Date, and select the specific date.  This will close your class at the beginning of the day you select.  The only issue that may be in play by closing your course from student access is that students who have incomplete grades may not be able to work on their course material if you close the course before they’re able to finish their work.

These small tasks can help you officially “close” your course for the semester.  If you need assistance with closing your course, or if you have any other questions regarding Blackboard Learn, please contact us at tlt-consulting@purdue.edu.

Brett Creech
Educational Technologist

About Brett Creech

Brett Creech is an Educational Technologist for the Consulting and Training Team within Teaching and Learning Technologies. He has been working with educational technology for over 10 years, including LMSs, web conferencing, 2-way video technologies, wikis, classroom technology, response systems, and more. He also has experience teaching online and in the classroom.
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